On the heels of a Texas State Senate hearing Tuesday on the Uvalde school shooting, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick criticized the behavior of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, and also discussed what he called the “most alarming” testimony from the forum.
Arredondo’s actions on the day of the shooting were much of the focus during the hearing, as Fox News’ Martha MacCallum reported he didn’t bring his radio inside, nor did he have a master key for the classroom security doors, and that his claim about lacking ballistic shields had been debunked, among other allegations.
“I’m confused by his behavior because in [an earlier] briefing, there was no information from coming from that office,” Patrick said Tuesday on “The Story.”
“And then he refused to be interviewed. And then he said he was being interviewed. And then he did an interview with an online newspaper here, which is opposite of everything you heard today. Then he did a closed hearing today.”
“So far, he’s not shown to be very credible.”
Patrick said much of Arredondo’s past claims have been “debunked” by evolving evidence and video released in the time since the tragedy.
Of whether Arredondo should be punished, Patrick noted he is not a state police officer but instead employed by the school district, which means it’s their call.
“But, we are going to look at in this legislative process,” he said. “We’ll have another hearing tomorrow. It’s still going on probably until midnight tonight or longer. We’ll continue to look at this. We’ll get to the bottom of it so that these mistakes that these mistakes, these are preventable mistakes.”
Patrick said much of the postmortem investigation has shown weaknesses in school infrastructure, given allegations of an exterior door being propped open, then shut, but without automatically locking.
Col. Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), testified during the hearing, and Patrick said it was during that time that revelations showed the door in the classroom previously reported as requiring a skeleton key or specific key was not properly locking as well.
“I’ve been in touch with Colonel McCraw, and I wanted this evidence instead of leaking it out,” he said.
“We have to know the truth for the families and also so we can find the mistakes that were made to prevent them in the future — the biggest testimony today was that that door was not functioning in that classroom and was unlocked. And [police] could have gone in at any moment.”
Patrick told Fox News that McCraw testified to that extent, and that the allegation currently is that the door’s strike-plate malfunctioned, leaving it unlocked.
He added a teacher reportedly previously entered a work order for the strike-plate to be repaired, but not much is known of what transpired afterward.