BREAKING NEWS: Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo is put on administrative leave due to ‘lack of clarity’ in investigation into shooting
- Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell announced the decision in a statement released on Wednesday
- Arredondo has come under fire in the weeks after the May 24 shooting over his response to the active gunman
- The district police said that Arredondo would be replaced, and that it would look for ‘qualified candidates’ to join for the upcoming school year
Uvalde School District Police chief Peter Arredondo was put on administrative leave, effective immediately.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell announced the decision in a statement released on Wednesday.
Harrell said though he intended to wait until the investigation into the May 24 shooting was completed to make personnel decisions, a ‘lack of clarity’ or timeline coming from the agencies involved lead him to decide to put Arredondo on leave.
Harrell did not specify why he had chosen to put Arredondo on Leave, but the decision came as the police chief’s questionable decisions during the mass-shooting saw renewed scrutiny during a Texas State Senate hearing into the shooting this week.
He said that Arredondo would be replaced by Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, and that the school district would look for ‘qualified candidates’ to join the police force for the upcoming school year.
Uvalde School District Police chief Peter Arredondo was put on administrative leave, effective immediately on Wednesday
‘From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,’ Harrell wrote in the statement, ‘Today, I am still without details of the investigation being conducted by various agencies.’
‘Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigation, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective this on date.’
Harrell added that no more information would be provided about the decision, characterizing it as a ‘personal matter.’
Speaking at a State Senate hearing Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw slammed police’s response to the May 24 massacre as ‘an abject failure’ and that school district police ‘decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children’
Footage from inside the Robb Elementary School shows heavily armed police officers standing by. They were told not to engage the gunman for over an hour
Arredondo had been under fire in the weeks since the shooting after he was fingered as the man responsible for the botched police response to the shooting.
He reportedly commanded cops on the scene to stay put for over an hour and not confront gunman Salvadaor Ramos, 18, after he barricaded himself inside a fourth-grader filled classroom at Robb Elementary.
At the state Senate hearing yesterday, Texas Department of Public Safety head Steve McCraw lay the blame at Arredondo’s feet for the police response, which he called ‘an abject failure.’
In a scathing speech, McCraw said the district chief ‘decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.’
‘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,’ McCraw said. ‘The officers had weapons – the children had none. The officers had body armor – the children had none.’
McCraw said parents begged police outside the school to move in and students inside the classroom repeatedly pleaded with 911 operators for help while more than a dozen officers waited in a hallway. Officers from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move in because children were in danger.
Police help students evacuate the Robb Elementary School during the massacre on May 24
Salvador Ramos, 18, barricaded himself in classroom full of students. Arredondo told officer to wait over an hour before engaging the gunman
In another bombshell revelation, McCraw revealed that the door to the classroom that Ramos had been hiding behind had not been locked – contradicting earlier assertions from Arredondo’s department that the chief had been frantically trying to track down keys for more than an hour, to open the fourth-grade classroom’s door.
At the time, officials said they did not believe officers had tried to open the door, the Statesman reported.
On Tuesday, McCraw revealed that the classroom doors ‘could not lock from the inside,’ and that officers did not storm the building solely out of fear of being shot themselves.
“One hour, 14 minutes and eight seconds,’ said McCraw. ‘That’s how long the children waited and the teachers waited…to be rescued.’
‘While they waited,’ McCraw went on, ‘the on-scene commander waited for radios and rifles, waited for shields, and waited for SWAT.
‘Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed.’
McCraw added that even if the door had been secured, officers had the means to break it open.
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