According to a statement made by the school district on Wednesday, the head of the school district police force in Uvalde, Texas, has been placed on administrative leave after the highest ranking law enforcement official in the state criticised him for delaying the confrontation with a gunman at Robb Elementary School earlier this month.
After the shooting started on May 24, Chief Pete Arredondo was among the first cops to arrive at the school where it was taking place. According to Steven McCraw, the director of the state police, the individual in question served as the incident commander throughout the response, which Mr. McCraw referred to as a “abject failure.”
Although law enforcement personnel from many agencies stormed the school within minutes of a shooter opening fire in two classrooms that were linked to one another, they waited more than an hour before engaging and ultimately killing the shooter. During the incident, twenty people were killed: nineteen kids and two instructors.
In a press statement, the superintendent of the school system, Hal Harrell, said that he intended to “wait until the inquiry was complete before making personnel choices.” However, he said that in the end he chose to use his authority and place the chief on administrative leave due to “the lack of clarity that remains and the unclear timetable of when I will get the findings.”
Investigations are now being conducted into the shooting as well as the reaction by the police. Some of these investigations are being conducted by Mr. McCraw’s Department of Public Safety, the United States Department of Justice, and a special committee of the Texas Legislature.
Dr. Harrell has announced that Lt. Mike Hernandez would succeed him as the department’s head and assume those responsibilities. It has a jurisdiction over the schools in Uvalde and is comprised of six armed men in uniform.
In an interview earlier this month, Chief Arredondo said that he did not feel he was in command of the reaction at Robb Elementary School, despite the fact that he has defended his decision-making and stated that he believes he was in charge of it. On Wednesday, the legal company that represents him refused to provide any more comment.
One day prior to the decision being made by the school district, Chief Arredondo was refused a leave of absence by the Uvalde City Council, which he had been elected to serve on soon before the incident. Since the assault, he has not attended any public meetings, and if he does not get the leave, he will be required to resign from his place on the Council after missing three sessions.
Some Uvalde parents and citizens took the opportunity to address the Council and voiced their vehement opposition to Chief Arredondo before to the vote that took place on Tuesday night.
During the meeting, Berlinda Arreola, who was wearing a blouse portraying her late granddaughter, Amerie Joe Garza, remarked that “we are having to ask y’all to do anything to remove this guy out of our faces.” Amerie Joe Garza was the granddaughter of Berlinda Arreola. “He has let us down. Do not disappoint us in the same way that he did by making the same error he did.
Many people in the audience clapped and applauded when it became clear that the Council was going to reject Chief Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence.