CNN reporter threatened with trespassing after grilling Uvalde police chief over his actions during shooting

Shimon Prokupecz had earlier been grilling police chief Pedro Arredondo about his actions during the Uvalde shooting

CNN reporter threatened by Uvalde police with trespassing charge

A CNN correspondent covering the school shooting in Uvalde was threatened with charges of trespassing if he and his crew didn’t leave the school district’s offices.

CNN’s Simon Prokupecz shared a video of the altercation on his Twitter account shortly after he’d finished grilling Uvalde Independent School District Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo over his decision to hold off on breaching the classroom where a teenage gunman killed all 21 victims in the Robb Elementary School shooting earlier this month.

Mr Arredondo, the on-site commander of the deadly shooting, has come under scrutiny, both from senior law enforcement officials and the victims’ families, in recent days as more details from the violent massacre have been unearthed.

A specific point of contention in the 50-year-old officer’s handling of the shooting was his call to downgrade the incident from an “active shooter” to a “barricaded suspect” standoff, a decision that kept 19 officers inside the halls of the school from breaching the classroom for nearly an hour while the gunman continued to pick off more of the elementary-age victims from inside the fourth-grade classroom.

In total, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 children, between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, and two adult teachers before being shot and killed by authorities.

CNN correspondent Shimon Prokupecz shared a video of Uvalde Independent School District Police officers telling him to leave their office or face trespassing charges and that officers from the Uvalde Police Department were on their way to enforce those charges of trespassing if reporters didn’t comply.

Mr Prokupecz had initially confronted Mr Arredondo outside the school district’s offices in Uvalde on Wednesday, where he probed the school police chief about why he has reportedly not been cooperating with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

According to the agency’s director, Steven McCraw, Mr Arredondo isn’t responding to their requests for a second interview from investigators.

When this claim was put to the police chief outside the Uvalde’s ISD offices by the CNN correspondent, Mr Arredondo dodged questions and repeated the line that there would be more answers once the grieving families of the deceased children had had time to mourn.

“We have people in our community being buried … we’re going to be respectful to the family,” Mr Arredondo said in response to the reporter’s questions before denying Mr McCraw’s claim that he hadn’t been cooperating with investigators. “Just so everybody knows, we’ve been in contact with DPS every day.”

Following this confrontation, the reporter then shared a video of Uvalde ISD officers outside the school building where Mr Arredondo had retreated behind earlier.

In the video, officers can be heard relaying to the CNN correspondent that he and his crew will be charged with trespassing if they don’t leave the premises immediately.

“I’m just gonna let you know, Uvalde PD’s en route, once they get here, they’ll start issuing criminal trespasses for the property,” one of the Uvalde ISD officers can be heard saying.

The Independent reached out to both the Uvalde ISD and the Uvalde police department for comment but did not hear back in time before publication.

One of the other officers in the video can be heard saying to Mr Prokupecz and his crew that the Uvalde police department had wanted to give them an “initial warning” before they got down to the school district office and began issuing “criminal trespasses”.

“Okay, appreciate that,” Mr Prokupecz can be heard saying off-camera before the video clip ends.

Despite Mr Arredondo’s claims to the contrary, the DPS maintains that the officer is not cooperating with their investigation. On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Texas DPS told the DailyMail.com that he’d stopped assisting the agency.

“The chief of the CISD did an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview that was made two days ago,” Travis Considine told the news outlet.

The Independent reached out to the Texas DPS for comment on the claims that Mr Arredondo is not cooperating but did not hear back from them immediately.

The Uvalde ISD released a public statement on Wednesday, acknowledging that there are many “questions that remain” but noted that at this time they are unable to provide comment until the federal and state agencies had “completed their review”.

“UCISD has and will continue to work with law enforcement who are investigating the event and realise that many questions remain,” the press release reads. “Because the investigation is ongoing and information is evolving, we are going to reserve comment until all state and federal agencies have completed their review.”

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