Texas Department of Public Safety investigators looking into the botched response at Robb Elementary School have become increasingly troubled by the actions of two officials – former Uvalde schools police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo and former Uvalde Police Lt. Mariano Pargas – according to law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.
The officials told CNN that this assessment comes after investigators reviewed hours of police body camera footage and interviewed hundreds of law enforcement personnel and witnesses.
The DPS investigation is nearly complete and expected to be in the hands of Uvalde County’s district attorney any day, DPS Director Col. Steven McCraw told CNN Thursday. The district attorney, who will ultimately decide on any charges against law enforcement, has been meeting with victims’ families to update them on the investigation and autopsy results.
Arredondo was fired as school police chief in August following criticism of his actions during the massacre on May 24, in which law enforcement waited more than an hour before entering the adjoining classrooms where the gunman was holed up. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the attack.
Arredondo is seen on body-worn cameras giving orders and receiving information during the response, but he has said he did not see himself as the incident commander.
CNN confronts Chief Pete Arredondo. See the interaction
Pargas, who was acting city police chief that day, was placed on leave in July when videos from body-worn cameras raised questions about whether he had taken any action to assume command. CNN’s reporting demonstrated Pargas was aware students were alive and needed rescue during the shooting but failed to organize help. Pargas ultimately resigned.
CNN has reached out to both Pargas and Arredondo this week to address questions about their roles and has not received responses.
On Monday, Pargas, who is also a county commissioner, told a reporter at the commission meeting: “All I can say is a lot of the stuff that’s been put out there, that is not the way it happened.” When pressed by CNN for specifics, he would not explain what he meant.