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Former Uvalde police chief slapped with 10 felony child endangerment charges
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Former Uvalde police chief slapped with 10 felony child endangerment charges

Pete Arredondo could face years in prison if found guilty of placing children in danger while tasked with protecting them.

The former school district police chief who oversaw the failed response to the May 24, 2022, elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, has been indicted on 10 counts of felony child endangerment.

An 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School and slaughtered 19 children and two teachers in adjoining classrooms 111 and 112. It was not until 77 minutes after police first arrived on the scene that U.S. Border Patrol neutralized the shooter. In the meantime, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department Chief Pete Arredondo ostensibly worked against an effective solution and wasted precious time down the hall.

The Department of Justice's 600-page January report on law enforcement's response to the shooting concluded that Arredondo, the de facto incident commander on the day of the incident, "had the necessary authority, training, and tools" but did not ultimately "provide appropriate leadership, command, and control, including not establishing an incident command structure nor directing entry into classrooms 111 and 112."

Extra to ordering officers not to enter the classrooms where the shooter was located, Arredondo dropped his radios at the time of arrival, treated the incident "as a barricaded subject scenario and not as an active shooter situation," and waited for SWAT to arrive.

The DOJ's report made clear that rather than "push forward immediately and continuously toward the threat until entry was made into classrooms 111/112 and the threat was eliminated," Arredondo and those with him retreated after the initial burst of gunfire.

The Texas House of Representatives' 2022 interim report similarly indicated that while in the position to act, Arredondo impotently "remained in the hallway where he lacked reliable communication with other elements of law enforcement, and he was unable to effectively implement staging or command and control of the situation."

The Ulvalde Leader-News reported that Arredondo's indictment this week accused him of "intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and with criminal negligence" placing 10 children in imminent danger of bodily injury or death by failing to identify the situation as an active shooter incident despite hearing gunshots in the classroom.

The indictment further indicated that upon learning children had been injured, Arredondo elected to direct officers to evacuate the wing before confronting the shooter; failed to ascertain whether the door to classroom 111 was even locked; and failed to "timely provide keys and breaching tools to enter classrooms 111 and 112," reported NBC News.

The DOJ's report had noted the likelihood that the door was unlocked.

Shortly after turning himself in to the Uvalde County Jail Thursday, Arredondo was released on bail.

The Uvalde Police Department noted that it had not been contacted by the district attorney's office regarding any of its staff and presently had no comment on the matter.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that a grand jury also indicted former UCISD officer Adrian Gonzales. Arredondo and Gonzales each face up to two years in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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