Uvalde School District Chief of Police Police Chief Pete Arredondo is trying to spin his pathetic, incompetent reponse to the active shooter who invaded an Uvalde elementary school and methodically murdered children and teachers. Here is his explanation:
Only a locked classroom door stood between Pete Arredondo and a chance to bring down the gunman. It was sturdily built with a steel jamb, impossible to kick in.
He wanted a key. One goddamn key and he could get through that door to the kids and the teachers. The killer was armed with an AR-15. Arredondo thought he could shoot the gunman himself or at least draw fire while another officer shot back. Without body armor, he assumed he might die.
“The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible,” Arredondo said.
The chief of police for the Uvalde school district spent more than an hour in the hallway of Robb Elementary School. He called for tactical gear, a sniper and keys to get inside, holding back from the doors for 40 minutes to avoid provoking sprays of gunfire. When keys arrived, he tried dozens of them, but one by one they failed to work.
I am not Monday morning quarterbacking. In my previous life I supervised the U.S. State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Training Program. The courses offered included training foreign police SWAT teams. In 1992 I traveled to Quito, Ecuador with the head of Miami’s SWAT team, Bill O’Brien (Bill later became Chief of Police for Miami, Florida) to conduct an evaluation of Ecuador’s SWAT team (Grupo de Intervencion y Rescate). I learned a lot from Bill. (I also learned to not go jogging with him in Quito, which sits at 9,350 feet above sea level. He almost killed me, but I survived the run.)
Why did Pete Arredondo not grab a shotgun loaded with slugs to breach the door? I find it hard to believe that none of the police on scene or nearby did not have a shotgun. Here is what American Cop has to say about the utility of a shotgun as a breaching tool:
When it is properly employed, a shotgun can provide teams with safer and faster door breaching than other methods of breaching. It is not limited to just doors. Shotgun breach can also be employed to breach iron-barred windows, and take out sliding glass doors and defeat padlocks.
Utilizing a shotgun for breaching offers tactical teams several advantages. It is quicker than manual breaching, jamb spreading or ramming and is safer and requires less training than thermal and explosive entry.
Uvalde’s School District Chief of Police has more questions to answer. The failure of the Chief and his officers to act creatively to deal with the unexpected may be a lack of training and finance. But they were not the only ones on scene. Uvalde also had a Chief of Police for the city. Where the hell was he? Surely he had some resources to bring to bear on the crisis. The goal of this investigation should not be trying to find a scapegoat. The goal should be identifying the failures in decision making and tactics that could have changed the outcome and saved more lives.