Anger is growing as more and more revelations cast a negative light on the Uvalde, Texas, Police Department’s response to last week’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
“Cowards. Liars.” An “absolute failure.” A “disgrace.” These are the words Newsweek noted local residents are using to describe officials at the Uvalde Police Department.
On Wednesday, CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz confronted Uvalde Independent School District Police Chief Pedro Arredondo. It was an attempt to seek answers to yet outstanding basic questions regarding how police responded to the mass shooting event.
Casting even more negative light on the department is a report in the Texas Tribune that the “Texas Department of Public Safety alleges the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police are no longer cooperating with its investigation into their response to the shooting.”
On Wednesday morning, in an attempt to get answers about decisions the Police Chief made in responding to the shooting, CNN’s Prokupecz approached Chief Arredondo as he arrived at his office.
When Prokupecz asked for comment, the stiff but cordial Chief said: “We’re not going to release anything; we have people in our community being buried. We’re going to be respectful … we’re going to be respectful to the families.”
Prokupecz pressed: “I just want your reaction to Director McCraw saying that you were responsible for the decision [not] to go into that room. How do you explain yourself to the parents?”
The Chief tried to redirect the question, but Prokupecz pressed again: “I understand that, but you have an opportunity to explain yourself to the parents.”
Attempting a vague response, Arredondo said, “We’re going to do that eventually, obviously.”
As Arredondo inched closer to the front door, Prokupecz asked, “When?”
Becoming frustrated, Arredondo replied: “Whenever this is done. We’ll let the families quit grieving, then we’ll do that, obviously.”
Arredondo quickly added: “Just so everybody knows, we have been in contact with DPS every day, just so you all know, every day.”
Prokupecz responded to Arredondo’s statement about the DPS by noting that according to reliable reports, his department is no longer cooperating with the investigation led by the Department of Public Safety.
“They say you’re not cooperating,” Prokupecz charged.
“I’ve been on the phone with them every day,” Arredondo responded.
“They say you’re not cooperating,” Prokupecz repeated.
“Just so you know, we have been talking to them every day,” Arredondo replied, still not answering the question.
Authorities note that the Uvalde school district hosted at least two active shooter training days in the last two years — the most recent drill was in March of this year.
The New York Times noted that training material specifies that “a police officer’s first priority when responding to a school shooting was to move in and confront the attacker.”
Training material states that “the short duration and high casualty rates produced by these events require immediate response to reduce the loss of life. In many cases, that immediate response means a single (solo) officer response until such times as other forces can arrive.”
The material adds: “The best hope that innocent victims have is that officers immediately move into action to isolate, distract or neutralize the threat, even if that means one officer acting alone.”
Preemptively addressing concerns regarding personal safety, the material also soberly notes:
“First responders to the active shooter scene will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent,” the training said. “A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field.”
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