The police chief of the Uvalde school district resigned from his position on the city council just weeks after being sworn in on charges of erring in his response to the mass shootings at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Chief Pete Arredondo told Uvalde Leader-News on Friday that he had decided to step down for the good of the city administration. He was elected to the District 3 Council position on 7 May and was sworn in in a closed-door ceremony on 31 May, just a week after the massacre.
“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who have voted for me that I have decided to step down as a member of the city council for District 3. The mayor, city council and city staff We must continue to move forward without distraction. I think it is the best decision for Uvalde,” Arredondo said.
Arredondo, who has been on administrative leave from his school district position since June 22, has repeatedly declined a request for comment from the Associated Press. His attorney, George Hyde, did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment on Saturday.
On June 21, the city council voted unanimously to deny Arredondo a leave of absence from attending public meetings. The families of those killed in the shooting had urged the city leaders to sack them.
Representatives for Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a state Senate hearing last month that after the massacre unfolded on May 24, Arredondo — the on-site commander — made “terrible decisions,” and the police response was a “Great failure.”
Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, law enforcement officers sufficiently armed to stop the gunman were at the scene, McCraw testified. Yet police officers armed with rifles stood and waited in the school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman carried out the massacre.
McCraw said the classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there was no indication that officers tried to open the door while the gunman was inside.
McCraw said parents begged police outside the school to let them in, and students inside the classroom repeatedly called for help from 911 operators while more than a dozen officers waited in a hallway. Were. Officials from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them in because the children were in danger.
“The only thing preventing dedicated officers’ hallways from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to put the officers’ lives before the lives of the children,” McCraw said.
Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he does not consider himself the commander in charge of operations and that someone else has taken control of the law enforcement response. He said he didn’t have police and campus radios, but used his cellphone to stash tactical gear, a sniper and classroom keys.
It is still unclear why it took the police so long to enter the classroom, how they communicated with each other during the attack and what their body cameras showed.
Officials have declined to release further details, citing the investigation.
Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and spent most of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city.