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The Uvalde Nightmare Response Continues

A textbook case for what not to do.

The Uvalde school mass shooting in Texas continues to evolve with new revelations drip, drip, dripping out as the weeks go by.

The latest I’ve picked up include:

  • Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo did not take his radio(s) into the school; he was only working with his cellphone — it was reported that he said he did this on purpose.
  • Chief Arredondo did not consider himself as being the “incident commander” while being inside the school as the police chief for his school district. Really!
  • It was reported that he was waiting for “long guns” and shields to be on scene before entering. Photos show those both present in the school hallway early in the response.
  • The delay in entering was due to seeking a key to unlock the school door. It was demonstrated on June 21 that the door could not be locked from the inside.

Basically, if it could go wrong, it did go wrong. I’ve often said that everything rises and falls on good or bad leadership. In this case we have the latter.

How all of the above could happen 20 years after Columbine is beyond me.

The investigation is so tainted now it will take a federal justice probe to really determine what happened and why. Sworn statements are needed!

Everyone everywhere needs to sit down now and go through procedures one more time for how to respond to a mass shooting. Refresher training is evidently needed, and you can’t make assumptions that people know what to do.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.