Uvalde School District Police Chief declines to answer CNN’s questions in first public comments in a week

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Arredondo did not respond to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers, who are investigating the shooting at Robb Elementary.

Still, outside his home on Wednesday, Arredondo told CNN’s Aaron Cooper, “I’m in touch with DPS every day.”

And outside his office a few minutes later, he told CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz that he would not release any further information during the funeral.

“We’re going to be respectful to the family,” he said. “We’re going to do it eventually. Whenever it’s done and the families stop crying, obviously we will.”

This is the first time Arredondo has commented since two brief press releases the day of the attack, in which he said the shooter was dead but provided little information about the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. . He didn’t answer any questions at the time and hasn’t appeared in a public forum since.

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in last Tuesday’s attack, and authorities have so far failed to answer key questions about why police took around 80 minutes to break into two gates of locked class and face the shooter.

The school’s police chief was identified last week by the DPS as the commander who decided not to force his way into the rooms and to stand down and wait for reinforcements – even though the children there inside repeatedly called 911 and begged the police for help.

A Customs and Border Protection tactical team eventually entered the rooms using a janitor’s keys and fatally shot the suspect, DPS said.

DPS Director Steven McCraw did not identify Arredondo by name, but he said the chief made the “bad decision” not to engage with the shooter sooner. He said the commander decided to treat the situation like a barricaded suspect rather than an active shooter.

Established law enforcement policy, created following the 1999 Columbine school shooting, calls on police to arrest the shooter as quickly as possible in an active shooter situation.

Arredondo worked in law enforcement for nearly 30 years and became Chief of Police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) Police Department in March 2020.

In this role, he underwent school-based law enforcement active shooter training course in December 2021, according to his professional training record obtained by CNN. He also completed a school-based law enforcement active shooter training course with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in August 2020.

Additionally, he completed an Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERT) terrorism response tactics course in June 2019, according to the document. The ALERRT program is designed to teach officers life-saving techniques after an active shooting, such as how to apply tourniquets, according to the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center.

Arredondo sworn to city council in secret ceremony

Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde town council earlier this month, and a special town council meeting to swear him and others in was due to take place on Tuesday.

However, Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement on Monday that the reunion “will not take place as planned”, adding “our focus on Tuesday is on our families who have lost loved ones.”

Uvalde school district police chief sworn in as city council member a week after mass shooting

Instead, Arredondo was sworn in privately without notice to the media. Although there was no official ceremony, McLaughlin said council members came to City Hall “at their convenience” during the day to take the oath, adding that Arredondo introduced himself in person to take the oath and sign the documents.

“Out of respect for the families who buried their children today and who plan to bury their children in the coming days, no ceremony has taken place,” McLaughlin said in a written statement.

In his Monday statement, the mayor said Arredondo was “duly elected” and that there was “nothing in the city charter, election code, or Texas constitution that prohibited him from taking the oath. To our knowledge, we are currently unaware of any investigation into Mr. Arredondo.”

In his brief comments on Wednesday, Arredondo said the swearing-in was “a private thing” out of respect for families, saying families are the focus right now.

CNN’s Omar Jimenez, Andy Rose and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.

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