Uvalde School District places Pete Arredondo on administrative leave

The superintendent announced that the Texas school district police chief where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting has been placed on administrative leave.

Pete Ardondo, Ovaldi Independent School District Police Chief, has come under fire for his handling of the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, which killed 19 third and fourth graders and two teachers, and for the decision to delay police entry into the school. The chapters in which the gunman carried out the attack. Arredondo served as the incident commander at the scene of the shooting.

The school district said in a statement on Wednesday that the leave will go into effect immediately. Lieutenant Mike Hernandez will take over as chief of police, said Dr. Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvald Independent Unified School District.

“Since the beginning of this terrible event, I have shared that the district will wait until the investigation is complete before making personnel decisions,” Harrell said. “Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by the various agencies. Due to the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when the results of the investigations will be received, I have taken the decision to place President Arredondo on administrative leave in effect on this date.”

Arredondo was the only witness in the shooting hearing that took place during an executive session of the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday. Later that night, the Uvalde City Council unanimously rejected Arredondo’s request for leave from future meetings. Arredondo was sworn in as a city councilor at the end of May.

During a state Senate hearing Tuesday on school safety, police training and social media in the aftermath of the shooting, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Stephen McCraw read aloud a transcript of police radio communications, revealing that about an hour after the gunman entered the school, he said Officer to the chief of police: “People will ask why it took us so long.”

“We are trying to preserve life,” Arredondo replied, in the text.

Parents and community members called for Arredondo’s resignation on Monday, with many arguing that law enforcement should be held partly responsible for the tragedy over what was described as an inappropriate decision-making.

Earlier this month, Arredondo told The Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the commanding officer at the scene on the day of the shooting, and no one told him about the 911 calls that came in the 77 minutes before the gunman was shot down.

“We responded to the information we had and had to adapt to what we faced,” he said. “Our goal was to save as many lives as possible, and getting students out of the classroom by everyone involved saved more than 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we could get to the shooter and eliminate the threat.”

State investigators believe, according to an initial assessment, that the decision to delay police entry to the classroom was made in order to allow time for protective equipment to reach the scene, according to an official who has seen a closed presentation by the Texas chief of administration. From Public Safety he told ABC News earlier this month.

However, waiting for protective equipment goes against the active fire protocols that have been adopted by law enforcement agencies across the country in the past 20 years.

ABC News’ Aaron Katersky and Bonnie McClain contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment