Former Uvalde school police chief, officer indicted over mass shooting response

Pete Arredondo, the former police chief for schools in Uvalde, Texas, was indicted this week over his response to the 2022 mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

The indictment argues Arredondo failed to identify an active shooting, did not follow his training, and made decisions that slowed law enforcement’s response to stop the gunman at Robb Elementary School, The Associated Press reported.

Arredondo was arrested and booked in the Uvalde County Jail Thursday on 10 state jail felony counts of abandoning or endangering a child. He was released Thursday evening.

Adrian Gonzales, a former school officer, was also indicted on similar charges, according to a sealed indictment reported by the Uvalde Leader-News.

Arredondo and Gonzales are the first officers to be criminally charged for one of the country’s deadliest school shootings.

Arredondo’s indictment accuses him of delaying police response to the shooting despite hearing shots being fired inside the school and being notified that students and a teacher were injured. He called for the SWAT team to arrive and ordered the initial responding officers to leave the building. Arredondo attempted to negotiate with the shooter, the AP reported.

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice released a scathing report that found there was a lack of preparation, communication and urgency, resulting in almost 400 members of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies standing outside the school for 77 minutes while the gunman was inside.

Students inside the classroom called 911, and parents begged officers to go in. A team of officers eventually went in and killed the 18-year-old shooter.

In Arredondo’s indictment, he is charged with failing to protect survivors of the attack, including one girl who called police and told them, “Please hurry,” the AP reported.

If he is convicted, the charges carry up to two years in jail.

Three months after the shooting, Arredondo lost his job. At least four other members of law enforcement have lost their jobs as well.

The Associated Press contributed.

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