The Uvalde School District Board has decided to suspend Police Chief Pete Arredondo, effective today. The decision comes amid criticism over police actions during the Robb Elementary School massacre, which claimed the lives of 19 children and 2 female teachers.
The news was known through a statement released by the superintendent, Hal Harrell. “From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making decisions staff,” the document states.
Harrell added that it’s not yet clear when district officials will know the outcome of the shooting investigation.
Criticism of the actions of the police, which took an hour and 19 minutes to act during the massacre, has increased, while Arredondo had maintained, until now, that he did not consider himself the person in charge of the operation and took it for granted that someone else had taken command.
The police response to Uvalde: a “vile failure”
Arredondo has come under increased scrutiny after Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, called his response to the shooting “a vile failure” during a public hearing in the Texas Senate chamber, also Tuesday.
The public security chief presented a timeline indicating that three officers with two rifles entered the building less than three minutes after the gunman, an 18-year-old with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Several more agents entered minutes later. Two of the officers who entered the hallway at the beginning sustained minor gunshot wounds..
The decision not to act goes against what police have learned in the two decades since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado that killed 13 people in 1999, McCraw said. “You don’t have to wait for a SWAT team. One agent is enough,” he stated.