UNITED STATES

Senator: Chief had no radio during Uvalde school shooting

Jun 3, 2022, 2:46 PM
school police chief Texas no radio...
FILE - Investigators search for evidences outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022, after an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 students and two teachers. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who served as on-site commander during the shooting, said that he's talking daily with investigators, contradicting claims from state law enforcement that he has stopped cooperating. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — The state agency investigating the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde has determined that the commander facing criticism for the slow police response was not carrying a radio as the massacre unfolded, a Texas state senator said Friday.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez told The Associated Press in a brief telephone interview that a Texas Department of Public Safety official told him school district police Chief Pete Arredondo was without a radio during the May 24 attack by a lone gunman at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead. Seventeen more people were injured.

Authorities have not said how Arredondo was communicating with other law enforcement officials at the scene, including the more than a dozen officers who were at one point waiting outside the classroom where the gunman was holed up. Arredondo heads the district’s small department and was in charge of the multi-agency response to the shooting.

He has not responded to multiple interview requests from AP since the attack, including a telephone message left with the school district police Friday.

Focus has turned to the chief in recent days after Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Arredondo believed the active shooting had turned into a hostage situation, and that he made the “wrong decision” to not order officers to breach the classroom more quickly to confront the gunman.

Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, complained Thursday that Arredondo was not informed of panicked 911 calls coming from students trapped inside a classroom where the gunman had holed up.

The Senator called it a “system failure.”

Police radios are a crucial source of real-time communication during an emergency and, according to experts, often how information from 911 calls is relayed to officers on the ground. It’s unclear who at the scene was aware of the calls. Uvalde police did not respond to questions about the calls Thursday.

The news emerged amid tensions between state and local authorities over how police handled the shooting and communicated what happened to the public.

The gunman in Uvalde, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, spent roughly 80 minutes inside the school, and more than an hour passed from when the first officers followed him into the building and when he was killed by law enforcement, according to an official timeline.

Ramos slipped through an unlocked door into adjoining fourth-grade classrooms at Robb Elementary at 11:33, authorities said. He rapidly fired off more than 100 rounds.

Officers entered minutes later, exchanging fire Ramos, and by 12:03 there were as many as 19 officers in the hallway outside the classroom, McCraw said. Authorities have not said where Arredondo was during this period.

A U.S. Border Patrol tactical team used a school employee’s key to unlock the classroom door and kill the gunman around 12:50 p.m., McCraw said.

Since the shooting, law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details of the event and how police responded, sometimes providing conflicting information or withdrawing statements hours later. State police have said some accounts were preliminary and may change as more witnesses are interviewed.

Gutierrez said Friday that a Texas Department of Public Safety official told him that the Uvalde-area district attorney, Christina Mitchell Busbee, had directed the agency to not release more information about the shooting investigation to the senator or the public.

The Department of Public Safety on Friday referred all questions about the shooting investigation to Busbee, who did not immediately return telephone and text messages seeking comment.
Gutierrez said Thursday that many people should shoulder some blame in the Uvalde shooting, including the Texas governor.

“There was error at every level, including the legislative level. Greg Abbott has plenty of blame in all of this,” he said.
___
More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
___
Coronado reported from Austin, Texas. Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas and Jim Vertuno in Austin, Texas, contributed to this report.

Today’s Top Stories

United States

President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
2 days ago
A Rite Aid logo is displayed on its store...
HALELUYA HADERO, AP Reporter

Amazon, Rite Aid cap purchase of emergency contraceptives

Retailers limiting purchases is standard practice that helps retailers prevent stockpiling and reselling at higher prices.
2 days ago
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
3 days ago
Freshly pressed vinyl records are produced in a stamper at the United Record Pressing facility Thur...
DAVID SHARP Associated Press

Manufacturers struggle to keep pace with vinyl record demand

The Recording Industry Association of America says record album sales grew 61% last year — and reached $1 billion for the first time since the 1980s.
5 days ago
U.S. Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) speaks during the fifth of eight planned public hearings ...
Annie Grayer, CNN

January 6 committee unexpectedly adds new hearing for Tuesday

The announcement came as a surprise to many as the committee had said it was not going to resume its hearings until mid-July.
5 days ago
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Jamiel Lynch and Chenelle Woody, CNN

Lawyer releases pages from Brian Laundrie’s notebook in which he admits to killing Gabby Petito

Eight pages of Brian Laundrie's notebook were released Friday by the Laundrie family attorney. The notebook was found near Brian Laundrie's remains.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Senator: Chief had no radio during Uvalde school shooting