Statewide NewsScrutinized Uvalde School District Police Chief Claims He Tried to Confront Perpetrator Himself

Chief Pete Arredondo did not consider himself the on-scene commander as he responded to the 18-year-old gunman who killed 21 people.
June 10, 2022
In an interview with the media, Chief Pete Arredondo of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department shed light on his decision-making on May 24, the day an 18-year-old male killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in their classrooms.

Arredondo and his attorney, George Hyde, told part of the police chief’s side of the story in an interview and written remarks to The Texas Tribune published on Thursday.

Highlights include that Arredondo did not believe he was the on-scene commander and was seeking to take out the perpetrator himself. He further explained that he did not have his radio with him because he wanted to keep both hands free.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) previously revealed that Arredondo did not have a radio with him at the school.

The radio system itself also reportedly caused problems, as it was not designed to work in a building with thick walls and a metal roof.

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According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) timeline, the gunman entered the school at 11:33 a.m. and a tactical team of border patrol agents killed him at 12:50 p.m.

DPS Director Steve McCraw criticized Arredondo in the days following the shooting, saying “it was the wrong decision, period” to wait before confronting him.

Arredondo seemed to resist that characterization in his statements to the Tribune, focusing on his efforts to find a key that would unlock the doors to the classroom where the gunman was located. He claimed he never directed responding officers to hold off on confronting the teenage murderer.

He also described to the publication the death threats he has received and commented on his connection to Uvalde.

“Those are people who just don’t know the whole story that are making their assumptions on what they’re hearing or reading. That’s been difficult,” Arredondo told the Tribune

“The police in Uvalde, we’re like your family, your brothers and sisters. We help each other out at any cost, and we’re used to helping out the community, period, because that’s what most public servants are about.”

Arredondo responded to allegations by DPS that he ignored their requests for subsequent interviews.

Hyde, his lawyer, told the Tribune that he has never stopped cooperating with DPS, but has been inundated with communications from unfamiliar numbers and may have missed some of their calls.

The police chief is the second cousin of Joe Garcia, whose wife, Irma, was one of the teachers killed. Joe himself died of a heart attack two days after his wife was murdered.

Arredondo emphasized that Uvalde is his hometown and he attended Robb Elementary School himself as a child, the Tribune reported.

Multiple levels of government are investigating the dreadful events of May 24, and official reports and findings are forthcoming.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating actions by law enforcement on the day of the murders. The DOJ recently detailed a list of “subject matter experts” from out of state who will assist the federal government with its inquiry. 

The DOJ stated when it announced the probe that it will provide a report of its findings.

Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) assembled a special committee in the Texas House composed of Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), and former Justice Eva Guzman. 

The panel, which has subpoena powers and met for the first time on Thursday, is responsible for seeking answers about the massacre and reporting its findings to the legislature. It heard testimony from law enforcement in executive session.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."

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