UVALDE, Texas — The Uvalde CISD Police Chief gave his first extensive interview of exactly what happened inside Robb Elementary School. Speaking to the Texas Tribune, police chief Pete Arredondo recounted his experience and defended the timeline of the shooting.
On May 24, 19 children and two teachers were killed when a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The gunman was shot and killed eventually by a Border Patrol special operations agent.
Since the shooting, questions have been raised about who exactly was in charge during law enforcement's response, why communication was so isolated and why it took so long to take the gunman down.
Arredondo has been called the incident commander during the response, but he told the Tribune that he never considered himself that once state and federal agencies arrived.
“So while it’s easy to identify him as the incident commander because of that NIMS process, in practicality, you see here he was not in the capacity to be able to run this entire organization,” his lawyer, George Hyde, said in the article.
The article also cites the National Incident Management System that directs the first person on scene as the incident commander until he or she relinquishes the role or is incapacitated.
Hyde said another agency should have taken over command because Arredondo had "no radio and no way to receive up to date information."
With 29 years of experience, Arredondo told the Tribune he entered the school with only a cell phone, calling it a logical decision. He said long-stemmed radios would have slowed him down and that he knew from experience that some radios did not work in certain school buildings.
The heaviest scrutiny in the aftermath of the shooting is the timeline. It took 77 minutes to take down the gunman in classrooms 111 and 112 at Robb Elementary.
Defending the delayed response, Arredondo says he "didn't issue any orders," and only asked for tools to open a door that was "reinforced with a hefty steel jab."
Fearful that any noise might trigger the shooter to fire more rounds, Arredondo says they waited for the keys, gathering a group of law enforcement to enter the classroom at 12:50 p.m.
During a press conference three days after the shooting, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw says that Arredondo was no longer participating in the investigation. Arredondo's attorney disputes that, saying he has participated in interviews with DPS and the FBI and willing to cooperate with a Texas Rangers interview as well.