UVALDE, Texas — The Texas school police chief who responded to one of the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history says in his first extensive published comments that he didn't consider himself the incident commander as the massacre unfolded.
Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo told the Texas Tribune that he assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
An 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers behind a locked classroom door that the chief said was reinforced with a steel jamb and could not be kicked in.
Arrendondo told the Texas Tribune that he called for a set of keys to get into the classroom, as well as tactical gear and a sniper.
He reportedly tried dozens of keys before he could finally get into the classroom.
It had been 77 minutes since the massacre began when officers entered and shot the gunman.
The police chief defended his officers, saying none of them hesitated to “put themselves at risk to save the children.”
A teacher at Robb, Arnulfo Reyes, was hit by gunfire and witnessed eleven of his students die during the massacre.
He has publicly said he will not forgive law enforcement for taking so long to confront the gunman.