Officers never ‘hesitated,’ Uvalde school police chief says in first extended comments on shooting

The Texas police chief who has confronted intense scrutiny over his dealing with of the elementary school bloodbath in Uvalde supplied his first extended comments on the shooting in a story published Thursday by The Texas Tribune, telling the outlet that officers never “hesitated, even for a second, to place themselves in danger.”

Pete Arredondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department and a lately elected City Council member, has been described by state authorities because the scene’s incident commander — the official who ordered officers to deal with the gunman as a “barricaded topic” and never an lively shooter.

Yet Arredondo advised the outlet he thought of himself a front-line responder — not the one managing the broader response.

Uvalde colleges Police Chief Pete Arredondo on the outskirts of city Wednesday. Arredondo, one of many first to reply to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, says: “The solely factor that was vital to me right now was to save lots of as many lecturers and youngsters as doable.”Evan L’Roy for The Texas Tribune

“I didn’t difficulty any orders,” he advised The Tribune. “I known as for help and requested for an extraction software to open the door.”

NBC News has not independently confirmed Arredondo’s account. His lawyer didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The outlet reported that Arredondo, who has largely remained silent because the speedy aftermath of the shooting, has stated little as a result of he did not wish to trigger extra grief or blame others.

Two lecturers and 19 college students, a lot of them fourth graders, have been killed in the shooting May 24 at Robb Elementary School.

Minutes after the 18-year-old gunman arrived on the school, Arredondo raced inside with out his radios, believing they might sluggish him down and depart him with out each fingers to rapidly prepare his gun on the shooter, he advised The Tribune.

The resolution meant he remained out of contact with many different officers on the scene, and he stated he was unaware of chilling 911 calls made by college students contained in the school.

“My thoughts was to get there as quick as doable, get rid of any threats, and defend the scholars and employees,” he stated, in keeping with The Tribune.

Students fled and authorities helped others evacuate after a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.
Students fled and authorities helped others evacuate after a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24.Courtesy Pete Luna/Uvalde Lea

According to the outlet, as soon as Arredondo decided he could not enter the classroom with the gunman inside — metal jambs prevented him and different officers from kicking it open — he dialed police dispatch from his cellphone and requested for a tactical unit, snipers and an extraction software.

At one level, Arredondo tried to speak to the gunman — there was no response — and at one other, he rebuffed a fellow officer who supplied to offer him cowl to flee the constructing as a result of he wasn’t sporting physique armor, The Tribune reported.

“It’s not that somebody stated stand down,” Arredondo’s lawyer, George Hyde, advised The Tribune. “It was ‘Right now, we will’t get in till we get the instruments. So we’re going to do what we will do to save lots of lives.’ And what was that? It was to evacuate the scholars and the mother and father and the lecturers out of the rooms.”

Several makes an attempt to open the door with keys failed, and instruments that would have helped break it down never arrived, The Tribune reported. Eventually a group of federal brokers entered the classroom, ignoring an order from native police to attend. They fatally shot the gunman.

Hyde advised The Tribune that if somebody issued a directive barring entry, it wasn’t his shopper.

Federal and state investigations into the response are ongoing. Arredondo pushed again towards comments from officers saying he hadn’t responded to follow-up requests for the state inquiry, saying he’d been in contact with the state Department of Public Safety “on daily basis.”


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