Ovaldi, Texas – The chief of the Uvald Education County Sheriff was placed on furlough Wednesday after he allegedly misrepresented his response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers.
Hal Harrell, Uvald Independent Unified School District superintendent, said he has placed Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo on administrative leave and that another officer will take over the duties of the embattled president. In a statement, Harrell did not give a reason for Arredondo’s removal but said it remains unclear when district officials will know the outcome of the investigation into the shooting.
Col. Stephen McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a Senate hearing Tuesday that Arredondo — the field commander — made “terrible decisions” when the massacre unfolded on May 24, and that the police response was a “miserable failure.”
Macro testified that three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, there were enough armed law enforcement forces at the scene to stop the gunman. However, police officers armed with rifles waited in a 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.
McCro said that parents begged police outside the school to move in and students in 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.
“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,” Macro said.
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