TEXAS (May 31, 2022)— The Texas Department of Public Safety also has walked back a statement that a teacher had propped open a door used by the shooter to enter the school, saying instead that an automatic lock failed.
The Uvalde school district’s police chief — who made the decision to wait for more resources rather than confront the gunman sooner — hasn’t responded to state investigators’ requests for a follow-up interview about the police response to the Robb Elementary School shooting, a law enforcement official said.
Texas Rangers investigating the response to the shooting, which ended after 19 students and two teachers had been shot to death and 17 were wounded last week, want to continue talking to Pete Arredondo, chief of police at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, but he hasn’t answered a request made a couple of days ago, according to two spokespeople for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
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The school district’s police department and the Uvalde Police Department have otherwise been cooperating with the Rangers’ investigation, DPS spokesperson Travis Considine said. Arredondo did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Also on Tuesday, DPS officials walked back a statement that Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, made Friday that a teacher had propped open the door through which the gunman entered the school. DPS now says a teacher shut that door but its automatic lock malfunctioned. Considine said DPS is investigating why the lock didn’t work.
Police officers who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary have faced heated criticism from parents who said officers did not act quickly enough to stop the 18-year-old gunman. That criticism reached a new level on Friday when McCraw told reporters that officers did not try to stop the shooter sooner because the district’s police chief of police wanted to wait for backup and equipment before confronting the gunman — even though 911 calls confirmed that students were still trapped inside with the shooter.
McCraw said Arredondo, who he did not name, treated the gunman as a “barricaded suspect” rather than an active shooter and believed children were no longer at risk — which McCraw called a mistake.
A tactical unit made up of U.S. Border Patrol agents eventually breached the classroom and killed the gunman — more than an hour after the gunman first arrived on campus.
Governor Greg Abbott said, that he was misled by the police response at the Robb Elementary School. “I am livid about what happened,” the governor said at a tense press conference in Uvalde. “The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that,” said Abbott.
“It could have been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do,” he said Wednesday,” added Abbott .
Source: Texas Tribune contributed to the article.