UVALDE, Texas — Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo says he's been in contact with Texas DPS "every day," which contradicts reports he hasn't responded to Texas Rangers.
Arredondo speaking exclusively to CNN said, "I am in contact with DPS every day," but did not elaborate on what he meant by "in contact."
The statement by Arredondo refutes reports by Texas DPS on Tuesday that Arredondo has ignored interview requests by the Texas Rangers following the Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary.
Texas DPS officials told Austin-American Statesman and KVUE reporter Tony Plohetski that Arredondo has not responded to the Texas Rangers in two days for a follow-up interview.
"The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde CISD Police have been cooperating with investigators," said Texas DPS. "The chief of the Uvalde CISD Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago."
On Monday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said a special meeting wouldn't be held to swear in new city council members on Tuesday. But he issued a statement Tuesday saying the new council members were sworn in. Arredondo was part of that group.
The response from Uvalde CISD police has been under heavy scrutiny for several days now after reportedly deciding that the group of responding officers should wait to confront the assailant at Robb Elementary.
This decision led to the gunman being inside the school for over an hour.
Prosecutors will have to decide whether Arredondo's decision and the officers' inaction constituted a tragic mistake or criminal negligence, according to experts. The delay in confronting the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was inside the school for more than an hour, could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.
Arredondo's decision — and the officers' apparent willingness to follow his directives against established active-shooter protocols — prompted questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, and who should be held responsible.
An official said audio recordings from the scene captured officers from other agencies telling Arredondo that the shooter was still active and that the priority was to stop him. But it wasn’t clear why the school chief reportedly didn't act on their warnings.
In an interview with KHOU 11 sister station KENS5, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he doesn't doubt DPS or the Texas Rangers' ability to handle an investigation, but he wants an outside set of eyes to review it all. He's asked the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct its own investigation.
"If there's holes, or we made a mistake, I want to be as transparent as we can," McLaughlin said.
“The bottom line would be: Why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there and to eliminate the killer and to rescue the children?” Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday about the decision.