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Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted in Wrongful Response to Shootings

Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted in Wrongful Response to Shootings

Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted in Wrongful Response to Shootings

The former Uvalde, Texas school police chief has been indicted in connection with the botched response to the 2022 shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary.

Uvalde County Jail officials confirmed that Pedro “Pete” Arredondo was booked into the facility on 10 felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child shortly before 5 p.m. local time Thursday.

Local media reported that a former officer, Adrian Gonzales, was also indicted. The allegations were first reported by the San Antonio Express-News. District Attorney Christina Mitchell did not return requests for comment.

The attack was one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. Texas leaders initially praised the law enforcement response, but later acknowledged that officers waited 77 minutes to confront the 18-year-old man, sparking outrage.

In January, the US Department of Justice issued a scathing 575-page report criticizing local police commanders and state law enforcement for not immediately entering the classroom and killing the gunman . Attorney General Merrick Garland said “lives would have been saved” if officers had responded quickly.

Police officers arrived at the school but quickly retreated in the face of gunfire, deciding to treat a gunman as a barricaded suspect and wait for backup. During that time, officers spent about 40 minutes looking for a key to a classroom space that, federal evaluators concluded, was likely unlocked the entire time.

From the beginning, much of the blame was focused on Arredondo, who at the time headed the Uvalde school system’s police force. The former chief repeatedly told officers trying to enter the classroom to stop, the review found, because he believed there were other victims in nearby classrooms who needed to be removed first.

Arredondo defended his response, saying he didn’t think he was in charge. But the Justice Department’s review concluded that Arredondo was the “de facto on-scene commander” and fell short.

The poorly organized response also hampered attempts by emergency medical personnel to quickly treat victims. Delays in medical response were highlighted in a 2022 Washington Post investigation with the Texas Tribune and ProPublica.

A Post investigation found that the general delay in law enforcement was caused by the inaction of a series of senior and law enforcement oversight officers, some of whom remain on the job and knew firsthand that a shooting had occurred in the classrooms, but were unable to quickly stop the gunman.