Uvalde school police chief was not 'privy' to 911 calls from students

Desperate 911 calls from children inside Robb Elementary reportedly never got to the Uvalde school police chief on the scene or the mayor and ‘negotiator’ who were trying to speak to the gunman

  • State Sen. Roland Gutierrez says school police chief Pete Arredondo was not aware of the 911 calls students were making during the Uvalde school shooting
  • He revealed Thursday that although Arredondo was the ‘incident commander’ he was not privy to the calls, which were received by local Uvalde police
  • Gutierrez attributes his revelation to the Commission on State Emergency Communication which specifically told him Arredondo did not receive the calls
  • Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin disclosed on Wednesday that a negotiator had tried to make contact with gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, during the massacre
  • However, the negotiator was unable to get the teenage shooter on the phone
  • McLaughlin claims neither he nor the negotiator were aware of the students calling 911, saying: ‘Had I been aware of it, I would have been screaming’
  • The May 24 shooting left 19 fourth grade students and two teachers dead 

A Texas state senator says the Uvalde school district police chief on the scene of the Robb Elementary School shooting was not made aware of 911 calls from children inside in the classrooms, who were begging for help as gunman Ramos Salvador was carrying out a heinous massacre.

State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who has previously criticized law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, revealed that school police chief Pete Arredondo was not ‘privy’ to the slew of emergency calls being made to Uvalde police dispatch.

‘He’s the incident commander. He did not receive [the] 911 calls,’ Gutierrez, a Democrat, said of Arredondo during a press conference Thursday, NBC News reported.

‘Uvalde PD was the one receiving the 911 calls for 45 minutes while officers were sitting in a hallway, while 19 officers were sitting in a hallway for 45 minutes,’ he stated.

Gutierrez called it a ‘system failure.’ 

Gutierrez’s revelations, which he attributed to the Commission on State Emergency Communication, come as Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin disclosed a negotiator was trying to talk to Ramos, 18, while the attack was underway.

‘His main goal was to try to get this person on the phone,’ McLaughlin told The Washington Post and Telemundo San Antonio in a joint interview Wednesday. ‘They tried every number they could find.’

The gunman never answered the phone, McLaughlin said, adding that neither he nor the negotiator were aware students were calling 911 and asking police to rescue them at that same moment in time.

Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (pictured Thursday) revealed that school police chief Pete Arredondo was not ‘privy’ to the desperate 911 calls made from within Robb Elementary School on May 24 while gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire on a fourth grade class

On May 24, Ramos stormed Robb Elementary School with an AR-15 gun and fired more than 100 shots, killing 21 people.

The teen was inside the school building for 77 minutes before police reached the locked door with a key and killed the deranged madman. 

Since the incident, the immediate law enforcement response to the massacre has come under fire, with the primary focus of blame being on Arredondo.

Gutierrez claims the Commission on State Emergency Communication specifically told him ‘no’ when he asked if Arredondo (pictured on May 24) knew students were calling 911 for help

Gutierrez, who has publicly questioned police response to the attack and even previously alleged students would still be alive if officers had acted more quickly, defended Arredondo on Thursday, claiming he wasn’t aware of the calls for help.

‘I have no doubts Arredondo was the so-called incident commander. I have no doubts about that. I’m telling you that he did not have privy’ to those calls, Gutierrez said. 

The senator claims he specifically asked the Commission on State Emergency Communication: ‘Was the [school district] police officer on duty [told] about the calls?’

‘I was specifically told no,’ he said, before insisting: ‘I’m not covering him.’

He said the fact that the calls were going to the city police but were not communicated to Arredondo was a ‘system failure’ and claimed the school police chief was not given all the necessary information when he opted against an immediate confrontation with Ramos.

Arredondo believed the situation had turned into hostage situation and made the ‘wrong decision’ to not order officers to attempt to breach the classroom as 911 calls were being made to the outside. 

This is how the shooting played out over the course of nearly two hours from when Ramos killed his grandmother at home. He arrived at the school at 11.28am and the first 911 calls were made. He then walked unobstructed into the building with his AR-15 and headed towards the classroom. He fought off cops at 11.44am, then was left alone in the room with the victims until around 12.44pm – when SWAT arrived. The incident was declared over at 1.06pm 

‘I want to know specifically who was receiving the 911 calls,’ Gutierrez said during the news conference, noting that no single person or entity was fully to blame for the massacre.

However, he said, Governor Greg Abbot should accept much of the responsibility for the failures in the police response.

‘There was error at every level, including the legislative level. Greg Abbott has plenty of blame in all of this,’ Gutierrez said.

Arredondo has not publicly spoken about the massacre and stated he wouldn’t release any further information while funerals were still underway.

‘We’re going to be respectful to the families,’ he told CNN on Wednesday. ‘We’re going to do that eventually. Whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, then we’ll do that obviously.’

Children run to safety after escaping from a window during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24

18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos (left) killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24 leaving many schools in the country on edge. He legally purchased two AR-15 style rifles (right), including the one he used in the attack, and more than 300 rounds of ammunition after his 18th birthday the week before

Mayor McLaughlin claimed Wednesday that poor communication stemmed beyond Arredondo and police, alleging that the negotiator tasked with trying to make contact with Ramos was also unaware that children were calling 911 for help.

McLaughlin claims he rushed to a funeral home located across the street from Robb Elementary School after receiving the ‘first call’ that Ramos has crashed his pickup truck near the school building.

When he arrived on scene, the mayor said he was met by a negotiator who was ‘frantically’ trying to reach Ramos.

‘The moment he went into that classroom, they were trying to get numbers to call him,’ McLaughlin told CNN.

The mayor claims Ramos never answered the phone and also noted that he and the negotiator were not privy to the situation unfolding inside the classroom.

He said he never heard gunshots being fired or knew children in the targeted classroom were calling for help.

‘While I was there, I did not hear the 911 calls,’ the mayor said. ‘I can assure you had I been aware of it, I would have been screaming.’

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin (pictured on May 27) revealed Wednesday that a negotiator was trying to talk to Ramos while the attack was underway. The negotiator tried several numbers for the teen put was unable to get him on the phone

This graphic shows the minute-by-minute response break down of Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Police are pictured trying to gain entry to a classroom at Robb Elementary during the siege on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas

He addressed the inconsistencies that have emerged in police accounts over what happened on May 24, alleging that local authorities ‘have not lied to anyone.’

‘The briefing that the governor and the lieutenant governor and everybody else in that room [had] … was given by the Department of Public Safety (DPS), not local law enforcement,’ McLaughlin told The Washington Post.

‘They’ve had three press conferences. In all three press conferences, something has changed,’ he added.

The mayor also stated he has not been in contact with Arredondo but reiterated the school police chief ‘has talked to DPS every day and continues to talk to DPS.’ 

Steven McCraw, head of Texas DPS, admitted during a press briefing last Friday that waiting to take Ramos down ‘was the wrong decision.’

Eventually, federal agents disobeyed Arredondo’s orders and entered the school, fatally shooting Ramos.

McLaughlin said he was told at least one cop from Uvalde Police Department and another from the school district’s police department were part of the group to take out the gunman. DailyMail.com was not immediately able to verify that report.

Additionally, the mayor said he hopes Robb Elementary School will be torn down and the community will have a chance to rebuild. 

‘I hope we tear it down to the ground,’ he said. ‘I would never expect a teacher, a student, anyone to go walk back in that building.’

PICTURED: The 19 children and two teachers butchered in Texas elementary school shooting

Amerie Jo Garza, 10

Amerie Jo Garza (right)

Amerie Jo Garza, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary, was one of 19 students confirmed to be killed Tuesday morning by Ramos, who cops say was carrying a handgun and an AR-15 during the attack that also killed two teachers in the classroom.

Her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, said the 10-year-old was killed as she tried to phone 911 while sitting next to her best friend, who ended up ‘covered in her blood.’

Arreola said Ramos told the students and staffers inside the room, ‘You’re going to die,’ before opening fire – shooting her granddaughter dead as she tried to phone for help.

‘So the gunman went in and he told the children, ‘You’re going to die,’ Berlinda told The Daily Beast.

‘And [Amerie] had her phone and she called 911. And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood.’ 

Uziyah Garcia

Uziyah Garcia, 8

Uziyah Garcia, the youngest victim at age eight, was also killed in the attack.

The child’s family announced he was killed hours after announcing he was among the many children unaccounted for following the tragedy.

The boy’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, broke the news early Wednesday after being notified by authorities.

‘[He was] the sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,’ Renfro said. ‘I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.’

Renfro recalled how Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo over spring break.

‘We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns.

‘Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,’ the grieving grandad said.

‘There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.’

Makenna Elrod, 10

Makenna Lee Elrod

Makenna Elrod, 10, had also been among the missing in the chaos that followed the massacre, with her father, Brandon Elrod telling reporters at the time he feared ‘she may not be alive.’

Her death was eventually confirmed by a family friend on Wednesday. ‘It’s pretty sad what this world’s coming to,’ the girl’s father told local outlet KTRK after the shooting.

A mother of one of Makenna’s friends lamented the loss in a post to Facebook. 

‘Sweet Makenna Rest in Paradise!! My heart is shattered as my daughter Chloe loved her so much!!’ the mom wrote. A relative Wednesday confirmed that the girl had been among the victims.

Xavier Lopez, 10

Xavier Lopez

Xavier Lopez, 10, was the first student victim to be identified as one of Ramos’ victims.

The child’s mother, Felicha Martinez, told the Washington Post Tuesday that just hours before the massacre, the mom had been at the school to see her son participate an honor roll ceremony. 

She took a picture showing her son showing off his certificate.

In the last exchange she had with the child, the mom heartbreakingly told the boy that she was proud of him and that she loved him, giving him a hug goodbye – not knowing it would be the last time she would see him alive.

‘He was funny, never serious and his smile… that smile I will never forget,’ she recalled after learning of his death from police. ‘It would always cheer anyone up.’

The boy’s cousin, Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, said Xavier enjoyed swimming and had been looking forward to the summer.

‘He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,’ she said. 

‘He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.’

Amelia Sandoval, Lopez’s grandmother, said: ‘It’s just so hard… you send your kids to school thinking they are going to make it back home but they’re not.’

Eliahana Torres, 10

Eliahana Cruz Torres

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, had also been missing for hours until she was confirmed to be among the dead.

Adolfo Cruz, her great-grandfather, said she didn’t want to attend school the day of the shooting – but was told by her family that she had to attend.

He said he remained outside the school gates throughout the night until he leanrned of her fate from local authorities.

‘I hope she is alive,’ he said at the time. 

Torres was an avid baseball player and played the sport in a local little league. 

Ellie Lugo, 10

Ellie Lugo

Ellie Lugo was named as a victim of Tuesday’s attack by her parents, with Steven Garcia and Jennifer Lugo confirming her death several hours after she was listed among the missing. 

‘It’s hard to issue out a statement on anything right now my mind is going at 1000 miles per hour… but I do wanna send our thoughts and prayers to those who also didn’t make it home tonight!!! Our Ellie was a doll and was the happiest ever,’ Steven Lugo said Wednesday.

‘Mom and Dad love you never forget that and please try and stay by our side.’  

Nevaeh Bravo, 10

Nevaeh Bravo

Nevaeh Bravo was confirmed to be among the dead late Tuesday, after her cousin posted on social media following the shooting to ask for helping the girl. 

Around 9 pm, she broke the news on Twitter.

‘Unfortunately my beautiful Nevaeh was one of the many victims from todays tragedy,’ she wrote.

Sje said the schoolchild was ‘flying high’ and asked for the family to be kept in people’s prayers  

‘Our Nevaeh has been found. She is flying with the angels above. We love you Navaeh very much princess.’

‘Thank you for the support and help,’ she wrote. ‘Rest in peace my sweet girl, you didn’t deserve this.’

Bravo’s age could not immediately be confirmed.  

Tess Marie Mata

Tess Marie Mata

Tess Marie Mata was also among those to perish in the attack, her sister, Faith Mata, revealed in a post to Facebook Wednesday.

‘I honestly have no words just sadness, confusion, and anger,’ she wrote.

‘I’m sad because we will never get to tag team on mom and dad again and tell each other how much we mean to each other, I’m confused because how can something like this happen to my sweet, caring, and beautiful sister, and I’m angry because a coward took you from us.’

Photos shared with the post showed Tess smiling in a baby photo, snuggling with a cat, doing gymnastics, flashing a peace sign, and posing in front of a large heart mural.

‘Sissy I miss you so much, I just want to hold you and tell you how pretty you are, I want to take you outside and practice softball, I want to go on one last family vacation, I want to hear your contagious laugh, and I want you to hear me tell you how much I love you,’ she wrote.

Her age could not immediately be confirmed.

Rojelio Torres, 10

Rojelio Torres

Rojelio Torres, 10, was initially reported missing by his father, but on Wednesday was confirmed dead by his family.

A person who said she was the boy’s cousin wrote on Twitter: ‘It breaks my heart to say my rojelio is now with the angels I’ll forever miss you and love you my angel.’

The child’s father , Federico Torres, told Houston reporters that he was at work when he learned about the shooting and immediately raced to the school.

‘They sent us to the hospital, to the civic center, to the hospital and here again, nothing, not even in San Antonio,’ he said. ‘They don’t tell us anything, only a photo, wait, hope that everything is well.’

Nearly half a day later, cops broke the news to the boy’s family.

‘Our entire family waited almost 12 hours since the shooting to find out Rojelio Torres, my 10-year-old nephew, was killed in this tragedy,’ Torres’ aunt, Precious Perez, told KSAT. ‘We are devastated and heartbroken. Rojer was a very intelligent, hard-working and helpful person. He will be missed and never forgotten.’ 

Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10

Jayce Luevanos

Jayce Luevanos, 10, died in the shooting along with his ten-year-old cousin, Jailah, the child’s mother said Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, uncle Unberto Gonzalez shared photos of both kids while offering a touching tribute.

‘My babies going to miss them like crazy!!!,’ Gonzalez wrote. ‘We luv y’all so much!!! I’m just lost right now!!! Fly high my beautiful Angels!!’

Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10

Jailah Nicole Silguero

Ten-year-old Jailah Nicole Silguero was also killed in the shooting, her mother, Veronica Luevanos, tearfully revealed to Univision Wednesday.

She also lost her 10-year-old nephew Jayce to the tragedy.

She said Jailah loved to dance and film videos on TikTok.

The child reportedly also asked her mom the morning of the shooting if she could stay home from school – a request the now mourning mom rebuffed. 

‘I took her to school, but she didn’t want to go. She told her father, ‘Can I stay home?” Luevanos said, noting that it was not a common occurrence for her daughter to make such a request. ‘I think she knew something would happen.’

Luevanos’ mom confirmed the loss on Facebook Wednesday.

‘Fly high my angels. We’re going to miss yall so much,’ wrote Veronica Luevanos – whose dad had died just a week earlier.

‘I’m so heart broken,’ she wrote with a photo of her daughter and nephew. 

‘My baby I love u so much … fly high baby girl.’

Alithia Ramirez, 10

Alithia Ramirez

 Fourth grader Alithia Ramirez was confirmed dead early Wednesday by her father, Ryan Ramirez, who shared a post to Facebook showing the 10-year-old with angel’s wings. He had used the same photo the previous day as he pleaded for help finding her after the massacre

He had heartbreakingly used the same photo the previous day as he desperately pleaded for help finding her after the massacre.

‘Trying to find my daughter Alithia. I called all the hospitals and nothing,’ he wrote at the time.

He also reporters during his frantic search, ‘I’m trying to find out where my baby’s at.’ 

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, was another killed by Ramos Tuesday – along with her cousin, who has yet to be identified.

Annabell’s father spent the afternoon after the shooting in frantic search for his daughter. 

Speaking to KHOU11 Tuesday, he lamented at how he was at a loss as to what do, having little success with the search.

‘They’re not letting us in at the hospital right now so we don’t know where to go.’

 She has since been declared to be among the dead.

Miranda Mathis, 11

Miranda Mathis

Miranda Mathis, 11,  was also confirmed as another casualty from the mass shooting early Wednesday, in a Facebook post by an older cousin who earlier that day had posted a desperate plea for help in locating the child.

‘My sweet baby cousin we loved u dearly,’ Deanna Miller wrote alongside a photo of the child with angel wings.

‘I’m so sorry this happen to u baby please keep my family in your prayers,’ she grieved.

Miller’s kids had also been at the school at the time of the shooting, but survived the attack.

One of her sons told her that they were ushered out of a window by staffers during the attack and subsequently ran to a nearby funeral home after ‘he heard the shooter say he was gonna kill all the kids.’

Alexandria ‘Lexi’ Aniyah Rubio, 10

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio

Alexandria Aniyah Rubio – who was better known to friends as ‘Lexi’ – was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday.

The ten-year-old was shot dead just hours after posing for a photo with her parents at the school’s honor roll ceremony.

Kimberly Mata-Rubio, the girl’s mother, wrote of the loss: ‘My beautiful, smart, Alexandria Aniyah Rubio was recognized today for All-A honor roll. She also received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.’ 

Maite Yuleana

Maite Yuleana

Maite Yuleana was another student to die in the attack that had attended the honor roll ceremony just hours before.

A cousin of the girl’s mother, Ana Rodriguez, announced the loss Wednesday. 

‘It is with a heavy heart I come on here on behalf of my cousin Ana who lost her sweet baby girl in yesterday’s senseless shooting.  

‘We are deeply saddened by the lose [sic] of this sweet smart little girl…. God bless and may she R.I.P Maite Rodriguez we love you.’

Another relative shared a photo of Maite with her honor roll certificate.

Her age could not immediately be confirmed.

Jose Flores Jr, 10

Jose Flores

Jose Flores, 10, was also killed in the shooting after attending the honor roll ceremony, where he was pictured triumphantly clutching a certificate celebrating the accomplishment.

Uncle Christopher Salazar confirmed to the Washington Post Wednesday that his 10-year-old nephew was among the dead, after sharing a tribute to the child on Facebook.

‘I love you and I miss you,’ Salazar wrote in the post.  

The boy’s father described Jose to CNN as an amazing boy and big brother to his two younger siblings.

‘He was always fill of energy,’ Jose Flores Sr. said. ‘Ready to play till the night.’

He said the boy loved playing baseball and video games.

Jackie Cazares

Jackie Cazares, 10

Jackie Cazares, 10, was another to be killed during the vicious attack at the elementary school.

Her father Jacinto confirmed she lost her life inside her fourth-grade classroom.

‘My baby girl has been taken away from my family and I,’ the grieving father said in an online post.

‘We’re devastated in ways I hope no one ever goes through. … It hurts us to our souls.’

Cazares said his daughter, who was with her cousin, Annabell Rodriguez, when she died, was ‘full of life and love’.

Layla Salazar, 10

The 10-year-old student was the last of the slaying victims to be identified.

Vincent Salazar told the Philadelphia Inquirer his young daughter was among those killed.

He said she was ‘a lot of fun’ and recalled how they sang along to ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns ‘n’ Roses whenever he drove her to school.   

Layla Salazar

Irma Garcia, 46 – fourth grade teacher

Irma Garcia

Irma Garcia, who co-taught with Mireles for the last five year, had been at Robb Elementary for 23 years. 

Married to Joe for 24 years, she was a mother of four – Cristian, completing Marine boot camp; Jose, attending Texas State university University; Lyliana, a sophomore in high school; and Alysandra, a 7th grader. 

‘My tia did not make it, she sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom, i beg of you to keep my family including all of her family in y’all’s prayers , IRMA GARCIA IS HER NAME and she died a HERO,’ tweeted her nephew John. 

‘She was loved by many and will truly be missed.’

She was nominated as teacher of the year for the 2018-19 awards, organized by Trinity University. 

Eva Mireles, 44 – fourth grade teacher

Eva Mireles

Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was identified by her family as being one of the staff members shot dead. She had worked in education for 17 years. 

Her husband Ruben Ruiz, a veteran detective and SWAT team member currently serving as a police officer with the school district, held regular active shooter drills for the schools – most recently at the end of March. 

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