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The Uvalde school police chief who authorities say made the “wrong decision” not to immediately confront the shooter in last week’s tragedy had undergone an active shooter training course as recently as December, according to reports.
Pete Arredondo, who became the chief of police for the Uvalde school district in March 2020, was the incident commander during the massacre and thought “that there was no more threat to the children and that the subject was barricaded and that they had time to organize,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said Friday.
The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, killed 21 people and was barricaded in a classroom for about an hour before a Border Patrol team breached the door and shot him.
Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo, third from left, stands during a news conference outside of the Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas Thursday, May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)
Arredondo took the “Active Shooter Training Mandate” course in December 2021 and August 2020, according to records obtained by NBC News.
The course, which is available online at Texas State University’s Texas School Safety Center, says that “first responders to the active shooter scene will usually be required to place themselves in harm’s way and display uncommon acts of courage to save the innocent.”
“Immediate, decisive action by school-based officers can have a dramatic impact on reducing casualties,” the course material reads.
“In the event of an active school attack, school-based law enforcement officers should do the best they can to fill the gap until other first responders can arrive. That will probably mean adopting a solo response to the threat.”
Children run to safety after escaping from a window during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where a gunman killed nineteen children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 24, 2022. (Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News/Handout via REUTERS)
Arredondo has not responded to multiple phone calls and text messages in recent days.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, who is leading the investigation, said Tuesday that Arredondo is not responding their interview requests.
“The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde CISD Police have been cooperating with investigators,” DPS said Tuesday. “The chief of the Uvalde CISD Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a followup interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago.”
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department also recently went through their own active shooter training in March at Uvalde High School.
The course guide states that “the student will be able to compare/contrast an active shooter event and a hostage or barricade crisis.”
“A simple barricade crisis develops when an armed actor(s) isolates themselves with little or no ability to harm innocent others. Barricaded subjects pose the greatest threat when attempts are made to enter the space and subdue them,” the course guide reads.