An elusive key to a locked homeroom entryway was a definitive explanation police held up 77 minutes to enter a Robb Elementary study hall to kill a shooter, halting the slaughter that killed 19 understudies and two educators, the enduring an onslaught police boss said.
Uvalde school region police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was in control during the May 24 mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, presented the clarification in another meeting with the Texas Tribune where he protected policing reaction in requiring down 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos.
Arredondo has been intensely examined by pundits, who accept lives could have been saved assuming police had acted speedier and gotten to the harmed quicker.
“Not a solitary answering official at any point delayed, in any event, briefly, to seriously jeopardize themselves to save the youngsters,”
Arredondo told the paper.
“We answered the data that we endlessly needed to acclimate to anything we confronted.”
The way to the study hall that Ramos was in had a steel pillar and couldn’t be kicked in, Arredondo told the paper. He spent over an hour in the corridor attempting many keys.
“Each time I attempted a key I was simply supplicating,”
Arredondo told the Texas Tribune.
“The main thing that was critical to me right now was to save whatever number instructors and youngsters as could be expected under the circumstances.”
In the first 40 minutes, Arredondo says he was waiting to receive the set of keys. During that time, he called for tactical gear and a sniper, while avoiding the doors, believing he might provoke Ramos to shoot. Dozens of keys finally arrived, but none of them opened the door.
“My mind was to get there as fast as possible, eliminate any threats, and protect the students and staff,”
One hour and 17 minutes after Ramos started shooting murdering schoolchildren with an AR-15 style gun, police finally breached the door to the classroom and killed the gunman.
Arredondo’s account of the police response is not supported by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the shooting and the subsequent police response.
DPS said Arredondo erroneously treated the shooting as a barricaded suspect incident, in which law enforcement negotiates with the gunman. Instead, he should have treated it like an active shooter situation, where the number one priority for officers is to stop the shooting by killing the gunman or taking him into custody.
“With the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period,”
DPS Col. Steven McCraw said in a press briefing on May 27.
Arredondo tried to talk to the gunman through the wall, but there was no response, he told the newspaper.
The school district police chief also tried to justify his decision not to take his police radios into the school with him, believing he needed both hands to take down the shooter instead of holding the devices that might give away his position if the gunman heard them. Arredondo also did not have a bullet resistant vest, he told the paper.
“Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat,”
But Arredondo’s decision not to take his radios in with him meant he did not know that students were calling 911 from inside the two classrooms the gunman targeted, begging for police to stop him.
He also said he didn’t consider himself the incident commander and thought another officer had taken control of organizing the different police agencies that responded.
“I didn’t issue any orders,”
“I called for assistance and asked for an extraction tool to open the door.”
Arredondo says he never told anyone to not breach the building, while simultaneously taking credit for telling officers to break windows from outside so that students in other classrooms could be evacuated.
Some of the US Border Patrol agents who responded to the school claim they ignored an order not to enter the classroom, reported the New York Times. Arredondo did not object when the team entered the room.
Arredondo did not speak out soon to avoid causing more grief to the families of the victims, he said. He has hired attorney George E. Hyde.
The Texas Department of Public Safety did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.