Wait, the Uvalde school police chief didn't know that kids were alive and calling 911?

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Does this mean Pete Arredondo is … innocent?

Or less guilty, maybe I should say?

The excuse that’s been given for why cops didn’t barge into the classroom where the shooter was holed up was that he had stopped shooting at some point. When the shooting is ongoing, the police are trained to confront the gunman. But once the shooting ceases, they typically shift to trying to negotiate with the shooter to surrender. The flaw in that approach in the case of Uvalde is that children were still alive inside the classroom with the gunman and were calling 911, begging the police to enter and rescue them before he killed them too. They ended up waiting 78 interminable minutes as Arredondo, the commander on the scene, dithered. Why?


According to one state senator, Arredondo didn’t know some kids were still alive. No one told him about the 911 calls.

[Roland] Gutierrez said it’s unclear if any details from the 911 calls was being shared with law enforcement officers from multiple agencies on the scene.

“Uvalde PD was the one receiving the 911 calls for 45 minutes while officers were sitting in a hallway, while 19 officers were sitting in a hallway for 45 minutes” Gutierrez said. “We don’t know if it was being communicated to those people or not.”

But, the senator said, the Commission on State Emergency Communications told him school district police chief did not know.

“He’s the incident commander. He did not receive (the) 911 calls,” Gutierrez said.

*Someone* at the scene knew that kids trapped inside were calling 911. Two days ago ABC obtained video that “appears to capture a 911 dispatcher alerting officers on scene that they were receiving calls from children who were alive inside the classroom that the gunman had entered — as law enforcement continued to wait nearly an hour and a half to enter the room.” Who were those officers? Didn’t they share the information with Arredondo?

If not, it wouldn’t be the first time different Texas law enforcement agencies had gotten their signals crossed during a mass shooting, the AP notes. Three years ago, the shooter in Odessa, Texas called 911 before and after the shooting but because different agencies were operating on different radio frequencies that fact wasn’t communicated in a timely way.


Still, I wonder if Gutierrez is being slippery. He acknowledged today that the 911 calls were being relayed to an officer of the Uvalde PD at the scene although he didn’t know the officer’s name. What he seems to be saying with respect to Arredondo is that he wasn’t privy to the *initial radio communications* about the 911 calls, which are routed to the Uvalde PD rather than the school district PD which Arredondo heads. But that doesn’t answer the question of whether Arredondo was ever told at the scene by the Uvalde PD that kids were still alive inside.

He probably was, right? They had plenty of time to tell him. By ABC’s reckoning, Uvalde PD officers outside the school were hearing about the 911 calls shortly after 12:16 p.m. The cops didn’t confront the shooter until a little before 1 p.m. No one told Arredondo about the calls in that 30-40 minutes?

There’s another problem with the argument that cops had to hold back in order to negotiate with the gunman. They couldn’t get the lunatic on the phone. There never was any negotiation.

In an interview with The Washington Post, [Mayor Don] McLaughlin (R) said he rushed to Hillcrest Funeral Home about 15 minutes after “the first call” reporting that 18-year-old Salvador Ramos had crashed his pickup truck nearby. He found himself standing near an official he identified only as “the negotiator,” while frightened parents gathered outside the school and police waited well over an hour to storm the classroom.

“His main goal was to try to get this person on the phone,” McLaughlin said in the interview, which was also conducted by Telemundo San Antonio. “They tried every number they could find,” but the gunman did not pick up the phone.


Notably, McLaughlin claims that neither he nor the negotiator heard about the 911 calls either. Even if that’s true, they had every reason to know that some children were in the room with the shooter and had already been shot. I’m keen to know how much time they blocked off to try to hunt down a phone number for the gunman and make contact while those kids were bleeding out.

You wouldn’t want Uvalde law enforcement as your last chance for rescue if your life was on the line. But if a reporter is nearby and making you feel anxious about having to answer awkward questions, they’re johnny-on-the-spot:

I’ll leave you with this Texas Tribune story about Greg Abbott’s new plan to probe security weaknesses in Texas schools — having officials conduct “in-person, unannounced, random intruder detection audits on school districts,” which sounds a lot like having them try to break in. That sounds, uh, potentially dangerous. Especially with gun-rights activists encouraging teachers to arm up and be ready for anything.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Videos