On May 24, 2022, a tragic event occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas when a gunman entered the building and opened fire, injuring and killing several students and teachers. In the aftermath of the incident, Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, was interviewed by investigators about his actions during the shooting.
According to the interview, which was conducted the day after the incident and obtained by CNN, Arredondo stated that his primary concern during the shooting was saving students in other classrooms, rather than attempting to stop the gunman who had already shot children and teachers. This statement conflicts with his previous limited public statements and is a deviation from protocol and training for an active shooter.
Arredondo, who was one of the first officers to reach Robb Elementary, stated that he heard shots being fired as he ran to the school and saw bullet casings still rolling on the floor as he entered. He described a hallway full of smoke from gunfire and saw Lt. Javier Martinez of the Uvalde Police Department retreat after he was shot at through a classroom door.
Instead of following protocol, which would have instructed him to immediately engage the shooter and neutralize the threat, Arredondo made the decision to treat the gunman as a barricaded subject. This meant that all the students and teachers in Classrooms 111 and 112 were effectively left for dead as officers waited in the hallway outside.
Arredondo confirmed that he only had a handgun, which was a deviation from active shooter training and protocols which instructs officers to be equipped with a rifle, and that he wanted rifles but they were not available at that moment. Additionally, records supplied to CNN by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) show that Arredondo had taken required active shooter training at least three times, including in the December prior to the massacre. The specific course he took then instructs officers to “isolate, distract and neutralize” the attacker. It reminds officers “First responders to the active shooter scene will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent.”
Even as Arredondo waited in the hallway, he stated that he thought he heard the gunman reloading, and it was later confirmed that there were injured and dead children trapped in the classroom with the shooter. Despite this, Arredondo stuck with his decision to treat the gunman as a barricaded subject for over an hour, effectively leaving all the students and teachers in the classroom to their fate.
As a result of his actions and statements during the investigation, Arredondo stopped cooperating with the DPS inquiry. The director of DPS labeled him as incident commander and blamed him for decisions that left dead, dying and traumatized children with a gunman for over an hour while officers waited in the hallway outside.
CNN reached out to Arredondo for comment on this story, but his attorney George Hyde stated that he was not authorized to respond to media requests. Arredondo has not contacted CNN and a previous phone number for him has been disconnected.
The families of the victims have expressed frustration that the only way they have been getting information about the shooting is through CNN’s reporting. It’s a traumatic and a very difficult time for them, and the loss of their loved ones is irreparable. The lack of transparency and accountability by the officials in charge of protecting the school during the incident only adds to their pain and suffering.
In conclusion, the tragic events of May 24, 2022 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas have revealed serious deficiencies in the actions and decisions of the chief of police, Pedro “Pete” Arredondo
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