Pete Arredondo, who was terminated in August, gave the Texas Department of Safety an explanation of his choices soon after the Robb Elementary School disaster in May 2022.
After a shooter entered and started shooting in May 2022, murdering 19 pupils and two instructors, the disgraced former police chief of Uvalde schools stated that protecting children and employees in other areas of RUvalde School Police Chief: I “Contained” Shooter to Protect Kids Outsideobb Middle School was his first concern.
Police Chief Pete Arredondo of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District reportedly told investigators he chose after the shooter barricaded himself inside two classrooms, according to a new video obtained by CNN.
In an interview with Texas Department of Safety investigators after the incident, Arredondo stated, “Once I knew something was going on, my first thinking is that we need to vacate.” We have him contained; there will likely be some deceased inside, but we don’t need any more from outside. I know this is terrible, but it is what our training instructs us to do.
Arredondo’s decision did not follow active shooter protocols, which direct first responders to “isolate, distract and neutralize” an attacker. The guidelines tell officers that they “will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent,” reported CNN.
One of the first officers to arrive at Robb Elementary School, the former police chief, didn’t have his police or school radios with him when he went inside. Instead, after surveying the surroundings—bullet casings were all over the hallways—he utilized a landline to phone 911 and request assistance.
“It’s an emergency right now,” Arredondo told the dispatcher. “I’m inside the building with this man. He has an AR-15. He shot a whole bunch of times … He’s in one room. I need a lot of firepowers; I need this building surrounded with as many AR-15s as possible.”
According to CNN, Arredondo only had a handgun, but officers with more potent weapons were at the other end of the hallway.
The San Antonio Express-News reported that surveillance video appeared to show that neither Arredondo nor any other cop ever tried to open the doors where the gunman was holding two classrooms full of children hostage and that one of the doors may have been left unlocked the entire time.
Arredondo has justified his behavior in the past. He admitted to The Texas Tribune in June 2022 that he did not view himself as the superior officer present at the time.
In phone interviews and remarks given to the Tribune through his attorney, Arredondo said that neither he nor anyone else informed him of the 911 calls made from the classrooms in the 77 minutes before the shooter’s shooting.
However, one of Arredondo’s subordinate officers contradicted Arredondo’s assertion that he was unaware of his position of authority.
“We were looking to him for guidance,” said the officer, who spoke to PEOPLE immediately after the incident and again days later. “We wanted him to tell us what to do. He was the chief. He knew the school building better than anyone. So he knew we were all looking to him for decisions. I was five feet away from him as we asked what we should do.”
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Arredondo was given a leave of absence on June 22. The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District decided to fire him as police chief in August.
At the tense meeting where he was fired, parents could be heard yelling, “Coward!”
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