UWALDE, Texas. The Uwalde School District Police Chief was placed on leave Wednesday following allegations that he made a mistake in his response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Uvalde Unified Independent School District superintendent Hal Harrell said he has placed school police chief Pete Arredondo on administrative leave and that another officer will take over the duties of the warden. In his statement, Harrell did not give a reason for Arredondo’s removal, but said it remains unclear when county officials will know the results of the investigation into the shooting.
Colonel Stephen McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a State Senate hearing Tuesday that Arredondo – the commander on the ground – made “terrible decisions” when the massacre unfolded on May 24 and that the police response was harsh. “terrible failure”.
McCraw testified that three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, enough military law enforcement arrived on the scene to stop the perpetrator. However, police officers armed with rifles waited in the school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman carried out the massacre. According to McCraw, the door to the classroom could not have been locked from the inside, but there is no indication that the officers tried to open the door while the shooter was inside.
McCraw said parents begged police outside the school to move, and students in the classroom repeatedly pleaded with emergency operators for help while more than a dozen police officers waited in the hallway. Officers from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move because the children were in danger.
“The only thing stopping the loyal officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the commander on the scene, who decided to put the lives of the officers ahead of the lives of the children,” McCraw said.