I have great reasons to believe (the door) was never secured,” McCraw said. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
Uvalde school district police Chief Pete Arredondo, has been fired amid criticism over his department’s response to a school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.
His sack followed reports that officers with rifles and at least one ballistic shield waited 77 minutes before entering the classroom. Video evidence from the scene later confirmed the reports.
The decision to dump Arredondo was unanimous and occurred at a meeting on Wednesday, August 24 where parents yelled “Coward!” refering to the police chief Arredondo who didn’t show up at the meeting, which came exactly three months after the slaughter at Robb Elementary School.
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His exit happened after testimony by Texas public safety director Col. Steve McCraw, who claimed Arredondo prioritized the safety of his officers over that of the kids after a gunman opened fire on May 24.
“Obviously, not enough training was done in this situation, plain and simple,” McCraw said during a June 21 state Senate hearing. “Because terrible decisions were made by the on-site commander.”
Arredondo remains the only law enforcement officer to be fired for his inaction. Uvalde Police Department Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the town’s active chief on the day of the shooting, was placed on leave.
McGraw said officers waited around for a key to the classroom that 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos was in, even though the door couldn’t be locked from the inside.
“I have great reasons to believe (the door) was never secured,” McCraw said. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
Instead of attending Wednesday’s meeting, Arredondo’s lawyer released a letter.
“Chief Arredondo is a leader and a courageous officer who with all of the other law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, should be celebrated for the lives saved, instead of vilified for those they couldn’t reach in time,” attorney George Hyde wrote.
Arredondo, who claimed he didn’t believe he was in charge during the shooting response, previously told the Texas Tribune that he entered the school without police or campus radios, because he felt they’d slow him and that he wanted to keep his hands free.
“It has been reported that he didn’t have a radio with him,” McCraw said. “That’s true. He did not.”
The massacre is the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and one of the deadliest ever in the United States.