Pete Arredondo, Uvalde School Police Chief, on Leave After Mass Shooting

UVALDE, Texas — The Uvalde school district police chief was sent on leave on Wednesday after allegations that he made a mistake in his response to the Robb Elementary School mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said he had placed the school’s Police Chief Pete Arredondo on administrative leave and another officer would take over from the embattled chief. In a statement, Harrell gave no reason for Arredondo’s removal, but said it remains unclear when district officials will know the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.

Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that Arredondo — the on-site commander — made “terrible decisions” as the massacre unfolded on May 24, and police response an “abject failure.”

Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, enough armed police were on the scene to stop the gunman, McCraw testified. Still, police officers armed with guns waited more than an hour in a school hallway as the gunman carried out the massacre. The classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there is no evidence that officers attempted to open the door while the gunman was inside, McCraw said.

McCraw has said parents begged the police outside the school to come in and students in the classroom repeatedly begged 911 operators for help as more than a dozen officers waited in a hallway. Agents from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move in because children were at risk.

“The only thing that kept a corridor of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-site commander who decided to put officers’ lives over children’s lives,” McCraw said.

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