Heroic federal officers DISOBEYED Ulvade police chief's order to WAIT while he looked for school keys
Agents had been puzzled as to why they were being told not to enter the school and engage the gunman
Despite the strict security measures that Robb Elementary School had to prevent any kind of violence, still, an 18-year-old man arrived at the school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, with the intent of killing children and none of it stopped him. Security lapses that were exposed at the end of the tragedy allowed the shooter, Salvador Ramos, to massacre 19 students and two teachers, school safety experts say. When the gunman arrived at the school, he hopped its fence and easily entered through a back door that was open, officials said. Behind the locked door of a fourth-grade classroom, he emerged from a closet and gunned down children and teachers.
Pedro 'Pete' Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, reportedly stopped at least 19 officers from storming the school as the gunman opened fire for at least an hour. Arredondo wrongly believed that 18-year-old gunman Ramos was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms at Robb Elementary School and that children were no longer at risk. According to a law enforcement official, the agents had been puzzled as to why they were being told not to enter the school and engage the gunman.
Federal agents who responded to the shooting incident were told by local police to wait and not enter the school, however, they decided after about half an hour to ignore that initial guidance and find the shooter, two senior federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the incident told NBC. The report alleges that officials say that agents from BORTAC, the Customs and Border Protection tactical unit, and ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrived on the scene between noon and 12:15 pm on Tuesday, May 24. Local law enforcement asked them to wait and then instructed HSI agents to help pull children out of the windows. They then said the BORTAC team, armed with tactical gear after approximately 30 minutes opted of their own volition to lead the “stack” of officers inside the school and take down the shooter overriding the previous command to stay back. They were spurred to action by the frantic 911 calls coming from the school.
Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, in a press conference on May 27 blamed Arredondo for stopping at least 19 officers from going in. According to McCraw, amid the attack, nearly 20 officers stood in a hallway, but since Arredondo believed that there was no active threat, he spent time finding the keys that would let him into the school. However, during this time, the shooter got the access to make it through the classroom for 90 minutes and shoot 19 children and 2 adults dead. The gunman was shot dead at 12:50 pm by a member of the border patrol, who used a master key to open the locked door of the classroom according to McCraw.
Several teachers and students repeatedly called 911 during the attack. The first call to 911 operators came at 12.03 pm by a teacher who whispered to emergency operators that she was in room 112. The teacher called 911 a total of four times after the suspected shooter, Ramos, had gained access to the elementary school. After the first call, she called 911 at 12.10, advising them of multiple dead students. Another student told the dispatcher, “please send the police now."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Friday, May 27, Abbott expressed his fury at the conflicting and inconsistent version of events being given by law enforcement. Whereas, on Wednesday, May 25, he said that the officers did everything they could. However, on the revelation about the officers being held back, Abbott expressed his fury and discontentment. "I was misled. I am livid about what happened. I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards from where we are right now", he said. He further said that law enforcement leaders must "get to the bottom of every fact, with absolute certainty" and demanded a full accounting of what happened during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde.
According to the school district, Arredondo was recently elected to a seat on Uvalde's city council. A board of trustees for the school district approved Arredondo to head the department in 2020. The district's superintendent, Hal Harrell, said in a Facebook post at the time the board was "confident with our selection and impressed with his experience, knowledge, and community involvement." Arredondo previously served as a captain at a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, and in multiple roles at the Uvalde Police Department.