Ovaldi School Police Chief Pete Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave

Uvald School District Police Chief Peter Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Director Dr. Hal Harrell announced the decision in a statement released Wednesday.

Harrell said that although he plans to wait until the May 24 shooting investigation is complete to make decisions on staff, the “lack of clarity” or upcoming timeline from the agencies involved prompted him to make the decision to put Arredondo on leave.

Harrell did not specify why he chose to put Arredondo on furlough, but the decision came as the police chief’s questionable decisions during the mass shooting saw renewed scrutiny during this week’s Texas Senate hearing on the shooting.

He said Arredondo will be replaced by Lt. Mike Hernandez, and that the school district will be looking for “qualified candidates” to join the police force for the next school year.

Uvald School District Police Chief Peter Arredondo was placed on administrative leave, effective immediately on Wednesday

In the statement, Harrell wrote: “Since the beginning of this terrible event, I have shared that the district will wait until the investigation is complete before making personnel decisions, and today, I am still without details of the investigation being conducted by the various agencies. “

“Due to the still unclear timing and unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigation, I have taken the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave in effect on this date.”

Harrell added that no further information would be provided about the decision, calling it a “personal matter.”

Speaking at a state Senate hearing on Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Chief Steve McCrow criticized the police response to the May 24 massacre as

Speaking at a state Senate hearing on Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Chief Steve McCrow slammed the police response to the May 24 massacre as a “miserable failure” and that school district police “decided to put the lives of officers before the lives of children.”

Footage from inside Robb Elementary School shows heavily armed police officers standing.  They were told not to engage the gunman for more than an hour

Footage from inside Robb Elementary School shows heavily armed police officers standing. They were told not to engage the gunman for more than an hour

Arredondo was shot in the weeks following the shooting after he was accused as the man responsible for the failed police response to the shooting.

Police at the scene were reportedly ordered to remain in place for more than an hour and not to confront gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, after he barricaded himself inside a packed fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.

At a Senate hearing yesterday, Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steve McCroe blamed Arredondo for the police response, which he called a “miserable failure.”

In a scathing speech, Makro said the district chief had “decided to put the lives of officers over the lives of children.”

“The only thing that prevented the dedicated officers’ corridor from entering Room 111 and 112 was the commander on site, who decided to put the officers’ lives before the lives of children,” McCro said. The officers had guns – the kids didn’t have any. The officers wore body armor – the children had none.

McCro said that parents begged police outside the school to move in and students inside the classroom repeatedly asked for help from 911 workers while more than a dozen officers waited in the hallway. Officers from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move because the children were in danger.

Police help students evacuate Robb Primary School during May 24 massacre

Police help students evacuate Robb Primary School during May 24 massacre

Salvador Ramos, 18, holed up in a classroom full of students.  Arredondo asked the officer to wait more than an hour before engaging the gunman

Salvador Ramos, 18, holed up in a classroom full of students. Arredondo asked the officer to wait more than an hour before engaging the gunman

In another surprising revelation, McCraw revealed that the classroom door that Ramos was hiding behind wasn’t locked – contradicting earlier assertions from Arredondo’s department that the head of the school was overheating. Trying to track down the keys for more than an hour, to open the fourth-grade classroom door.

The Statesman reported that officials said at the time that they did not believe the officers tried to open the door.

On Tuesday, McCroe revealed that the classroom doors “cannot lock from the inside,” and that officers did not storm the building out of fear of being shot.

“One hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds,” McCro said. “That’s how long the kids waited and the teachers waited.”

Makro continued: “While they waited, the commander on the spot waited for radios and guns, waited for shields, and waited for SWAT.

“Finally, wait for a key that was never needed.”

Makro added that even if the door was locked, the officers had the means to open it.

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