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Uvalde school police chief blamed for slow response to shooting is not responding to investigators, state police say

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The official response to the mass shooting at an Uvalde elementary school — a response already marred by shifting narratives, finger-pointing and a normal lack of well timed and correct data — took an additional flip towards dysfunction on Tuesday.

The Uvalde school district’s police chief — who made the choice to wait for extra resources somewhat than confront the gunman sooner — had stopped cooperating with state investigators and had not responded to requests for data for over two days, the Texas Department of Public Safety stated.

And the company walked again an assertion {that a} instructor at Robb Elementary School propped open a again door prior to the shooting, permitting the gunman to enter and kill 19 college students and two academics. Earlier Tuesday the instructor’s lawyer had pushed again on the state’s account.

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Texas Rangers investigating the response to the shooting need to proceed speaking to Pete Arredondo, chief of police at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. But he hasn’t answered a request made two days in the past for a follow-up interview, in accordance to two DPS spokespeople.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s police division and the Uvalde Police Department have in any other case been cooperating with the Rangers’ investigation, DPS spokesperson Travis Considine stated.

Arredondo did not instantly return a name requesting remark.

Amid the turmoil, Texas’ largest police union — the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT — urged its members Tuesday in an announcement to “cooperate fully” with investigations into the police response to the Uvalde bloodbath — although they didn’t identify Arredondo.

Both the police chief and the school instructor had been implicated by DPS officers as, in impact, having failed at their jobs. The change in narrative is doubtless to deepen the distrust surrounding the investigation. Already, as in different mass shootings, conspiracy theories and misinformation have begun to proliferate on-line.

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While the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to assessment the response to the mass shooting, the final word accountability for finishing up a reputable, thorough and clear investigation rests with the state — and thus far, state officers have not supplied a lot confidence of their talents to perform such a probe.

In the school instructor’s case, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw stated Friday that the unnamed instructor had propped open the door via which the gunman entered the school. DPS now says a instructor shut that door however its automated lock malfunctioned. Considine stated DPS is investigating why the lock didn’t work.

The reversal got here hours after a lawyer representing the instructor told the San Antonio Express-News that the instructor closed the door earlier than the shooter entered the constructing.

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“She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting,” Don Flanary, the instructor’s lawyer, informed the Express-News. “She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked.”

Flanary did not return requests for remark from The Texas Tribune on Tuesday.

The revelation was the most recent addition to what has change into an nearly day by day want to clear up previous statements by state leaders. DPS officers and Gov. Greg Abbott have walked again a number of of their preliminary statements concerning the shooting and the authorities’ response to the decision after contradictory data got here to mild.

For instance, Abbott and McCraw stated the gunman encountered a police officer earlier than he entered the school. McCraw later stated the shooter went inside unopposed. When requested concerning the discrepancy, Abbott said he was “livid” to have been “misled” in a few of his earliest briefings on the bloodbath.

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CLEAT, the police union, blamed state officers Tuesday for “a great deal of false and misleading information in the aftermath of this tragedy,” a few of which “came from the very highest levels of government and law enforcement.”

“Sources that Texans once saw as iron-clad and completely reliable have now been proven false,” the union stated in an announcement.

Police officers who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary have confronted heated criticism from mother and father who stated officers did not act rapidly sufficient to cease the 18-year-old gunman.

That criticism reached a brand new stage on Friday when McCraw informed reporters that officers did not strive to cease the shooter sooner as a result of the district’s police chief needed to wait for backup and tools earlier than confronting the gunman — though 911 calls confirmed that college students had been nonetheless trapped inside with the shooter.

McCraw stated Arredondo, who he did not identify, handled the gunman as a “barricaded suspect” somewhat than an energetic shooter and believed youngsters had been not in danger — which McCraw called a mistake.

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A tactical unit made up of U.S. Border Patrol brokers finally breached the classroom and killed the gunman — greater than an hour after the gunman first arrived on campus.

Arredondo, who has been chief of police since March 2020, was set to be sworn in as a Uvalde metropolis council member Tuesday, however the occasion was postponed. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin stated in a press launch that nothing in metropolis regulation prevented him from taking his seat.

Arredondo’s regulation enforcement career spans almost three many years, together with 15 years on the Uvalde Police Department. He accomplished an energetic shooter response coaching in December, in accordance to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement information.

The first funeral for one of many victims of the assault was held Tuesday, for Amerie Jo Garza. She was 10.

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Disclosure: CLEAT has been a monetary supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan information group that is funded partly by donations from members, foundations and company sponsors. Financial supporters play no position within the Tribune’s journalism. Find a whole list of them here.

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