Former Uvalde Police Chief Faces Indictment Over School Shooting Response

Written by Michael Thompson.

The former Uvalde schools police chief has been indicted for his role in the sluggish police response to the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two teachers. Uvalde Sheriff Ruben Nolasco confirmed Thursday that Pete Arredondo was indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of felony child endangerment/abandonment. Arredondo was briefly booked into the county jail before being released on bond.

The Uvalde Leader-News and the San Antonio Express-News also reported that former school officer Adrian Gonzales faced multiple similar charges. District Attorney Christina Mitchell confirmed the indictments but did not return calls for further comments. The indictments were kept under seal until both men were in custody, leaving the timing of Arredondo’s indictment release unclear.

In May 2022, an 18-year-old gunman terrorized a fourth-grade classroom for over 70 minutes before officers intervened. A staggering 376 law enforcement officers gathered at Robb Elementary School, many waiting in the hallway outside the classroom while the gunman continued firing his AR-15-style rifle. Texas Governor Greg Abbott expressed his shock at the footage showing Uvalde police officers failing to act, stating that the victims’ families “deserve to know what happened.”

Fallout from the Indictments: Public and Political Repercussions

Arredondo, who served as the on-site commander during the attack, lost his job three months after the shooting. Several officers involved were also terminated. Separate investigations by the Department of Justice and state lawmakers criticized the law enforcement response as mishandled. The question of whether any officers would face criminal charges lingered over Uvalde since the Texas Rangers completed their investigation.

The Uvalde District Attorney’s office has faced scrutiny for a perceived lack of transparency. Uvalde city officials filed a lawsuit in 2022, accusing prosecutors of withholding records related to the shooting. Media outlets, including the Associated Press, have also sued for access to public records.

Detailed reports and body camera footage have revealed that officers, heavily armed, hesitated to enter the classroom where the massacre was ongoing. Hundreds of officers from various agencies, including state police, Uvalde police, school officers, and U.S. Border Patrol agents, were present at the scene.

Community Reaction and Ongoing Legal Battles

Texas lawmakers, in their July 2022 report, criticized law enforcement at every level for failing “to prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety.” The Justice Department’s January report highlighted “cascading failures” by police, including delays in confronting the gunman, poor command post establishment, and misinformation communicated to grieving families.

Uvalde remains divided. Some residents wish to move past the tragedy, while others demand accountability. In the first mayoral race since the shooting, voters elected a former mayor over a candidate advocating for Second Amendment restrictions. Additionally, Uvalde County residents overwhelmingly supported Republican candidates in the elections following the shooting.

Robb Elementary School has been permanently closed, and a new school began construction in October 2023, symbolizing a step towards healing for the community.

Our Take

The indictment of the former Uvalde police chief and officer is a critical step in seeking accountability for the tragic failures during the Robb Elementary School shooting. The police’s hesitation and lack of urgency were inexcusable, leading to unnecessary loss of young lives. This incident highlights the urgent need for law enforcement reform and proper training to handle active shooter situations effectively. The public deserves transparency and assurance that such failures will not be repeated. As a community, we must demand higher standards from those sworn to protect us and ensure that justice is served for the victims and their families.

Trending Stories:

Our Sponsors: