Pete Arredondo, Uvalde School District Police Chief, was put on administrative leave Wednesday, the school inspector said. The action takes effect immediately.
Dr. Hal Harrell said in a statement that although the district wanted to await the investigation of law enforcement’s response to the deadly mass shooting before making any decisions, he went ahead and put Arredondo on leave “due to the lack of clarity left. “and the” unknown time “for when the investigation will end.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez will fill the role while Arredondo is on leave, Harrell said.
Arredondo has been met with intense criticism since. He was responsible for the police response that day, and investigations have revealed several errors, including that the police had the opportunity to shoot the gunman of his arrival at school and instead left him in school for over an hour. Police also never investigated whether the door to the classroom where the gunman was locked up was locked.
Not only has Arredondo been questioned, but the subsequent investigation into the shooting reaction has also raised red flags, with many feeling confused about what actually happened that day.
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety, accusing state troops of not sharing information with the public but instead pointing fingers at Uvalde School Police.
“They want to give us excerpts from body camera footage from the local police, but they want to hold on to their own body camera footage,” Gutierrez said of the Texas State Troopers. “We found out yesterday that there were 91 officers on site from the Department of Public Safety.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin blames the feet of state authorities, who he says have been responsible for keeping citizens in the dark.
McLaughlin told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca that he was last briefed by the DPS on the morning of May 25, a day after the shooting.
“I’ve contacted them every day. I’m not getting anything out of them,” McLaughlin said.
The search for answers has made the local community and family members feel lost in the middle of the struggle to find answers. Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed, said the mixed messages from officials are frustrating and hurtful.
The news comes as state lawmakers continue to focus on mental health and gun safety after the aftermath of the shooting.
McGraw said Tuesday that the shooter was “heading for violence” when he dropped out of high school as a 17-year-old and had asked a family member to buy him a weapon. Also on Tuesday, McLaughlin promised that no Uvalde student or teacher will ever step foot in Robb Elementary again, saying it is his understanding that the building will be demolished.