Police in Uvalde, Texas, threatened to arrest journalists for trespassing at school district headquarters Thursday as top cops face scrutiny for their response to the Robb Elementary School massacre.
Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo has been holed up in the district offices or in his home under police protection as questions swirl over whether law enforcement cost lives when they waited an hour to take out the gunman who slaughtered 19 kids and two adults last week .
An Uvalde officer checked press credentials of two Post staff members and an NBC News crew on Thursday, warning them they’d be arrested for trespassing if they didn’t leave.
The school district offices are in a private office complex, but other members of the public were allowed to walk into the taxpayer-funded office, including a local poet who dropped off a copy of one of her works.
CNN correspond Shimon Prokupecz posted a video to Twitter of other threats of arrest on Wednesday, with four uniformed police officers seen blocking the way to the offices.
“Well, I’m just gonna let you know Uvalde PD is en route,” one officer says in the clip. “Once they get here, they’ll start issuing criminal trespasses for the property.”
“They want us to give you the initial warning and then if you guys are still present, then they’re gonna issue criminal trespasses,” another chimes in.
The confrontations come after a CNN crew caught up with media-shy Arredondo at the office on Wednesday. Arredondo briefly told the news station that he was in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety, despite reports that he’d stopped cooperating with its probe into the shooting.
Public Safety Director Steven McCraw had said Arredondo as the on-site commander waited to breach the door and take out 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos because he believed the situation had gone from an active shooter to “a barricaded subject.”
“With the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said.
While police waited for a tactical unit to arrive, terrified children were calling 911 from inside the two interconnected classrooms where the killer had locked the doors, McCraw said.
The US Department of Justice is investigating the response.
Cops clashed with press even before the revelations about how officers responded to the May 24 shooting.
The very next day, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott held a news conference at Uvalde High School that was interrupted by Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging him in this year’s election. O’Rourke accused Abbott of being pro-gun and was escorted out. Members of the press who followed him were not let back in, with state troopers claiming the principal had made the call to block media from returning because there was “a safety issue.”
Barred media were only allowed back in to retrieve personal possessions once the conference had ended.
Uvalde has connected on state police and officers from other departments. Many of the interactions with media members have been with cops from Pharr, San Juan, Conroe and Mathis police departments. An Edinburgh police car was stationed in the front of the district office Thursday and another car from Conroe was in the back.
An Edinburgh officer was asked by The Post why the department was providing patrols more than a week after the massacre,
“Not every media like yourself respects the boundaries,” she claimed. “We’ve had some YouTubers causing some problems, from what I hear.”