UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — The state agency investigating a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, has determined that the commander, who faced criticism for the police’s slow response, did not have a radio as the massacre unfolded. a state senator said on Friday.
Sen. Roland Gutierrez told the Associated Press in a brief telephone interview that a Texas Department of Public Safety official told him that during the May 24 attack by a lone gunman at Rob Elementary School, School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo went without radio. of which 19 students were left. and the death of two teachers. Seventeen more people were injured.
Officials did not say how Arredondo was communicating with other law enforcement officers at the scene, including more than a dozen officers who at one point waited outside the classroom where the gunman was hiding. 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 the Associated Press since the attack, including a telephone message Friday with the school district police.
Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steven McCraw has drawn attention to the major in recent days, Arredondo’s belief that the active shooting had turned into a hostage situation, and that he ordered officers not to ” Wrong decision”. Dissolve the class more quickly to face the gunman.
Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, complained on Thursday that Arredondo had not been informed about panicked 911 calls from students trapped inside a classroom where the gunman hid. Democrats called it a “failure of the system.”
Police radio is an important source of real-time communication during an emergency and, according to experts, is often how information on 911 calls is communicated to officers on the ground. It is not clear who knew about the call at the scene. Uvalde police did not respond to questions about the call on Thursday.
The news came amid tensions between state and local officials over how police handled the shooting and telling the public what happened.
According to one official, the gunman in Uvalde, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, spent about 80 minutes inside the school, and more than an hour passed before officers followed him into the building and when he was killed by law enforcement. timeline.
Officials said Ramos slipped into fourth grade classrooms adjacent to an open door at Rob Elementary at 11:33 a.m. He fired more than 100 rounds rapidly.
Officers entered minutes later, exchanging fire Ramos, and by 12:03 there were 19 officers in the hallway outside the classroom, McCraw said. Officials did not say where Arredondo was at the time.
McCraw said the US Border Patrol Tactical Team used a school employee’s key to open the classroom door and kill the gunman.
Since the shooting, law enforcement and state officials have struggled to provide an accurate timeline and details of the incident and how police responded, sometimes providing conflicting information or withdrawing statements hours later. State police have said that 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 Uvalde-area District Attorney Christina Michele Busby had instructed the agency not to release further information about the shooting investigation to the senator or the public.
The Department of Public Safety referred all questions about the investigation into the shooting to Busby on Friday, who did not immediately return telephone and text messages seeking comment.
Gutierrez said Thursday that many people, including the governor of Texas, must place some blame in the Uvalde shooting.
“There was error at every level including the legislative level. Greg Abbott is very much to blame for 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.
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