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The superintendent for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced on Wednesday that school police chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave.
Arredondo has been at the center of the firestorm over the failed police response to the massacre at the Robb Elementary School on May 24. Nineteen children and 2 teachers were shot to death, some of which were killed while police waited outside of the schoolroom where the gunman had barricaded himself.
Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell said that the leave would take effect immediately.
“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,” Harrell said in the statement.
“Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies,” he added. “Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date.”
Arredondo was incident commander at the shooting, but he later claimed that he didn’t know he was in charge because he had intentionally dropped off his radios when he entered the school.
He also said that he didn’t hear about reports that school children were making emergency calls to 911 from inside the room while the gunman continued to murder them.
On Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw called the police response an “abject failure” and said that police could have neutralized the attacker within three minutes of his arriving at the school and saved many lives.
“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111, and 112, was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” said McCraw.
Investigators say Arredondo entered the school only 3 minutes after the shooter did, but that police waited for an hour and 14 minutes to finally breach the school room and take him down.
Here’s more about the new development:
Uvalde Mayor Pushes Back At School And Police Department Critique