UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — The police chief of the Uvalde school district has resigned from his position on the city council just weeks after being sworn in following allegations of wrongdoing in response to a mass shooting at Rob Elementary School, in which 19 students And the students were left. death of two teachers
Chief Pete Arredondo told Uvalde Leader-News on Friday that he had decided to step down for the good of the city. He was elected to the council on 7 May and was sworn in in a closed room 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.
Uvalde City Council issued a statement on Saturday saying members could not comment because they had not received official notice of Arredondo’s intention to resign.
“While it is the right thing to do, no one from the city has seen or spoken to his resignation letter or any other document,” council members said. “When the City receives confirmation of Councilor Arredondo’s resignation, the City will address the vacancy of the Council’s position.”
Representatives for Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin have not responded to the Associated Press’s requests for comment.
Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a state Senate hearing last month that Arredondo — the on-site commander — made “terrible decisions” after the massacre unfolded on May 24, and that the police response was a “Great failure.”
Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, law enforcement armed enough to stop the gunman was on 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 has spent most of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city.