State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Texas, slammed Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo for not appearing at Tuesday's Texas House committee hearing involving last month's deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two adults.
While discussing the shooting incident with Texas Department of Public Safety director Col. Steven McCraw, the Republican Bettencourt went off on a seemingly spontaneous rant about the absent Arredondo:
"It's almost incredible to see this type of response. Now I'm going to submit to you, I don't believe there's any training in the world that could've helped this incident commander, because this last 25 minutes ... is a disgraceful diatribe of somebody that cannot possibly have responded to this crisis," said Bettencourt.
"The reasoning, there is no reasoning. The torrent of illogical statements here, and it is preposterous. And all along, people are dying. And what makes this more incredible to me is that there are at least six shots fired during this time. And I submit to you and everyone and members of the committee: every shot is a death.
"Why is this person shooting? He's killing somebody. But yet they do, this incident commander finds every reason to do nothing.
"And that's the tragedy of this ... because clearly people were killed in the initial barrage, you said, up to 100 rounds [of ammunition], but at least six rounds were shot afterwards. Probably at individual targets, at least three. You'd have to — because of the groupings. And that means three children probably died. A teacher bled out. An hour plus goes on."
Bettencourt continued: "So is there ... any way that officers coming into a situation like that with a clearly dysfunctional and total breakdown of command and control, that somehow that can be rectified at a shooting like this?
"Or are we just looking at a shooting that tragically and horrifically lasted so long that they, that it's so abnormal, so out of what the possible realm of responses are, that there's simply no way to replace an incident commander that has literally melted into protoplasm?"
The last Bettencourt comment stemmed from Bettencourt previously asking a semi-sarcastic question to McCraw — regarding Chief Arredondo — on whether the chief was "sub-amoebic," when it came to apparently mishandling the pressure of the Uvalde shooting crisis?
McCraw then calmly told Bettencourt, "Well, the only thing that will make [the public] more mad is to see the video. It'll be worse, I can assure you, if you see it."
Bettencourt responded by saying, "Don't go hide in the house and talk privately. Come to the Senate, where the public in Texas can ask these questions."
Citing a report from the Washington Examiner, Chief Arredondo had never planned to attend Tuesday's hearing.
According to the Daily Mail, the suspected gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, which he had legally purchased just days before the May 24 attack, and shortly after his 18th birthday.
During the shooting, a border patrol agent reportedly rushed into the school and found Ramos barricaded, according to a sourced report from The Associated Press.
The agent then fatally shot Ramos before exiting the school, citing the AP report.
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