Watch: Uvalde ISD Police Chief Breaks Silence
Update (1655ET): Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who was the on-site commander for the mass shooting last week that left 21 people dead, has broken his silence over reports that he isn't communicating with state investigators.
"Just so everybody knows, we’ve been in contact with DPS every day," Arredondo told CNN. "I’ve been on the phone with them every day."
When a reporter pressed him to answer more questions, Arredondo said: "We’re going to be respectful to the family," adding "We’re going to do that eventually. Whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, then we’ll do that obviously."
CNN: "You have an opportunity to explain yourself to the parents..."— dan nguyen (@dancow) June 1, 2022
Chief: "We're going to do that eventually obviously..."
Chief: "Whenever this is done and we let the families quit grieving, then we'll do that obviously"
"quit grieving"? 👀 https://t.co/e6pdQAiWjf
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Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo has stopped cooperating with state investigators and has stopped responding to requests for information for several days, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Arredondo was in command during last week's mass shooting that left 19 fourth-graders and two teachers dead, and has received harsh criticism for ordering officers not to breach the classroom and neutralize the 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos for over an hour because Arredondo "believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject" and that children were not at risk.
The Texas Tribune reports that Texas Rangers have attempted to continue talking to Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, however he hasn't answered a request made three days ago for a follow-up interview, according to two spokespeople for DPS.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s police department and the Uvalde Police Department have otherwise been cooperating with the Rangers’ investigation, DPS spokesperson Travis Considine said.
Amid the turmoil, Texas’ largest police union — the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT — urged its members Tuesday in a statement to “cooperate fully” with investigations into the police response to the Uvalde massacre — though they didn’t name Arredondo. -Texas Tribune
The news comes as Arredondo, 50, was quietly sworn in as a city council member Tuesday night after being elected earlier this month before the shooting.
"Out of respect for the families who buried their children today, and who are planning to bury their children in the next few days, no ceremony was held," said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin in a statement obtained by ABC News Austin affiliate KVUE.
BREAKING: Uvalde ISD Chief Pete Arredondo was officially sworn in as a city council member today, Mayor Don McLaughlin confirms in a statement. This comes hours after DPS said he is not responding to a request for a followup interview. pic.twitter.com/yKG1ed68AE— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) June 1, 2022
"Our parents deserve answers and I trust the Texas Department of Public Safety/Texas Rangers will leave no stone unturned," the statement continues. "Our emotions are raw, and hearts are broken, and words are sometimes exchanged because of those emotions."
DPS has walked back a Friday statement that a teacher had propped open a door that's normally locked, allowing the shooter to gain entry to the campus. Now, according to Travis Considine, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, the teacher 'removed the rock' used to prop the door open after hearing gunshots outside of the school. The teacher closed the door but it did not lock, according to the Associated Press.
The reversal came hours after a lawyer representing the teacher told the San Antonio Express-News that the teacher closed the door before the shooter entered the building.
“She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting,” Don Flanary, the teacher’s lawyer, told the Express-News. “She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”
"We did verify she closed the door. The door did not lock. We know that much and now investigators are looking into why it did not lock," said Considine after investigators viewed additional video footage reviewed since Friday's claim.
"She came back out while on her phone, she heard someone yell, ‘He has a gun!’, she saw him jump the fence and that he had a gun, so she ran back inside," and removed the rock when she did, he added.