A Texas senator stated Friday that the state agency that investigated the mass shooting at Uvalde's elementary school has found that the commander under fire for his slow response to police calls was not carrying a radio during the event.
In a short telephone interview, Sen. Roland Gutierrez stated to The Associated Press that a Texas Department of Public Safety official informed him that Chief Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief of Pete Arredondo's Texas Department of Public Safety, was without a radio when a gunman attacked Robb Elementary School on May 24, killing 19 students and two teachers. Another 17 people were also injured.
Authorities are not able to say how Arredondo communicated with other law enforcement officers at the scene. This includes the more than a dozen officers who waited outside the classroom where Arredondo was hiding out. Arredondo is the head of the small district department and was responsible for the multi-agency response.
Since Friday's attack, he has not replied to multiple interview requests by AP.
The missing radio is just one of many concerns raised by the police regarding the shooting. It's unclear why the officers didn't confront him faster and the parents who were outside the school exhorted them to get inside. The Justice Department said that it would review the law enforcement response.
After Steven McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety's head, stated that Arredondo believed that the active shooting had become a hostage situation and that he made the wrong decision to not allow officers to enter the classroom faster to confront the gunman, the focus has shifted to the chief.
Gutierrez, Uvalde's representative, said Thursday that Arredondo wasn't informed about panicked 911 calls from students trapped in a classroom where he had hidden. It was a "system failure," said the Democrat.
Experts say that police radios can be a vital source of emergency communication. They also relay information from 911 calls to the ground officers. It is not clear who was on the scene and what information they had. The Uvalde police didn't respond to questions regarding the calls on Thursday.