Former Uvalde Police Chief Explains Reason For Not Going After Shooter In Newly Released Interview

Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, the former Uvalde school district police chief, explained his crucial, tragic decisions in an interview after the shooting in May of last year.

Arredondo carried out an interview with authorities on the day following the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, that resulted in the deaths of nineteen students and two teachers. The interview was acquired by CNN.

He said the main decision point happened when he saw other classrooms with children inside of them. 

“Once I realized that was going on, my first thought is that we need to vacate. We have him contained – and I know this is horrible and I know it’s [what] our training tells us to do but – we have him contained, there’s probably going to be some deceased in there, but we don’t need any more from out here,” Arredondo said. 

“The ammunition was penetrating the walls at that point,” Arredondo told The Texas Tribune in June of last year. “We’ve got him cornered, we’re unable to get to him. You realize you need to evacuate those classrooms while we figured out a way to get in.”

Arredondo reportedly maintained that decision for more than an hour, even once he thought he heard the shooter loading his weapon again and after it was known that children were stuck inside the room with the gunman. 

While he told the Tribune that he “didn’t issue any orders” and “called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door,” the new interview showed that wasn’t true. 

He said that he told officers to form a “pyramid” on one side of the hallway to keep away from crossfire if the shooter emerged. He also decided to get people out of the building instead of going after the shooter.

“We’re going to clear out this building before we do any breach,” Arredondo told law enforcement in the hallway, as was reportedly heard on body camera footage. “As soon as they clear this room, I’m going to verify what’s been vacated, guys, before we do any kind of breaching.”

“Time’s on our side right now. I know we probably have kids in there, but we’ve got to save the lives of the other ones,” he continued. 

In the interview, Arredondo said, “We’re going to get scrutinized, I’m expecting that. We’re getting scrutinized for why we didn’t go in there.” 

“I know what the firepower [the shooter] had, based on what shells I saw, the holes in the wall in the room next to his. I also know I had students that were around there that weren’t in the immediate threat besides the ones I know were in the immediate threat and the preservation of life around, everything around him, I felt was priority,” he explained. “Because I know there’s probably victims in there and with the shots I heard, I know there’s probably somebody who’s going to be deceased. I know these weren’t,” he said of those who were in the other classrooms.

He also said he thought the door in the hallway was locked but didn’t try to get it open. However, he previously said he tried to open the doors with another officer. 

Children inside with the shooter tried to get help from the police while Uvalde police officers were standing by in the hallway. United States Border Patrol Tactical Unit personnel eventually shot the gunman. In August, Arredondo was fired. 

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