by Jake Bliberg and Jamie Stengel
UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — The school district police chief criticized for waiting too long before confronting law enforcement and the gunman killed during a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, a city council in Uvalde said Tuesday. Elected to the panel despite being fresh, not attending the meeting.
Mayor Don McLaughlin said he was unable to explain why District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was not at the brief meeting. Two weeks ago, 19 students and two teachers were murdered at Rob Elementary School in Uvalde. Law enforcement and state officials have struggled to offer an accurate timeline and details, and have stopped releasing information about the police’s response.
McLaughlin told reporters at the meeting that he was disappointed by the lack of information.
“We want facts and answers like everyone else,” Meyer said.
Texas Department of Public Safety Chief Steven McCraw has said that Arredondo, in charge of the multi-agency response on May 24, made the “wrong decision” not to order the class to dissolve more quickly to confront officers. gunman
As the mayor spoke in Uvalde on Tuesday, lawmakers in Washington listened to the testimony of the son of a woman killed in a recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, as lawmakers work toward a bipartisan agreement on gun safety measures. We do. And at a White House press briefing, actor Matthew McConaughey, an Uvalde native, spoke passionately about his interactions with the families of children killed and the need for more stringent gun control.
According to an official timeline, the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, spent about 80 minutes inside Rob Elementary, and more than an hour passed before officers chased him and when he was killed. Meanwhile, the parents outside asked the police to go inside and the panicked children called 911 from inside.
Arredondo has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from the Associated Press.
After the city council meeting, Alfred Garza III, whose 10-year-old daughter, Améry Jo, was among the Uvalde students killed, told reporters that he attended the meeting to see what had happened that day. What else can he learn?
“I have a lot of questions and can’t answer every one. They’re still collecting data, they’re still collecting information about what happened,” Garza said.
He said he was curious whether Arredondo would attend the meeting, and added that he had “mixed feelings” about the district police chief’s absence.
“He obviously didn’t show up for a reason,” Garza said, adding that he admitted Arredondo thought he would get a lot of questions if he appeared.
Garza said he does not have “too much ill will” towards Arredondo, nor does he blame only one person for what happened, but feels that more could have been done that day.
“It took them a long time to get there,” Garza said.
Since the shooting, there has been tension between state and local officials about how police handled the shooting and what to tell the public.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has begun referring questions about the investigation to Uvalde-area District Attorney, Christina Michelle Busby. She has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from the Associated Press.
McLaughlin said he has asked officials for a briefing but “we can’t find it.”
He said the city police chief was on leave at the time of the shooting and the city’s acting police commander was at the scene.
More on the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
Stengel reported from Dallas.
This story was first published on June 7, 2022. It was updated on June 8, 2022, to order the first paragraph to order officers of the school district police chief to confront and kill the gunman. It is not yet clear whether he has given this order or not.