UVALDE, Texas — The chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District is not responding to interview requests from the Texas Rangers in its investigation into the Uvalde massacre, Texas DPS officials confirmed.
Texas DPS officials initially told Austin-American Statesman and KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski that Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo has not responded to the Texas Rangers in two days for a follow-up interview.
"The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde CISD Police have been cooperating with investigators," said Texas DPS. "The chief of the Uvalde CISD Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago."
On Monday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said a special meeting wouldn't be held to swear in new city council members on Tuesday. But he issued a statement Tuesday saying the new council members were sworn in. Arredondo was part of that group.
The response from Uvalde CISD police has been under heavy scrutiny for several days now after reportedly deciding that the group of responding officers should wait to confront the assailant at Robb Elementary.
This decision led to the gunman being inside the school for over an hour.
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Prosecutors will have to decide whether Arredondo's decision and the officers' inaction constituted a tragic mistake or criminal negligence, according to experts. The delay in confronting the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was inside the school for more than an hour, could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.
Arredondo's decision — and the officers' apparent willingness to follow his directives against established active-shooter protocols — prompted questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, and who should be held responsible.
An official said audio recordings from the scene captured officers from other agencies telling Arredondo that the shooter was still active and that the priority was to stop him. But it wasn’t clear why the school chief reportedly didn't act on their warnings.
In an interview with KHOU 11 sister station KENS5, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he doesn't doubt DPS or the Texas Rangers' ability to handle an investigation, but he wants an outside set of eyes to review it all. He's asked the Department of Justice to conduct its own investigation.
"If there's holes, or we made a mistake, I want to be as transparent as we can," McLaughlin said.
“The bottom line would be: Why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there and to eliminate the killer and to rescue the children?” Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday about the decision.
Who were the victims?
- Eva Mireles, 44, was one of the first victims identified in the Uvalde school shooting. She was a fourth-grade teacher.
- Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, was a third-grader at Robb Elementary. Her cousin, Jackie, was also killed in the shooting.
- Xavier Lopez, 10, had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming.
- Layla Salazar, 11, loved to swim and dance to Tik Tok videos.
- Uziyah Garcia, 8, was among those killed.
- Rogelio Torres, 10, was killed in the shooting.
- Eliahna García, 9, died in the shooting.
- Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, 10, also was killed and her aunt noted Naveah’s first name is Heaven spelled backward. Her cousin, Jailah, was also killed in the shooting.
- Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, was looking forward to her last softball game of the season before she was killed Tuesday.
- Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10, was among the victims. She was Naveah's cousin.
- Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10, was helpful around the house and loved his younger siblings. Jose loved baseball and video games and “was always full of energy.”
- Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was a happy child who made the honor roll and loved to paint, draw and work in clay.
- Maranda Mathis, 11, was “very loving and very talkative.”
- Alithia Ramirez, 10, was among the victims.
- Irma Garcia, 48, was also killed in the shooting. She taught at the school for 23 years. According to reports, she died while shielding her students from the shooter.
- Jackie Cazares, 9, was killed in her classroom. She was with a group of five girls, including her second cousin, Annabelle Rodriguez.
- Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10, loved school and was killed in the shooting.
- Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, was also killed in the shooting.
- Tess Marie Mata, 10, loved TikTok dance videos, Ariana Grande, the Houston Astros, and having her hair curled.
- Alexandria Aniyah Rubio, 10, recently made the honor roll with all As and received a good citizen award.
- Maite Rodriguez, 10, especially liked physical education, and after she died, her teacher texted her mother to say she was highly competitive at kickball and ran faster than all the boys.
Who was the gunman?
Ramos is from Uvalde and had previously hinted on social media that an attack could be coming. Ramos “suggested the kids should watch out.”
Before heading to the school, Ramos shot his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased on his birthday.
The attack began at about 11:30 a.m. when the gunman crashed his car outside the school and ran into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The motive for the shooting is currently unknown.