Uvalde school district puts embattled police Chief Pete Arredondo on leave: According to statements made by state officials, Arredondo served as the incident commander during the tragedy that took place on May 24 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. He has contradicted that statement.
After more than a month of harsh criticism for his decision to delay confronting the gunman in the deadly shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave as the police chief of the Uvalde school district on Wednesday. The district superintendent said this decision resulted in the police chief being placed on administrative leave.
In a written statement released on Wednesday, the superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Hal Harrell, mentioned that he had previously stated that the district would wait until the investigation into the massacre that took place on May 24 at Robb Elementary School was finished before making any decisions regarding personnel.
He stated, “To this day, I still do not have any details about the investigations that are being performed by the various agencies.” “Because of the lack of clarity that still exists and the uncertainty regarding the timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective as of this date,” the chief said. “I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
There has been no additional information provided regarding Arredondo or the verdict. According to Harrell, Lt. Mike Hernandez will be the one to assume the role of chief.
Authorities from the state have referred to Arredondo as the incident commander during the mass shooting that took place on May 24 at Robb Elementary School. Arredondo has stated that he did not believe he was the officer in charge of the situation.
According to the officials, Arredondo made the mistake of treating the gunman as if he were a barricaded suspect rather than an active shooter. After waiting for more than an hour, federal officers finally entered the room and shot the gunman, who was only 18 years old, to death.
Investigations into how law enforcement responded to the incident are currently being carried out at both the state and federal levels.
During a hearing held by a committee of the Texas state Senate on Tuesday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Colonel Steve McCraw, referred to the reaction by law enforcement as a “abject failure.”
McCraw walked senators through the process, minute by minute, of how law enforcement officers could have entered the unsecured room where the shooter was hiding. It was widely reported in the days immediately following the shooting that the doors to the classrooms had been locked, which prevented the police from entering the classrooms and caused them to search for keys.
McCraw stated that the lives of police officers were valued more highly than those of the children who had been killed.
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated cops from Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who opted to prioritize the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he added. “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander.” “The officers are armed, while the children did not have any weapons. While the officers were equipped with body armour, the children were not. While the cops had training, the subject didn’t have any.
According to an approximate timeline that was given on Tuesday by the Texas Department of Public Safety, law enforcement personnel and at least one ballistic shield were present in Robb Elementary School around 19 minutes after a gunman entered classrooms at the school.
According to the timetable and McCraw, from the time the police entered the building until the gunman was killed, there was a total of one hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds that passed.
Arredondo, who has generally maintained a low profile and avoided questions from the media, stated earlier this month in an interview with The Texas Tribune that law enforcement officials “never hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk.”
Arredondo, who took over as chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department in 2020, stated to the news outlet that he regarded himself to be a front-line responder rather than the one who managed the response as a whole.
According to what he stated to The Tribune, “I didn’t issue any commands.” I sent out a cry for help and requested an extraction tool so that the door could be opened.
The Tribune reports that once Arredondo realised he couldn’t enter the classroom with the gunman inside, he phoned police dispatch from his mobile and requested a tactical unit, snipers, and an extrication tool to unlock the door. He also asked for an extrication tool to open the door.
The attorney for Arredondo, George Hyde, was quoted in the Tribune as saying, “It’s not that someone said stand down.” “Right now, we are unable to enter until we have acquired the necessary tools. Therefore, we are going to do all in our power to save as many lives as we can. The question is, what was that? It was for the purpose of evacuating the rooms of the pupils, as well as the parents and the professors.
Uvalde’s City Council just recently welcomed Arredondo as one of its newest members. On May 7, he was declared the winner of a seat, and on May 31, one week after the shooting, he was sworn in during a private ceremony. A meeting of the council was scheduled for that day, but in light of the tragedy, it was decided to cancel the meeting. It was a week later, on June 7, that the council assembled again for a special emergency meeting, but he was nowhere to be found.
Arredondo was also absent from a meeting that was held on Tuesday night, during which the council unanimously denied Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence from future council meetings.
According to the city charter, if a member misses three consecutive meetings without first obtaining a leave of absence, the council has the authority to declare that member’s seat empty and appoint a replacement. According to the mayor, the first of the three meetings that will be missed will be on Tuesday.