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School district police chief said he intentionally left his radios behind during Uvalde shooting

Texas School Shooting
Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

School district police chief Pete Arredondo says that he intentionally left his radios behind while responding to the Uvalde school shooting.

Arredondo told the Texas Tribune in a phone interview that he left the two radios outside of the school because he believed that they would slow him down and possibly allow the shooter to know his location.

According to the report, one of the radios was said to have had a broken belt clip, while the other had a long antenna that would have disrupted his running.  

Arredondo also told the publication that he wanted both hands free to hold his gun and that in his experience, the radios don’t work well for communicating inside schools.

Arredondo, who was the first on the scene, has been criticized for his response to the situation and for not leading his team and other police agencies during the incident. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety Director, Steve McCraw, identified Chief Arredondo as the incident commander because he was the first on the scene, a rule defined by the National Incident Management System, which “guides all levels of government.”  

McCraw also reported that Arredondo made the wrong decision to treat the gunman as a barricaded suspect instead of an active shooter.

Arredondo told the Tribune that he was unaware that he was the situation’s commander because he called for backup and assumed that another officer may have taken over as coordinator for the situation’s larger response.

He also admitted to the publication that because he left his radios outside, he did not have any real-time knowledge about the 911 phone calls or what was going on outside of the school. 

He’s been accused of wasting time, failing to coordinate the responses of the dozens of on-scene officers from at least five agencies, and deciding to wait out a situation with an active shooter.

After about an hour, the gunman was finally shot and killed. 

19 students and two adults were killed by the gunman. 

An investigation into the police response is still under investigation.