The Uvalde school district police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo was not informed of panicked 911 calls from people at the May 24 Robb Elementary shooting scene that killed 19 students and two adults, a Texas senator said on Thursday.
In a June 2 press conference, Sen. Roland Gutierrez revealed that emergency calls from students and staff inside Robb Elementary School during the active shooter situation did not make their way to Chief Arredondo but instead went straight to the city police. The 911 calls confirmed that students were still inside the school with the shooter, Ramos Salvador.
“Uvalde PD was the one receiving the 911 calls for 45 minutes while officers were sitting in a hallway, while 19 officers were sitting in a hallway for 45 minutes,” Gutierrez said. “We don’t know if it was being communicated to those people or not.”
Multiple children called 911 inside the classroom while officers were in the Robb Elementary hallway.
“He’s the incident commander. He did not receive [the] 911 calls,” the senator said, adding that this lack of communication was a “systematic failure.”
Arredondo, the commander-in-chief on the shooting scene, has been under public scrutiny as accusations mount that he was responsible for a delayed police response to the shooting.
During a May 27 news conference, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), admitted that the delayed response “was a wrong decision.” McCraw added that Arredondo thought the 18-year-old was a barricaded suspect instead of an active shooter.
Arredondo told CNN that he has been cooperating with DPS investigations.
Arredondo has nearly three decades of experience in law enforcement in Uvalde. He began his job as the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District in 2020.
“I’ve been on the phone with them every day,” Arredondo told the news outlet.
Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council before the May 24 shooting incident and was sworn in as a city councilman on May 31.
Arredondo had not spoken publicly since appearing at a vigil, which took place before he was named as the official who gave the order to hold.
Arredondo told The Epoch Times that the vigil was “a good beginning.”
“I saw a lot of shoulders drop, which means people started to breathe a little bit. And that’s one of the first processes—learn to breathe again. It’s good to see a good tight-knit community come together,” he said.
Zachary Stieber, Charlotte Cuthbertson, and Caden Pearson contributed to this report.