The school district police chief who served as on-scene commander in last week’s deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas, said Wednesday he speaks with investigators daily, contradicting claims by law enforcement. state order that he had ceased to cooperate.
In a brief interview, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo told CNN he speaks regularly with investigators from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
“I’ve been on the phone with them every day,” Arredondo said.
Nineteen children and two teachers died in the attack at Robb Elementary School, the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade. The district announced Wednesday that students and staff will not be returning to that campus, though plans are still being finalized on where the fewer than 600 students will attend classes in the fall.
State officials said 19 police officers were waiting outside the classroom where 18-year-old Salvador Ramos opened fire, despite repeated pleas from children calling 911 for help.
Texas Department of Public Safety communications officer Travis Considine said Tuesday that Arredondo had not responded to DPS inquiries for two days, while other officers from the city’s police departments and schools d’Uvalde continue to sit for interviews and provide statements.
Arredondo did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Associated Press.
The confusing and at times conflicting reports in the week since the fatal shooting continued on Tuesday with the revelation that the exterior door used by the shooter was not left open by a teacher, as police had previously said.
They have now determined that the teacher, who has not been identified, held the door open with a stone, but then removed the stone and closed the door when she realized there was a shooter on campus, Considine said. But, Considine said, the door that was designed to lock when closed did not lock.
“We checked that she had closed the door. The door didn’t lock. We know a lot about it and now investigators are looking into why it didn’t lock,” Considine said.
Investigators confirmed the detail through additional video footage reviewed since Friday’s press conference, when authorities first said the door remained open.
Considine said the teacher initially opened the door, but came back inside to pick up her phone and call 911 when Ramos crashed his truck on campus.
“She came out while she was on the phone, she heard someone yelling, ‘He’s got a gun! said Considine.
Since the shooting, law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present a precise timeline and details of the event and the police response, sometimes providing conflicting information or retracting certain statements a few times. hours later. State police said some accounts were preliminary and could change as more witnesses are interviewed.
San Antonio attorney Don Flanary, representing the teacher, told the San Antonio Express-News that she first opened the door to carry food inside a car, and that she had immediately shut it when she realized the danger.
“She pushed the rock away when she came in. She remembers closing the door and telling 911 he was shooting,” Flanary told the newspaper.
“She thought the door would lock because this door is always supposed to be locked,” Flanary said.
Flanary did not return phone messages left at his office by AP.
On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott asked key lawmakers to convene a legislative committee to review and make recommendations on “school safety, mental health, social media, police training, gun safety and more.” Again”.
Texas’ next legislative session is scheduled for January 2023, though some lawmakers have urged Abbott to call a special session in response to the shooting.
Also on Tuesday, the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, which represents police officers, urged its members to cooperate with “all government investigations” into the shooting and the police response and endorsed a federal investigation already announced by the Department of Justice.
The organization has also strongly criticized the ever-changing narrative of events that has emerged so far.
“There has been a lot of false and misleading information in the wake of this tragedy. Some of the information came from the highest levels of government and law enforcement,” CLEAT said. “Sources that Texans once considered as foolproof and totally reliable have now been proven wrong.”