The interim police chief resigns on the day of the massacre at the Uvalde school amid a whirlwind of criticism

The interim police chief resigns on the day of the massacre at the Uvalde school amid a whirlwind of criticism

Mariano Pargas was the interim police chief on the day of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 dead. Everything indicates that the next day his dismissal would be announced, the lieutenant went ahead

Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the interim police chief on the day of the Uvalde school mass shooting, resigned from the Uvalde Police Department on Thursday, just days before city leaders decided his fate.

Pargas had been with the department for 18 years and announced Thursday that he would retire, said Gina Eisenberg, president of The Eisenberg Group, a communications firm that represents the Uvalde mayor’s office.

Pargas is the last officer to leave the force after the tragic shooting last May, when the police response was highly criticized from the first days after that massacre, where 19 children and two teachers died.

A July investigative report from the Texas House of Representatives issued a scathing analysis of police lapses that day that resulted in law enforcement taking 77 minutes to enter the classroom and shoot 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

Given the news, the organization LivesRobbed, made up of individuals and families affected by the Uvalde massacre, said that Pargas chose to resign almost six months after the shooting, and continues to show his “lack of character.”

“About time,” the group said. “177 days ago, Lieutenant Mariano Pargas displayed a complete lack of courage and leadership as he presided over the Uvalde Police Department during one of the worst police failures in American history.”

Pargas was among nearly 400 law enforcement officers who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24, but waited more than an hour to finish off the gunman. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed.

Pargas’ departure is the latest in the aftermath of the shooting. Pete Arredondo, the school district’s police chief who was widely criticized for law enforcement’s lack of coordination and slow response, was fired Aug. 24. Then in October, Hal Harrell, who was a superintendent during the shooting, stepped down after facing months of criticism over the school district’s security policies.

During a Uvalde school board meeting Wednesday night, board members unanimously named Josh Gutierrez interim executive director of security and chief of police for the school district. Gutierrez previously worked with Gary Patterson, the Uvalde interim superintendent, in the East Central Independent School District in Bexar County.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.