Uvalde School Shooting:

What Really Happened?

By Carolina London
Published: June 15th, 2022 11:45PM PST


2Image From Investigating the Uvalde School Shooting

Uvalde County in Texas (Source: Creative Commons)

On May 24, 2022 19 children and 2 teachers lost their lives at the hands of an 18-year-old murderer. The timeline and details about this shooting have changed among public demands for information about how the authorities responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School located in Uvalde, Texas. However, the big questions still remain. What happened in Uvalde, Texas? Why did the police believe the murderer was no longer an active shooter even though children continued to make 911 calls for help? Why did the police not move into the school immediately?
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Elementary Aged Children Eating Lunch (Source: Creative Commons)

What happened in Uvalde, Texas? It is now well known that 21 people, including 19 children lost their lives as a result of an 18- year-old mass murderer. The murderer went to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on the morning of May 24, 2022, and began his brutal and horrific attack. While the timeline of details is important they are unfortunately mostly unknown to the public. However, the details about the murderer are just as important including his status as a member of the Uvalde community and the state of his mental health. Why? Because his status in the community can tell us more about how the environment affected him and resulted in the development of a murderer. This information will also shed light on how the environment may have cultivated an inclination for criminality. For the murderer’s community includes his family, teachers, school staff, classmates, doctors, coworkers, neighbors, and anyone else from Uvalde who interacted with the murderer regularly. Mental health is also important. In fact, during a 2009 Ted Talk, Dr. James H. Fallon, a neuroscientist, and professor at the The University of California Irvine emphasized the importance of analyzing the brains of psychopathic killers “...on the basis of genetics, and brain damage, and interaction with the environment, and exactly how that machine works”. The murderer at Robb Elementary needs to be investigated with the same thoroughness so the public can get a broader picture of what exactly led an 18-year- old man to become a killer. In fact, according to a report by The Washington Post, the murderer often had the police called to his home.
3Image From Investigating the Uvalde School Shooting

A US Customs and Border Protection Agent (Source: Creative Commons)

Now we ask the tougher questions. The questions all of us have been asking ourselves for the last three weeks. Why did the police believe the murderer was no longer an active shooter even though children continued to make 911 calls for help? Why did the police not move into the school immediately? According to Steve McGraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the incident commander believed that the situation had changed from an active shooter situation, where there are still lives that need to be saved, to a barricade situation, where a shooter is in a room with no one left alive to save. The incident commander on May 24, 2022, was Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo. Robb Elementary as well as the other schools located in the Uvalde School District are protected by their own police department, the UCISD Police Department which operates solely to protect the schools. Arredondo is the Police Chief of the UCISD Police Department. Now, according to a report published on June 9, 2022, by the New York Times, Arredondo did not have a radio when he arrived at Robb Elementary school and immediately called on officers to “fall back” while 911 calls were still being made from inside the classroom 40 minutes after the murderer had started killing. The Times report also reveals that bystanders at the scene stated that it was total chaos with no one person seeming to be in charge of law enforcement. From this Times report, it is now clear that there was no barricade situation and there was a total breakdown of communication. However, it seems this Times report is not completely accurate. During a phone interview between Arredondo and the Texas Tribune, the details of what happened in Uvalde get even more confusing. The Texas Tribune states that Arredondo believed that some other officers had taken command of the situation. During the interview, Arredondo stated that “I didn’t issue any orders”. These reports show us how chaotic and unprepared the UCISD Police Department was during the school shooting at Robb Elementary. Police Chief Arredondo wasn’t aware he was in charge and clearly other law enforcement didn’t take command either. Arredondo didn’t issue any orders which it seems safe to assume that this held officers back from engaging with the shooter as they waited for orders from their command. See, here is the problem. No one knew who was in command, Arredondo had no radio, and officers didn’t immediately engage the shooter. The local law enforcement and neither the UCISD Police Department were prepared to deal with a school shooter. Now another report from the Texas Tribune gives an updated timeline of events that reveals that students were calling 911 throughout the whole incident while police waited for orders outside. According to Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, it was a Border Patrol tactical team that ultimately breached the room against the incident commander’s orders and killed the murderer. This is where it gets confusing. Several initial reports stated that Arredondo called on officers to “fall back”. However, Arredondo stated that he didn’t have his radio on him when he arrived at the school. Details about the location of the radios are hard to find. We do know he should have had two radios on him, one for the school district police and the other for the local police. So if he didn’t have his radios on him, how could he have given any orders? Why was this reported to begin with? Also, according to Arredondo’s interview with the Texas Tribune, he assumed someone else was in command. Why would he believe this? So many questions, why did Steve McGraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, announce that law enforcement believed it was a barricade situation when it was clearly not? It was never a barricade situation and was proven to be an active shooter situation as children continued to call 911 and shots could be heard from outside the school. These initial reports from state officials were made to the public as excuses meant to justify the lack of preparation and action from law enforcement that resulted in so much unnecessary loss of life. It seems there were even outright lies told to the public. Arredondo never had a radio, so why did they claim he called on officers to “fall back”? Who was supposed to be in command? Why weren’t they in command? Why didn’t the officers engage immediately? Why was the public given a timeline of events without state officials checking for the facts? It is now clear that there was little to no communication among the officers as Arredondo had no radio and no one knew who was in command. Law enforcement did respond immediately but with no one in command little was done to save more lives sooner. Even more shocking is that the Texas Department of Public Safety does not want to release body camera footage for fear that future school shooters will find weaknesses, as reported by MSN. That’s the definition of irony considering that the murderer was able to kill 21 people at Robb Elementary with the current command and protocols. There is no weakness left to find, the whole response was weak. It should come as no surprise that the U.S. Department of Justice is opening an investigation on the matter.
My investigation into the events at Robb Elementary also revealed an article about active school shooters that was published on September 1, 2010 on the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin which states “School policy and related police response protocols must be adaptable” and “While a limited plan is better than no plan at all, neither schools nor police should confine themselves to a ‘one size fits all’ planning protocol”.