The Texas elementary school police chief, where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers, was fired administratively amid outrage because officers did not intervene earlier to stop the shooter.
Under the command of Pete Arredondo, police chief of the Uvalde school district, officers detained for about an hour and 15 minutes outside the classrooms where an 18-year-old boy with an AR-15 had opened fire on children and teachers, they said. to the Texas State Police.
Amid ongoing federal and state investigations into police conduct during the May 24 massacre at Robb de Uvalde Elementary, District Superintendent Hal Harrell announced that Arredondo would be laid off.
“Today I am still without details of the investigations that are being carried out by various agencies,” Harrell said. “Due to 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 put Chief Arredondo on administrative leave with effect on this date.”
Neither Arredondo nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment.
At a state hearing investigating the shooting, Texas Public Safety Chief Steve McCraw said police response was an “abject failure” and that officers could detain the shooter three minutes after they arrived at the scene.
“The only thing that kept a corridor of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the commander at the place who decided to put the life of the officers before that of the children,” McCraw said.
McCraw’s scathing rebuke to Arredondo came after weeks of contradictory and misleading statements by police and local officials about officers’ response to the shooting. This week, the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV found that officers were equipped with the firepower and equipment needed to break down classroom doors and detain the gunman, and transcripts and records obtained by the Texas Tribune revealed that some officers were eager to go. despite orders to fall behind.
During the massacre, parents begged officers to move and called 911 for help while officers waited in the hallway.
Outrage over officers who were left behind for 77 minutes while students died has increased since then. Arredondo “failed us,” said Berlinda Arreola, grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, one of the murdered students. “We are begging: get this man out of our lives,” he said at a meeting in which he called for his resignation from public office.
Arredondo was also sworn in as Uvalde City Councilman shortly after the shooting, but did not attend the meetings. The council denied his request on Wednesday morning leave for future meetings. The mayor said he would vote to replace Arredondo if he misses three consecutive meetings.
The besieged police chief differed from other police sources in his account of what happened at Robb Primary, telling the Texas Tribune that he was not considered the commander at the scene.
In light of contradictory statements from law enforcement agencies, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez on Wednesday sued the Department of Public Safety as a way to force it to release records detailing officers’ response to the shooting.
“In the wake of the senseless tragedy, the people of Uvalde and Texas have demanded answers from their government,” Gutierrez said in the lawsuit. “To date, there have been lies, misrepresentations and changes in guilt.”
Uvalde police chief is on leave over indignation at shooter inaction | Texas school shooting
Source link Uvalde police chief is on leave over indignation at shooter inaction | Texas school shooting