Uvalde school police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo told investigators he was more concerned about saving students in other classrooms than trying to stop a gunman who had already shot children and teachers.
An interview with investigators the day after the May 2022 massacre at Robb Elementary shows Arredondo talking bluntly about his recollection of events. CNN obtained a video recording of the previously unreported interview, where some of Arredondo’s answers conflict with his limited public statements.
It was the only meeting about his role that he had with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). He stopped cooperating with the DPS inquiry after its director labeled him as incident commander and blamed him for decisions that left dead, dying and traumatized children with a gunman for over an hour while officers waited in the hallway outside.
The critical moment in his decision making, Arredondo said, was when he saw children in other classrooms.
“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.
His decision to treat the gunman as a barricaded subject and not confront him effectively left all the students and teachers in Classrooms 111 and 112 for dead. It was one of many times he did not follow the training and protocol for an active shooter.
Arredondo stuck with that choice for over an hour, even when he thought he heard the gunman reloading and after it was confirmed children were trapped – injured and alive as well as dead – with the shooter.
CNN tried to reach Arredondo for this story. His attorney George Hyde said he was not authorized to respond to media requests. “I have informed him of your request and it will be up to him from there,” Hyde wrote in an email.
Arredondo has not contacted CNN. A previous phone number for him has been disconnected.
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