Texas

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez calls Uvalde CISD police chief ‘scapegoat’; blasts Gov. Abbott, DPS for systemic failures

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez says he thinks Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo is simply a scapegoat for systemic mistakes that led to the mass school shooting that left 21 dead.

“Pete Arredondo was put in there as a scapegoat, certainly, for a tremendous amount of failure that happened at every possible level,” Gutierrez said in an interview with CNN on July 4.

Gutierrez said Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw was quick to point the finger at Arredondo when there were more troopers than county police officers at the scene.

“I don’t know Peter Arredondo. You don’t need to know him; I don’t want to know him,” Gutierrez said. “But at the end of the day, we had so many DPS officers on scene — 12 of the 19 that were in that hallway, twelve were DPS officers. What are the system gaps?’

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Gutierrez said he’s glad Arredondo resigned from his seat on the city council, saying it’s what his constituents want to see happen.

“I think this will at least begin that part of the healing process for this gentleman. But I think we also have to (not) forget that the responsibility is not his alone,” he said.

Gutierrez said there needs to be transparency in the investigation because he doesn’t believe the blame for the failed response to the May 24 shooting rests solely on Arredondo.

“It has to do with Operation Lonestar, the 91 soldiers that were on the ground and the eight other agencies that were in that corridor,” he said.

Gutierrez called it possibly the worst mass shooting, not in terms of the number of people killed, but because of the response of law enforcement.

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“It’s probably the longest you have to wait for law enforcement to come in,” he said. “We don’t know how many children are likely to have leaked, but system errors and human error here abound.”

Gutierrez is suing DPS for access to records related to the massacre at Robb Elementary School, saying he wants to see the facts for himself because he wouldn’t trust another “sweetened presentation” from DPS.

“If it’s anything like the DPS performance in the Senate, I can’t believe I would trust that finding,” Gutierrez said.

The state senator said he believes Gov. Greg Abbott shared inaccurate information during his initial press conference because he had a narrative he wanted to present.

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“And that story was that hero’s story and how the Texas Department of Public Safety (and) his own Operation Lone Task Force came in and saved the day.” That didn’t happen,” Gutierrez told CNN. “His own task force was part of the systemic failures that occurred and the failures of management.

“We haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the levels of accountability that we need to have here. And it starts at the very top in Texas. People must continue to want and demand change and demand accountability,” he said.

Gutierrez also had harsh criticism of Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busby for her lack of transparency.

“And she, the district attorney, was the first one to come out and yell ‘stop’ to everybody and tell people that they were ordered not to communicate,” Gutierrez said. “She keeps telling the mayor she can’t talk to the media. She goes on to tell city officials that if they talk to the media, they will be committing a crime and could potentially be charged. This is just a travesty to me. And if we don’t have transparency in governance, then we don’t have democracy.

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State Sen. Roland Gutierrez calls Uvalde CISD police chief ‘scapegoat’; blasts Gov. Abbott, DPS for systemic failures

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