UVALDE, Texas (AP) — The superintendent of the Texas school district where 19 students and two teachers were fatally shot said Thursday that the district will hire more police officers in the fall but released no information about the investigation.
During a sometimes contentious news conference, Uvalde school district officials said they wouldn’t answer any questions about the investigation or personnel matters.
When Superintendent Hal Harrell was asked if he still trusts the school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, he said, “that’s personnel.”
Critics have suggested that Arredondo, who was in charge of the law enforcement response during the May 24 attack at Robb Elementary School, waited too long before agents entered the locked classroom where the gunman was holed up and killed him.
Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said Arredondo, who was in charge of the multi-agency response on May 24, made the “wrong decision” in not ordering officers to breach the classroom more quickly to confront the 18-year-old gunman.
Arredondo has not responded to repeated interview requests and questions from The Associated Press.
The gunman, Salvador Ramos, spent roughly 80 minutes inside the school, and more than an hour passed from when the first officers followed him into the building and when he was killed, according to an official timeline. In the meantime, parents outside begged police to rush in and panicked children called 911 from inside.
Law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details, and made frequent corrections to previous statements. No information about the police response has been released since the days that followed the attack.
There has also been tension between state and local authorities over how police handled the shooting and communicated what happened to the public.
At the news conference Thursday, Harrell announced plans for the campuses Robb students will attend in the fall. He said there are ongoing discussions about what will become of the site where Robb Elementary is located.
“We will not be going back to that campus in any form or fashion,” he said.