CNN Exclusive: Uvalde School Police Chief told investigators why he didn’t try to stop gunman

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 12:17 PM CST
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UVALDE, TX (CNN) - CNN has obtained new video of an interview that the former Police Chief of the Uvalde School District, Pete Arredondo, gave to investigators when he was questioned by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Texas Rangers.

It was recorded the morning after a gunman had murdered 21 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School.

“I know it was probably victims in there. And with the shots I heard, I know it was probably somebody that’s gonna be deceased,” said Arredondo.

Former Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo heard for the first time, the day after the May 24 shooting, attempting to explain his actions.

In new video obtained by CNN, Arredondo told investigators he assumed students in the room with the shooter were already dead, so he chose to clear students from surrounding classrooms.

We now know he was wrong, at least three victims were pulled out of the room alive who later died from their injuries.

“My first thought is that we need to, we need to vacate,” said Arredondo. “We have him contained, and I know this is horrible, I know is what our training tells us to do, but we have him contained. There’s probably gonna be some deceased in there, but we don’t need anymore from out here. So I called out and I said, ‘get these kids out,’ whatever I told ‘em, “Bust those windows, get ‘em out.”

In the footage Arredondo explains he kept trying to talk to the shooter and for the first time we learn that he heard the gunman, alone in a room full of children reloading his weapon.

He took no action that stopped the gunman.

Now considered one of the worst law enforcement failures in recent memory, Arredondo knew that criticism would come.

Days later, Arredondo would be labeled the “Incident commander” by the Texas State Police, they say he was the officer in charge, and the man to blame for the deadly delay.

Arredondo, who presided over a six-person police force before he was terminated in August, declined to comment for the story.

Through his lawyer, he has previously denied that he was ever in charge, and said he never issued any orders but in the footage obtained by CNN, Arredondo can be seen and heard repeatedly directing the officers around him not to enter the room with the gunman.

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