Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo (left) was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday (Pictures: Reuters)
The police chief of the Uvalde school district has been placed on administrative leave, amid mounting criticism over how cops responded to the mass shooting that left 21 people dead.
Pete Arredondo’s leave is effective immediately, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell announced on Wednesday.
Arredondo was serving as incident commander when a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Texas on May 24 and killed 19 children and two teachers.
Harrell stated that the school district will wait until an investigation into the massacre is completed before making decisions around personnel.
‘Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies,’ wrote Harrell.
‘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.’
Lt Mike Hernandez will act as police chief for the time being, Harrell said.
Arredondo has faced criticism for his decision to wait before ordering police to break into classrooms where the gunman was opening fire. Officials have said that Arredondo erroneously treated the gunman as a barricaded suspect rather than an active shooter.
It was not until more than an hour later that federal agents made their way into a room and shot the 18-year-old gunman dead.
Arredondo has said he did not consider himself as in command in the situation.
On Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col Steve McCraw at a state Senate committee hearing called the law enforcement response an ‘abject failure’.
Arredondo was the only witness in a Texas state House of Representatives hearing on the shooting on Tuesday.
Arredondo was sworn in as an Uvalde City Council member in late May. On Tuesday night, the council unanimously rejected his request for a leave of absence from future meetings.
During the council meeting, Mayor Don McLaughlin said the elementary school will be demolished.
‘We could never ask a child to go back, or a teacher to go back into that school ever,’ McLaughlin said.
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