Uvalde police chief who made ‘wrong decision’ on shooting joined city council

A police chief who has come under intense scrutiny for delaying officers’ response to the shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school on Tuesday that killed 21 people was recently elected to the local city council.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) police chief Peter Arredondo was reportedly stopping nearly two dozen officers from breaking into a classroom at Robb Elementary School when a gunman opened fire for about an hour. A total of 19 children and two teachers were killed when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the building and fired more than 100 rounds with an assault weapon.

Arredondo was elected to Uvalde City Council just three weeks before the shooting after running on a communications and public relations platform, NBC News reported on Friday. He received almost 70 percent of the votes.

However, new details of the attack revealed a confused and inadequate police response, noting that officers were on the scene during the massacre but failed to respond quickly.

Uvalde shooting
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) police chief Peter Arredondo was reportedly stopping nearly two dozen officers from breaking into a classroom at Robb Elementary School when a gunman opened fire for about an hour. Above, officials speak outside the school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

At least three police officers initially followed Ramos into the building within minutes but were unable to attack him. Over the next half hour, up to 19 officers crowded a school corridor but were ordered by Arredondo to back off, believing the gunman had barricaded himself in a classroom and children were no longer actively threatened.

That decision, however, left Ramos free to carry out his attack in a fourth-grade classroom, Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) director Steven McCraw said during a controversial news conference Friday. Another 47 minutes passed before a Border Patrol tactical team broke through the classroom door and shot Ramos dead.

“It was a wrong decision. Period. There was no excuse for that,” McCraw said. “There were a lot of officers who had to do what had to be done, with one exception being that the operations manager on the inside felt he needed more gear and more officers to make a tactical breakthrough at that point.”

Students who survived the attack and parents who were detained outside the school have also reported feeling angry and betrayed by the police response. Police received multiple 911 calls from students who were at the school, urging them to “please send the police immediately” and describing the carnage in front of them. In one case, a fourth-grade student said police were even responsible for shooting one of his classmates after he asked children to call out if they needed help.

“When the cops came, the cop said, ‘Shout if you need help!’ And one of the people in my class said ‘help,'” the student told local news outlets. “The guy heard and came in and shot her.”

Parents who arrived at the school during the shooting also described scenes of officers standing around. Viral videos have since surfaced showing police holding family members back while they beg and ask them to do more. The response has since sparked national outrage, with officials being dubbed “cowards” for failing to protect vulnerable children and teachers.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who initially praised the police response a day after the shooting, said Friday he was “absolutely furious” after being “misled” by their actions. He added that he is seeking a full investigation into the day’s events.

The Uvalde shooting came just days after two more deadly mass shootings devastated communities across the US and reignited an emotional debate about gun control and safety in America.

news week contacted TDPS and Uvalde City Council for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/uvalde-police-chief-who-made-wrong-call-shooting-joining-city-council-1711127 Uvalde police chief who made ‘wrong decision’ on shooting joined city council

Rick Schindler

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