Texas school shooting: Uvalde school police chief is suspended after weeks of brewing anger over botched response to gunman

On Tuesday, the highest Texas official in cost of the investigation described the response as an “abject failure.”
At the middle of the furor has been the school district’s police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo. On Wednesday, almost a month after the horrific taking pictures, he was positioned on depart.

“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,” Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell mentioned in an announcement.

“Today, I am still without details of the investigations 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 investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date,” he mentioned.

Arredondo and responding legislation enforcement companies have confronted fierce criticism over the length of time officers had been stationed in a hallway outdoors adjoining school rooms 111 and 112 at Robb Elementary, the place an 18-year-old gunman and the victims had been situated.
The gunman fired at responding officers within the first minutes of the taking pictures, two of whom obtained grazing wounds, in accordance to an updated timeline from the Texas Department of Public Safety. Yet greater than 70 minutes would elapse earlier than the gunman was shot and killed by authorities who stormed the room.
Earlier this month, Arredondo informed The Texas Tribune he did not contemplate himself the incident commander and did not instruct officers to chorus from breaching the scene.
Uvalde school police chief says he didn't keep officers from breaching massacre scene and didn't consider himself the commander, report says
Berlinda Irene Arreola, the grandmother of taking pictures sufferer Amerie Jo Garza, spoke at a tense metropolis council assembly Tuesday the place Arredondo was not current. The school police chief was elected to the council earlier this yr and has stayed out of the general public eye for the reason that taking pictures.

“He failed us,” Arreola mentioned of Arredondo to councilmembers. “Do not make the same mistake he made and fail us too. Go forward and make it right … please, please, we’re begging, get this man out of our lives.”

The council later unanimously voted to deny Arredondo a depart of absence from future council meetings, and the choice was met with applause from residents in attendance. According to the town’s constitution, Arredondo might be faraway from workplace if he fails to attend three consecutive metropolis council conferences unexcused.

Arreola spoke with NCS Wednesday concerning the ache of shedding 10-year-old Amerie in addition to the next fallout, with preliminary particulars from investigations indicating that extra might have been carried out sooner.

“It’s getting harder and harder every day as far as missing her, the hurt that we feel. But also with the anger that’s unfolding before our eyes,” Arreola informed NCS’s Brianna Keilar.

“We have to speak for all these children, all these families. We have to make things right, we need to get down to the bottom of everything that has happened and find out the truth.”

Senate moving on gun legislation but questions about Uvalde shooting response deepen families' pain
Amerie’s stepfather, Angel Garza, was a medical first responder to the scene of the taking pictures and informed NCS Wednesday he didn’t perceive how police failed to act once they had been situated outdoors the classroom, so shut to the victims.

“I just don’t get how you can hear these kids crying and asking for help, but you’re scared to enter because your commander doesn’t want you to go in,” he mentioned.

Parents, together with himself, “were right outside” the school. “I was trying to get in, I was put into handcuffs,” he mentioned, distraught that police he entrusted “didn’t save my daughter or any of the other kids.”

Arredondo testified to a Texas House committee behind closed doorways on Tuesday relating to the day of the taking pictures and didn’t remark publicly. NCS has reached out to Arredondo’s lawyer for remark.

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez is assuming the duties of the UCISD Chief of Police throughout Arredondo’s depart, according to the school district.

Uvalde mayor calls out DPS director

While Arredondo has obtained the lion’s share of public criticism for the way police dealt with the disaster, the mayor of Uvalde was fast to level out Tuesday that he believes different legislation enforcement companies additionally want to be held accountable and supply updates to metropolis officers.

In pointed remarks on the metropolis council assembly, Mayor Don McLaughlin accused DPS director Col. Steven McCraw of shirking his division’s accountability and famous that officers from at the very least eight legislation enforcement companies had been inside Robb Elementary throughout the taking pictures.

Uvalde mayor slams state agency investigating school massacre, says elementary building will be demolished

“Col. McCraw has continued to — whether you want to call it — lie, leak, mislead or misstate information in order to distance his own troopers and Rangers from the response. Every briefing he leaves out the number of his own officers and Rangers that were on-scene that day,” McLaughlin mentioned.

McLaughlin additionally decried leaks from unnamed sources he mentioned had been supposed to shift blame over police response away from sure companies and extra towards native legislation enforcement.

“Col. McCraw has an agenda and it is not to present a full report on what happened and give factual answers on what happened to this community,” the mayor mentioned, including he was meant to obtain a each day briefing from authorities for the reason that day after the taking pictures however none has been offered.

McCraw on Tuesday at a Texas Senate hearing accused Arredondo of ordering police to look forward to pointless tools and keys to a door that won’t have been locked as suspected.

NCS has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety for remark.

NCS’s Jamiel Lynch, Matthew J. Friedman, Amanda Musa, Eric Levenson, Christina Maxouris, Rosalina Nieves, Andy Rose and Amy Simonson contributed to this report.


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