Newly elected Uvalde City Council member and embattled school police chief Pete Arredondo did not show up to the first school board meeting of his tenure, the Associated Press reported.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin claimed he did not know why Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, was not present at the brief meeting.
Arredondo was in charge of the response to the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Law enforcement and state officials have struggled to offer an exact timetable and specifics and have stopped releasing information about the police reaction, according to AP news.
At the meeting, McLaughlin expressed concern about the lack of information.
“We want facts and answers, just like everybody else,” the mayor said.
Arredondo, who was in command of the multi-agency operation on May 24, made the decision not to instruct cops to breach the class swiftly and face the gunman; allegedly he thought children were no longer in danger, according to Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The gunman, Salvador Ramos, spent around 80 minutes in Robb Elementary, based on an official timetable released by the Associated Press. Over an hour passed between the first police officers entering the school and the time of Ramos’ death.
Meanwhile, parents on the street pleaded with cops to intervene while children dialed 911 inside the school.
AP contacted Arredondo several times for an interview but did not receive a response.
Alfred Garza III, the father of slain 10-year-old Amerie Jo, told reporters after the city council briefing that he attended the meeting to learn more of what transpired that day.
“I have so many questions, and not every one can be answered. They’re still collecting data. They’re still collecting information on what happened,” Garza said.
He said he was curious if Arredondo would attend the meeting and that his sentiments regarding the police officer’s absence were “mixed.”
“He obviously didn’t show up for a reason,” Garza said, adding that he assumed Arredondo thought if he did appear, he would get a lot of questions.
Garza added he doesn’t hold “a lot of ill will” toward Arredondo, and he does not place the blame on just one person for that day, but he feels more could have been done.
“They did take a long time to get in there,” Garza said.
Disputes between state and local officials have arisen since the shooting regarding how police handled the shooting and communicated information to the public.
The Texas DPS is now forwarding queries about the shooting to Christina Mitchell Busbee, the Uvalde-area district attorney. She has also not replied to interview requests from the AP.
Police chief Pete Arredondo is a coward.