The police chief of the Uvalde school district has resigned from the City Council just weeks after being sworn in following allegations that he was wrong in his response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. which left 19 students and two teachers dead.
Chief Pete Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News on Friday that he decided to resign for the good of the city administration. He was elected to the District 3 council seat on May 7 and was sworn in, in a closed-door ceremony, on May 31, just a week after the massacre.
“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to resign as a member of the District 3 City Council. The Mayor, City Council and City staff must continue to move forward without distraction. . I feel that this is the best decision for Uvalde,” said Arredondo.
Arredondo, who has been on administrative leave from the school district since June 22, has repeatedly declined requests for comment from The Associated Press. His attorney, George Hyde, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment Saturday.
Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a state Senate hearing last month that Arredondo, the on-scene commander, made “terrible decisions” as the massacre unfolded on May 24, and that the police response was an “abject failure”.
Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, there were enough armed law enforcement officers on the scene to apprehend the shooter, McCraw testified. However, police officers armed with rifles waited in a hallway at the school for more than an hour as the gunman carried out the massacre. The classroom door was not lockable from the inside, but there is no indication that officers tried to open the door while the shooter was inside, McCraw said.
Jessie Rodriguez, the father of 10-year-old Robb Elementary School shooting victim Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, holds a picture of her as she protests the removal of Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo next to the memorial to the victims of the shooting, in Uvalde Town. Square, Texas, USA, June 11, 2022. Photo by Lisa Krantz/Reuters
McCraw has said parents begged police outside the school to move out and students inside the classroom repeatedly pleaded with 911 operators for help as more than a dozen officers waited in a hallway. Officers from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move out because the children were in danger.
“The only thing that stopped a hallway of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the commander on scene who decided to put the lives of the officers before the lives of the children,” McCraw said.
Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the commander in charge of the operations and that he assumed someone else had taken control of the police response. He said he didn’t have the police and campus radios, but he used his cell phone to ask for tactical gear, a sniper and the keys to the classroom.
It is still unclear why the police took so long to enter the classroom, how they communicated with each other during the attack, and what their body cameras show.
Officials have declined to reveal any further details, citing the investigation.
Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and spent much of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city.
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