UVALDE, Texas (AP) — The blame for an excruciating delay in killing the gunman at a Texas elementary school — even as parents outside begged police to rush in and panicked children called 911 from inside — has been placed with the school district’s homegrown police chief.
It’s left residents in small city of Uvalde struggling to reconcile what they know of the well-liked local lawman after the director of state police said that Pete Arredondo — as the commander at the scene — made the “wrong decision” last week not to breach a classroom at Robb Elementary School sooner.
Probe could shed light on police time lapse in Uvalde deaths
Since the Columbine High School massacre more than 20 years ago, police have been trained to quickly confront shooters in the horrific attacks that have followed. But officers in Uvalde, Texas, took more than an hour to kill a shooter who massacred 19 children, a lapse of time that will likely be a key part of a Justice Department probe that could last months.
The timeline of the police response is confounding for experts who say a quick response to active shooters is drilled into police. Others question why a school police chief was able to make the call to delay entry into the classroom.
Uvalde grieves, says goodbyes at visitations, funerals
It should have been the first day of a joyous week for Robb Elementary School students — the start of summer break. Instead on Monday, the first two of 19 children slain inside a classroom were being remembered at funeral visitations.
The gathering for 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza was at Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home in Uvalde, Texas, directly across from the grade school where the children, along with two teachers, were shot to death last week before the gunman himself was killed.
Visitation for another 10-year-old, Maite Rodriguez, was at another funeral home.
More visitations, funerals and burials will follow over the next two-and-a-half weeks, one after another, after another.