On Tuesday, Texas authorities denounced police’s response to last month’s shooting at Robb Elementary School which left 19 children and two teachers dead.
Testifying before a state Senate committee, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw blamed the botched response on Pete Arredondo, 50, chief of the Uvalde police school district. Mccraw said Arrendondo failed to promptly confront gunman Salvador Ramos despite being the on-scene commander and had what he needed to go into the classroom where the gunman was within three minutes, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Previously, Arrendondo told the Texas Tribune that he did not bring his two radios as he believed they would weigh him down. He also claimed he spent an hour trying to unlock a classroom door that separated him and the gunman.
McCraw said efforts to confront Ramos were an “abject failure and antithetical to everything we have learned over the past two decades.” He went on to claim that his agency did not have the ability to immediately take control from local authorities, the Chronicle reported.
McCraw said the students stuck in an adjoined classroom with Ramos waited an hour and 14 minutes to be rescued.
“While they waited, the on-scene commander [Arrendondo] waited for radio and rifles. And he waited for shields, and he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed,” he told the committee on Tuesday.
Previously, Arredondo’s lawyer told the Tribune that Arredondo was acting as a first responder — and that a state, local, or federal entity at the scene should have taken command because his client had no radio to deliver and receive information.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, security footage reportedly showed that police never tried to open the classroom door. If true, it would contradict Arredondo’s claims that he spent an hour in the hallway trying to locate a key that would open the door.
Additionally, McCraw noted that the door was likely unlocked the entire time as the door could only be locked from the outside. This would mean no key was required in the first place.
Arredondo spoke with the state committee on Tuesday, as they continue to investigate police’s response to the mass shooting that killed 21. They will continue their public inquiry on Wednesday.
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[Featured image: Pete Arrendondo/Uvalde police]