While a Texas House committee investigating the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde heard testimony from a number of law enforcement witnesses Monday, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) was apparently not one of them.
According to the Washington Examiner, UCISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo did not plan to be present at the hearing.
Arredondo has come under scrutiny for his department’s response to last month’s mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.
In an interview with the Texas Tribune earlier this month, Arredondo defended his department’s response.
“We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced,” Arredondo said. “Our objective was to save as many lives as we could and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”
The Examiner reports that UCISD Officer Adrian Gonzalez, Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez, Uvalde Police Sgt. Daniel Coronado, and Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Joshua Bordovsky are scheduled to appear as witnesses.
Lawmakers criticized the Uvalde Police Department last week for not cooperating with the ongoing investigation and the department has since reversed course and is now cooperating with the committee.
On Friday, GOP state Rep. Dustin Burrows of Lubbock, who is chairing the special committee, said the city and police department in Uvalde would cooperate with the probe.
“We had several conversations today with the city of Uvalde, the city of Uvalde Police Department,” Burrows said. “We are going to actually have witnesses testifying to us from their department. They have agreed to that.”
Witnesses from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Robb Elementary School Principal Mandy Gutierrez have testified in previous hearings, according to the Examiner.
Monday’s hearing was the fourth of the state House committee investigating the school shooting. It began at 10 a.m. local time in Uvalde and was not open to the public.
According to a notice by the committee, the hearing is taking place during the observed state and federal Juneteenth holiday because of the urgency of the matter.
“The committee felt it was important to continue with its hearings on this day to hear fresh recollections of witness testimony and work expeditiously to provide needed answers to what happened,” the notice stated.
The next hearing is slated for Tuesday morning at the state Capitol.