The school district police chief who served as the local commander during this time last week’s fatal shooting in Uvalde said Wednesday that he speaks to investigators daily and disagrees with state law enforcement’s claims that he has stopped cooperating.
In a brief interview, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo told CNN that he speaks regularly with investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“I spoke to them on the phone every day,” Arredondo said.
Nineteen children and two teachers died in the Robb Elementary School attack, the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade. State officials said 19 police officers were waiting outside the classroom where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire despite repeated fire Pleas by children calling 911 for help.
Travis Considine, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday that Arredondo did not respond to DPS requests for two days while other officers from the city of Uvalde Police Departments and schools continue to sit for interviews and make statements.
Arredondo has not responded to multiple requests for comment from The Associated Press.
The confusing and sometimes conflicting responses in the week since the deadly shooting continued Tuesday with the revelation that the outside door had been used by the gunman was not left open by a teacheras the police previously said.
They have now determined that the teacher, who has not been identified, held the door open with a rock, but then removed the rock and closed the door when she realized there was a gunman on campus, Considine said. But, Considine said, the door that was supposed to lock when closed didn’t lock.
“We checked that she closed the door. The door didn’t lock. We know so much and now investigators are investigating why it wasn’t blocked,” Considine said.
Investigators confirmed the detail through additional video footage reviewed since Friday’s press conference, when authorities first said the door had been left open. Authorities did not provide any information at the time as to what had been used to prop up the door.
Considine said the teacher initially kept the door open but ran back inside to get her phone and call 911 when Ramos crashed his truck on campus.
“She came back while she was on the phone, she heard someone yell ‘He’s got a gun!’, she saw him jumping over the fence and that he had a gun so she ran back in,” removed the stone when she did, Considine said.
Steve McCraw, the head of DPS, hadn’t said why the teacher initially pushed the door open when it was first detailed on Friday. The first mention of a door left open, which officials now say did not happen, led to questions about the teacher’s actions and whether she had made a terrible mistake.
Law enforcement and state officials have been fighting over it since the shooting present a precise schedule and details of the event and how the police reacted, sometimes providing conflicting information or retracting some statements hours later. State police said some reports are preliminary and could change as more witnesses are questioned.
San Antonio attorney Don Flanary told the San Antonio Express-News that the Robb Elementary School clerk, whose name he does not name, first pushed open the door to carry food from a car to a classroom, and that she closed them as soon as she noticed The Danger.
“She kicked the rock away as she went back inside. She recalls pulling the door shut while telling 911 that he was shooting,” Flanary told the newspaper.
“She thought the door would lock because that door was supposed to be locked at all times,” Flanary said.
Flanary did not immediately respond to phone messages left at his office by The Associated Press.
Later Tuesday, the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, which represents police officers, called on its member officers to cooperate with “all state investigations” into the shootings and the police response, and endorsed a federal investigation previously announced by the Justice Department.
The organization also sharply criticized the ever-changing narrative of events that has been forming so far.
“After this tragedy, there was a lot of false and misleading information. Some of the information came from the highest levels of government and law enforcement,” CLEAT said. “Sources that Texans once viewed as ironclad and totally reliable have now been proven wrong.”
More on the shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/01/uvalde-school-police-chief-says-hes-still-cooperating/ Police chief at Uvalde school says he’s still cooperating