Uvalde, Texas – The school district police chief, who was criticized for waiting too long before ordering law enforcement to confront and kill the gunman during a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, failed to appear at a city council meeting in Uvalde on Tuesday, although he was newly elected to the board.
Mayor Don McLaughlin said he couldn’t explain why District Police Chief Pete Arredondo wasn’t at the brief meeting. Two weeks ago, 19 students and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uwalde. Law enforcement and state officials have struggled to provide an accurate account schedule and details, and have stopped publishing information about the police response.
McLaughlin told reporters at the meeting he was frustrated by the lack of information.
“We want facts and answers, just like everyone else,” the mayor said.
Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Arredondo, who was in charge of responding to multiple agencies on May 24, made the “wrong decision” not to order officers to breach the classroom faster to to face the Sagittarius.
As the mayor spoke in Uvalde on Tuesday, Washington lawmakers heard testimony from the son of a woman who was recently killed in a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, as lawmakers work toward a bipartisan agreement on gun safety measures. And at a press conference at the White House, actor Matthew McConaughey, a native of Uvalde, spoke with passion about his conversations with the families of children who have been killed and the need for stricter gun control.
The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, spent about 80 minutes at Robb Elementary, and more than an hour elapsed after the first officers followed him into the building and when he was killed, according to an official schedule. In the meantime, Parents outside asked the police jump in and panic Children call 911 from inside.
Arredondo has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from The Associated Press.
After the city council meeting, Alfred Garza III, whose 10-year-old daughter Amerie Jo was among the Uvalde students killed, told reporters that he attended the meeting to see what else he could learn about what happened that day.
“I have so many questions and not all of them can be answered. They’re still collecting data, they’re still collecting information about what happened,” Garza said.
He said he was curious if Arredondo would attend the meeting and said he had “mixed feelings” about the county police chief’s absence.
“He obviously didn’t show up for a reason,” Garza said, adding that he assumes Arredondo thought if he showed up, he’d get a lot of questions.
Garza said he doesn’t have “a lot of grudges” towards Arredondo, nor does he blame just one person for what happened, but he thinks more could have been done that day.
“It took you a long time to get in there,” Garza said.
Since the shooting, there has been tension between state and local authorities over how police have dealt with the shooting and disclosed to the public what happened.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has begun referring questions about the investigation to Uvalde-area District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee. She has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from AP.
McLaughlin said he asked officers for a briefing, but “we’re not getting it.”
He said the city’s police chief was on vacation at the time of the shooting and the deputy commander of the city’s police force was at the scene.
More on the shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
Stengle reported from Dallas.
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https://www.local10.com/news/national/2022/06/07/school-police-chief-a-no-show-at-uvalde-city-council-meeting/ The head of the school police did not appear at the Uvalde City Council meeting