Confusion Surrounding Uvalde, Texas School Shooting Investigation

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Confusion Surrounding Uvalde, Texas School Shooting Investigation
Since the school shooting, law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details of the event.

The school district police chief who served as on-site commander during last week's deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, said Wednesday that he's talking daily with investigators, contradicting claims from state law enforcement that he has stopped cooperating.

In a brief interview, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo told CNN that he's speaking regularly with Texas Department of Public Safety investigators.

"I’ve been on the phone with them every day,” Arredondo said. 

Travis Considine, chief communications officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Tuesday that Arredondo had not responded to DPS requests for two days, while other officers in the Uvalde city and schools police departments continue to sit for interviews and provide statements.

The Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas, which represents police officers, has urged its members to cooperate with “all government investigations” into the shooting and police response, and endorsed a federal probe by the Justice Department.

The confusing and sometimes contradictory information released in the week since the deadly shooting continued Tuesday with the revelation that the exterior door used by the gunman was not left propped open by a teacher, as police previously said.

They have now determined that the teacher, who has not been identified, propped the door open with a rock, but then removed the rock and closed the door when she realized there was a shooter on campus, Considine said. But, Considine said, the door that was designed to lock when shut did not lock.

“We did verify she closed the door. The door did not lock. We know that much and now investigators are looking into why it did not lock,” Considine said.

Considine said the teacher initially propped the door open but ran back inside to get her phone and call 911 when the suspect crashed his truck on campus.

“She came back out while on her phone, she heard someone yell, ‘He has a gun!’, she saw him jump the fence and that he had a gun, so she ran back inside,” removing the rock when she did, Considine said.

Since the shooting, law enforcement and state officials have struggled to present an accurate timeline and details of the event and how police responded, sometimes providing conflicting information or withdrawing some statements hours later. State police have said some accounts were preliminary and may change as more witnesses are interviewed.

The chief has been the focus of ire in the community and beyond over allegations that he delayed sending officers into the school on May 24, believing that the gunman was barricaded inside adjoining classrooms and the children were no longer at risk.

Nineteen children and two teachers died in the attack at Robb Elementary School, the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade. Funerals began this week, and U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona attended Wednesday's services for teacher Irma Garcia, who was killed in the attack, and her husband, Joe Garcia, who died of a heart attack two days later.

The district announced Wednesday that students and staff would not return to that campus, though plans were still being finalized on where the less than 600 students would attend classes in the fall.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.