After school shooting in Texas: finding the culprits

Status: 06/23/2022 06:54 a.m

A month after the massacre at a Texas school, local and state leaders are blaming each other. It is unclear why the police did not intervene earlier – and who failed.

By Reinhard Baumgarten, ARD Studio Washington

Nerves are on edge in Uvalde. More than four weeks after the massacre, there is still a great deal of uncertainty. “In my entire career as a politician, I’ve never seen the facts reverse 180 degrees from one week to the next,” said Republican Senator Paul Bettencourt. And he demands: “The public and the citizens of Texas deserve the facts.”

An army of investigators from state agencies tries to shed light on the events. But those responsible for Uvalde are being left in the dark, complained the visibly angry Mayor Don McLaughlin. “It pisses me off that I can’t get or give any answers.”

Not only the mayor is foaming. Many citizens want answers. There are numerous recordings from cameras, says Democratic MP Roland Gutierrez. In addition to the local police officers, 91 officers from the state security department were on duty. “They want to give us snippets of the local police’s body cameras, but they keep their own footage to themselves.”

“Evidence of miserable failure”

19 dead elementary school students and two dead teachers. How many lives could have been saved if action had been taken differently? Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) director Steven McCraw has made serious allegations. “There is compelling evidence that the security forces’ response to the primary school attack was a miserable failure.”

According to McCraw, while the children awaited rescue, the scene commander in charge waited for guns, radios, protective shields and a special team. “The only thing that kept a corridor of determined cops from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the officer in charge. He decided to put the cops’ lives ahead of the children’s lives.”

Police chief suspended from duty

The school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, was suspended from duty yesterday. McCraw’s allegations are directed against him. Arredondo told the Texas Tribune newspaper that he did not see himself as the responsible on-site commander.

Mayor McLaughlin denies the allegations against local police and has gone on the offensive. DPS boss McCraw, the Texas Tribune quotes him as saying, is spreading lies and spreading false information in order to distract attention from the failure of the federal security forces.

Clarification and consequences required

Adding to the sadness and horror of Uvalde is growing anger. People are demanding clarification and consequences. Berlinda Arreola lost a granddaughter in the massacre. Her anger is directed at Pete Arredondo. “He failed. We, our children, the teachers and all the children here deserve better. Please, please, we beg you: remove this man from our lives.”

After Arredondo’s suspension, tempers will hardly calm down. One month after the massacre, too many questions are still waiting for answers.

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