Former Uvalde Police Chief Indicted Over School Shooting Response

The former chief of the Uvalde School District police and one other officer have been indicted in connection with the 2022 attack in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Two teachers and 19 children were killed in the attack, in which 77 minutes passed between the initial police response and the armed response that killed the gunman.

Former Uvalde school district police officer Adrian Gonzales was charged with 29 counts of abandoning and endangering a child on Friday. Former Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo was charged with 10 counts of child endangerment on Thursday, according to KXAN-TV.

Each man posted a $10,000 bond before being released.

The grand jury that issued the indictments was convened in January by Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee. The indictments are the first charges against law enforcement personnel in connection with the incident.

The allegations claim Gonzales could have stopped the gunman before he entered the school. The charges against Arredondo say his response to the shooting cost lives.

“After hearing gunshots and after being advised of the general location of the shooter and having time to respond to the shooter, the said Adrian Gonzales failed to engage. distract or delay the shooter and failed to attempt to engage, distract, and delay the shooter and failed to otherwise act in a way to impede the shooter until after the shooter entered rooms 111 and 112 of Robb Elementary School and shot at a child or children in Rooms 111 and 112,” the indictment states.

Arredondo is charged with failing to act to protect survivors of the attack, according to the Austin American-Statesmen.

The outlet reports that Arredondo “failed to respond as trained to an active shooter incident … thereby delaying the response by law enforcement officers to an active shooter who was hunting and shooting a child or children in Room 112 at Robb Elementary School,” the indictment said.

Through his attorney, Arredondo has said in the past that he was unaware he was the designated incident commander that day.

Nico LaHood, the attorney defending Gonzales, issued a statement on the indictment, according to NBC.

“Mr. Gonzales’ position is he did not violate school district policy or state law,” the statement said.

The statement continued: “The application of this statute, to law enforcement, under these circumstances is unprecedented in the state of Texas. It will take time to evaluate these allegations and the underlying facts.”

Jesse Rizo, whose niece, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, said he wants the Gonzales and Arredando  prosecuted, according to the Texas Tribune.

“I’m really hoping this is just the beginning of indictments that may be coming down,” Rizo said. “There are a lot of officers that need to be held accountable.”

Activist Lalo Castillo said others who failed to immediately storm the classroom where children were held should face charges.

“Especially the state troopers because they were the first ones there,” Castillo said, citing Texas Department of Public Safety officers.

In January, the Justice Department ruled that leadership failures caused delays in the response, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.