The school shooting at Uvalde in Texas was one of the most horrific domestic acts of violence we have ever seen. It still horrifies us, even months later. We are still horrified by the extent of the law enforcement failures that occurred that day.
The law enforcement officers on the scene didn’t have the proper training or, worse, they were not properly trained. This left children and teachers locked in their classrooms with the killer. It was a devastating event that saw the entire town turn upside down and bipartisan legislation was passed to prevent another similar incident in the future.
CNN obtained Pete Arredondo’s interview with the Texas Department of Public Safety. This gives us a glimpse at his reasoning that day and shows just how flawed and troubling his decisions that day.
“Once I realized that was going on, my first thought is that we need to vacate. We have him contained – and I know this is horrible and I know it’s [what] our training tells us to do but – we have him contained, there’s probably going to be some deceased in there, but we don’t need any more from out here,” Arredondo said.
He chose to treat the gunman like a subject in a barricaded situation and not face him, effectively leaving all of the teachers and students in Classrooms 112 and 111 dead. He did not follow the protocol and training for active shooters.
Arredondo stayed with this choice for more than an hour, even though he thought he heard a gunman reloading. After it was confirmed that children were trapped with the shooter, both alive and dead, Arredondo continued to hold the line.
It is obvious that his decision was against the training his unit received. This goes against what we know to be the correct response. While you can evacuate, you must also arrest or at least stop the shooter from causing more harm. The result was both tragic and frustrating because Arredondo opted against proper protocol.
According to DPS records, Arredondo was required to active shooter training at a minimum of three times. This includes in December just before the massacre. This specific course instructs officers to “isolate distract and neutralize” an attacker. Officers are reminded that first responders to active shooter scenes will often be asked to put themselves in harm’s path and show uncommon courage to save innocent victims.
Decision-making on May 24, 2022, was cowardly and ignorant. Arredondo’s words now that they are visible, confirm that.