Updated Jun 2, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas lawmaker: 911 calls during Uvalde shooting were not relayed to police commander

A memorial outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 31.

A memorial outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 31. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

The 911 calls made from inside Robb Elementary School on May 24 were not relayed to the incident commander, the Texas state senator who represents Uvalde, Texas, said on Thursday.

Why it matters: Students locked inside two connected classrooms with the gunman called 911 multiple times throughout the shooting while police were in a hallway outside of the classrooms.

One of the primary unknowns surrounding the shooting has been why Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde school district police department and the on-scene commander, did not order officers to breach the classrooms where the gunman was with students and teachers sooner.

  • When the first 911 call was made by a student inside one of the classrooms, there were at least 19 police officers inside the hallway, according to a timeline provided by Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, last week.

What they're saying: "I want to know specifically who was receiving the 911 calls," Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, said during a press conference on Thursday. "There was error at every level, including the legislative level."

  • Arredondo could not have been receiving the 911 calls at the time because Uvalde local police are the only 911 responders in the community, Gutierrez said, citing Texas' Commission on State Emergency Communications, which monitors all 911 agencies in the state.
  • "The state authority does not know who Uvalde police was communicating the 911 calls to. What we do know is that the 911 calls were not being communicated to the so-called 'incident commander,' officer Arredondo," Gutierrez said.
  • "They were being communicated to a Uvalde police officer, and the state agency I have spoken to has not told me who that is."
  • He called on authorities to clarify who was receiving the 911 calls at the time and for the state to release radio transmission records.
  • He stressed that he was not blaming one specific person or entity, saying, "Everyone's to blame for what went on."

The big picture: McCraw said last week that the commander considered the gunman to be a "barricaded subject" rather than an active shooter, despite several 911 calls from inside the classrooms.

  • The classrooms were breached by Border Patrol tactical agents and the suspect was killed more than 4o minutes after the first 911 call was placed.
  • It's unknown why a more experienced commander from a large law enforcement agency did not take over during the shooting.

Go deeper: The Uvalde shooting details that officials have retracted

Editor's note: This is a breaking news story and has been updated with additional information throughout.

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