The police chief of the Texas elementary college the place a gunman killed 19 youngsters and two lecturers has been positioned on administrative go away amid outrage that officers didn’t intervene sooner to apprehend the shooter.
Underneath the command of Uvalde College District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, officers stood for about one hour and quarter-hour in entrance of school rooms the place an 18-year-old with an AR-15 had opened hearth on youngsters and lecturers, in response to the Texas State Police.
Amid ongoing federal and state investigations into police conduct in the course of the Could 24 bloodbath at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, District Superintendent Hal Harrell introduced that Arredondo can be suspended.
“At this time, I nonetheless haven’t got particulars of the investigations which can be being carried out by varied businesses,” Harrell mentioned. “Because of the lack of readability that continues to be and the unknown timing of when I’ll obtain the outcomes of the investigations, I’ve made the choice to position Chief Arredondo on administrative go away efficient this date.”
Neither Arredondo nor his lawyer instantly responded to a request for remark.
At a state listening to into the capturing, Texas Public Security Chief Steve McCraw mentioned the police response was an “abject failure” and that officers may have taken the shooter into custody three minutes after arriving on the scene.
“The one factor that stopped a hallway of devoted officers from getting into rooms 111 and 112 was the commander on scene who determined to place the lives of the officers earlier than the lives of the kids,” McCraw mentioned.
McCraw’s scathing rebuke of Arredondo got here after weeks of conflicting and deceptive statements from police and native officers in regards to the officers’ response to the capturing. This week, the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV discovered that officers had been outfitted with the firepower and gear needed to interrupt down classroom doorways and apprehend the gunman, and transcripts and information obtained by the Texas Tribune revealed that some officers had been desperate to get began. regardless of orders to remain behind.
In the course of the bloodbath, the mother and father begged the officers to maneuver and known as 911 for assist whereas the officers waited within the hallway.
Outrage in opposition to officers who stood again for 77 minutes as college students died has since mounted. Arredondo “failed us,” mentioned Berlinda Arreola, grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, one of many college students killed. “We’re begging, take away this man from our lives,” she mentioned at a gathering calling for his resignation from public workplace.
Arredondo was additionally sworn in as a Uvalde metropolis councilman shortly after the capturing, however has not attended the conferences. The council denied his request earlier Tuesday for a go away of absence from future conferences. The mayor mentioned he would vote to switch Arredondo if he misses three consecutive conferences.
The embattled police chief has differed from different legislation enforcement sources in his account of what occurred at Robb Elementary College, telling the Texas Tribune that he didn’t take into account himself the commander on the scene.
In gentle of conflicting statements from legislation enforcement businesses, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez sued the Division of Public Security on Wednesday as a solution to pressure it to launch information detailing the response of officers to the capturing.
“Within the wake of the mindless tragedy, the folks of Uvalde and Texas have demanded solutions from their authorities,” Gutierrez mentioned within the lawsuit. “To this point, they’ve been met with lies, misstatements and shifts of blame.”