Pete Arredondo is the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District chief of police who is being blamed for preventing police officers from breaching the classroom door at Robb Elementary School more quickly to stop active shooter Salvador Ramos before he killed more children on May 24, 2022, in the Texas city.
Just two months ago, Arredondo’s police department held an active shooter training session in the school district for area law enforcement officers. One topic covered: “Stop the killing.”
Although he wasn’t mentioned by name, only title, Arredondo was the man who made the call to wait, even though 19 law enforcement officers were inside the school, and some children were still alive, Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a May 27, 2022, news conference. McCraw said he believed Arredondo made the wrong decision, although he did not mention the chief by name. Arredondo was not at the press conference.
Arredondo recently ran for office in Uvalde and was elected to the city council. He was scheduled to be sworn into office on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, but the city’s mayor said that would be postponed as a result of the shooting. The council’s scheduled meeting has been delayed out of respect for the victims, the mayor said. Mayor Don McLaughlin, who has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the police response to the shooting, said in a May 30 statement, “Pete Arredondo was duly elected to the City Council. There is nothing in the City Charter, Election Code or Texas Constitution that prohibits him from taking the oath of office. To our knowledge, we are currently not aware of any investigation of Mr. Arredondo.”
Video emerged showing frantic parents being prevented by law enforcement from going into the school. The chief’s name is also given as Peter Arredondo. Arredondo hasn’t spoken out publicly since making a brief press statement the day of the shooting. He did not take questions.
Numerous 911 calls were made from inside classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with a student pleading with a dispatcher to “please send the police now,” McCraw revealed. At 12:16 p.m., a 911 caller revealed that eight-nine students were still alive. Yet police did not breach the classroom to kill active shooter Salvador Ramos until 12:50 p.m., even though 19 officers were inside the school.
By that time, 19 children and two beloved teachers were dead inside classrooms in what was one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings in history.
On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “Yes, I was misled,” referring to the police response. Abbott said he was “livid about what happened.” He said the information he gave to the public earlier was a “recitation” of what he was told by others. He said he took hand notes in detail about what he was told. “The information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that,” Abbott said.
He said the law enforcement leaders who are leading the investigations should “get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Arredondo Treated the Active Shooter as a ‘Barricaded Subject’ & Waited for a Tactical Unit With Equipment to Arrive
McCraw revealed that an incident commander at the scene (now identified as Arredondo) treated the unfolding situation as a barricaded subject not an active shooter and wanted to wait for a tactical unit to arrive with more equipment before breaching the classroom door where Ramos, 18, was holed up.
This was the wrong decision, he said.
“With the benefit hindsight, from where I am sitting here, of course it was not the right decision,” McCraw said as reporters yelled questions at him. “It was the wrong decision, period. There is no excuse for that….We believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can…you don’t have time. You don’t worry about outer perimeters.”
The chief of police made that decision, according to McCraw, who himself was not at the scene. The chief has been identified as Pete Arredondo.
McCraw added that it was “believed it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject, and that there were no more children at risk. Obviously, there were children in that classroom that were at risk, and it was in fact an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject.” The suspect had already hit three police officers, although none was seriously injured.
McCraw said that was wrong. “Clearly there were kids in the room, and clearly they were at risk,” he said, adding that children may have been injured and needed life-saving measures as well.
McCraw confirmed that there was a 40-minute time span with 911 calls coming in before officers breached the door and killed Ramos.
2. Arredondo Was Just Elected to the City Council, Promising to Keep ‘Our Streets Clean’
In March, according to a post he made on Facebook, Arredondo’s department led active shooter training.
On Monday the UCISD Police Department hosted an ‘Active Shooter Training’ at the Uvalde High School. Our overall goal is to train every Uvalde area law enforcement officer so that we can prepare as best as possible for any situation that may arise,” he wrote. “We have hosted several of these courses and plan to continue to do so. I would like to thank UCISD Officers Adrian Gonzales, Ruben Ruiz and UCISD Lieutenant Mike Hernandez for instructing the course. Additionally, we would like to thank Dr. Harrell and Mr. Mueller for supporting our plans to keep our children and staff safe. Great job to everyone!! #UCISDPROUD.
He shared photos of the exercise.
One topic covered was called “stop the killing.”
Ruiz was married to Eva Mireles, a teacher who died in the massacre, according to Reuters.
According to NBC News, only weeks ago, Arredondo was elected to the City Council “after running on a platform of communication and outreach to the community.”
According to the Uvalde Leader News, Arredondo “garnered 126 votes, or 69.23 percent.”
That article said he was the school district’s police chief since 2020.
“I’m very excited, I am ready to hit the ground running. I have plenty of ideas, and I definitely have plenty of drive,” Arredondo said to the newspaper.
“I’m in public service and law enforcement, but I’m very proud of my finance background and what I’ve done with budgets. I’m hoping to lend a hand with that and target, you know, smart spending, make sure that we’re fiscally responsible and get some projects done. I’m a big advocate of keeping our streets clean.”
The school district’s police department website declares, “Keep UCISD Safe.”
3. Arredondo Was Born in Uvalde & Graduated From the Local High School
An April 2020 article in the Uvalde Leader News gave more biographical information on Arredondo, whose hometown is Uvalde.
He was born there and graduated from Uvalde High School in 1990, describing it as a fantastic community, the newspaper reported.
Before taking the job as Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District chief of police, Arredondo worked in Laredo, Texas, as a police captain at United Independent School District, the newspaper reported.
“When I heard about the opening at UCISD, I didn’t even have to think twice about applying,” Arredondo told the newspaper, saying that people in that district had impacted his own life.
He graduated from Southwest Texas Junior College and then Texas A&M Commerce with an organizational management degree, the newspaper reported. The newspaper added that the previous Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District chief caused controversy with an arrest at a local bar.
Many photos on his Facebook page show him fishing and hunting or in a police uniform.
4. Arredondo Once Worked as a 911 Dispatcher in Uvalde, Rising in the Police Department
According to the Uvalde Leader News, Arredondo’s first job in law enforcement was working as a 911 dispatcher for the Uvalde Police Department.
“I made sure to mention them in my interview,” said Arredondo during a recent telephone conversation.
He worked for Uvalde police for 16 years.
“I worked patrol, worked as detective, …and received assignment as assistant chief, ” said Arredondo, to the newspaper, which added that he also worked at the Webb County Sheriff’s OFfice.
“It’s nice to come back home,” said Arredond to the newspaper.
“I’m a big advocate of education and training,” said Arredondo. “We can never have enough training.”
5. McCraw Confirmed There Was a ’40-Minute Gap’ While Arredondo Waited
McCraw gave a minute-by-minute breakdown of the 911 calls and police response.
“There is a 40-minute gap, and if the 911 operators were aware that children were alive in that classroom, why weren’t officers notified about that, and, if that’s the case, why didn’t they take action, that’s the question…the decision was made on the scene, I wasn’t there…that this was a barricaded subject situation. There was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject at that point. That was the decision, that was the thought process at that particular point in time.”
There were 19 officers inside the school, he confirmed. “There were plenty of officers to do whatever needed to be done with one exception which is that the incident commander inside believed they needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that point.” The tactical team was required and eventually did a “dynamic” entry.
According to McCraw, “a barrage, hundreds of rounds were pumped in in four minutes” by Ramos into two classrooms right at the beginning, so it was believed there were no more people alive inside the classroom. Any gunfire after that was “sporadic.” Both classroom doors were locked on the inside, he said. Some of the 911 callers survived, he said, but he was not specific.
This is the 911 call timeline:
11:30 a.m. A 911 call came in that there was a crash and a man with a gun.
12:03 p.m. A 911 caller in room 112 spoke to a dispatcher for 1 minute and 23 seconds. She identified herself, but McCraw did not release her name. The caller whispered that she was in room 112.
12:10 p.m. The woman called back, and advised that multiple people were dead.
12:13 p.m. There was another 911 call.
12:16 p.m. She called back and said 8-9 students were alive.
12:19 p.m. Another person, this one in room 111, called 911. The person hung up when a student told her to hang up.
12:21 p.m. Dispatchers could hear over the 911 call that three shots were fired.
12:36 p.m. A 911 call came in that lasted 21 seconds. The initial caller, a student child, called back. The child was told to stay on the line but be very quiet, and she said, ‘He shot the door.’
12:43 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. The child called 911 and asked dispatchers to ‘please send the police now.’
12:46 p.m. The caller said she could hear the police next door.
12:50 p.m. Shots fired could be heard.
12:51 p.m. There were very loud sounds like officers were moving children out of the room.
Two children called 911 and did not die, according to McCraw.
This is the police response timeline:
11:27 a.m. Authorities know from video that the exterior door, which the shooter later entered to get inside the school, was “propped open by a teacher.” The door was supposed to be locked and wasn’t supposed to be open.
11:28 a.m. The suspect vehicle crashed into a ditch. The teacher ran to room 132 to retrieve a phone. The same teacher walked back to the exit door, which remained open.
Around this time, two males at a nearby funeral home heard the crash and went to the crash scene. When they arrived at the crash scene, they saw a man with a gun exit the passenger side of the car with a backpack. They immediately began running.
Ramos began shooting at them but did not hit them. One of the males fell when he was running. Both males returned to the funeral home. Video showed a teacher reemerged from inside the school, panicked, and called 911.
11:30 a.m. A 911 call came in that there was a crash and a man with a gun.
11:31 a.m. The suspect reached the last row of vehicles in the school parking lot. He began shooting at the school while patrol vehicles got to the nearby funeral home.
It was discussed early on that an officer was a resource officer who had confronted the suspect. That did not happen, McCraw has now confirmed. He said that information came from preliminary interviews but sometimes witnesses under stress get information wrong.
He said the school resource officer was not on scene or on campus. He heard the 911 call and drove immediately to the area and sped to what he thought was the man with a gun at the back of the school, but that turned out to be a teacher, not the suspect. In doing so, he drove right by the suspect, according to McCraw. The suspect at that point was “hunkered down” behind a vehicle and he began shooting at the school.
11:31 a.m. The suspect was shooting in between the vehicle. The patrol vehicle arrived at the funeral home. Multiple shots were fired outside the school. The patrol car accelerated and drove by the shooter and left the camera view.
11:32 a.m. Multiple shots were fired at the school.
11:33 a.m. The suspect entered the school at the door.
11:33 a.m. The suspect began shooting into room 111 or 112. It was not possible to determine from the video angle which classroom he first fired into. He shot at least 100 rounds at that time, based on the audio evidence.
11:35 a.m. Three police officers with the Uvalde Police Department entered the same door as the suspect entered. They were later followed by another four-person team of Uvalde police officers and a deputy sheriff. Thus, there were at that point seven officers on the scene. The three initial police officers arrived and went to the door, but the door was closed. THey received grazing wounds from the suspect.
11:37 a.m. There was more gunfire. Another 16 rounds were fired at 11:37, 11:38 and 11:40 and 11:44.
11:51 a.m. A police sergeant and a law enforcement agent started to arrive.
12:03 p.m. Officers continued to arrive in the hallway, There were as many as 19 officers in that hallway.
12:15 p.m. Tactical team members arrived along with shields.
12:21 p.m. The suspect fired again. Law enforcement moved down the hallway.
12:50 a.m. Law enforcement officers breached the door using keys that they were able to get from the janitor. Both doors were locked when officers arrived. They killed the suspect at that time.
Authorities recovered 60 total magazines, 11 inside the school and three on the suspect’s body. Two were in room 112 and six were inside room 111. They also found 32 magazines outside the school, including 31 in a backpack that he did not take into the classrooms with him. He had 1,057 rounds of ammunition. Authorities located 315 rounds in the school, including 142 spent cartridges. They found 35 spent law enforcement cartridges, including eight in the hallway and 27 in the classroom 111, where the suspect was killed.
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