On Wednesday, Uvalde Consolidated Independent Schools District put Police Chief Pete Arredondo in administrative leave. According to a Uvalde CISD press release, Dr. Hal Harrell said that he has placed Arredondo under administrative leave despite his earlier declaration that he would await a thorough investigation before making any personnel decisions.
Harrell said that there is still a lack in clarity and uncertainty about when results from an investigation would be revealed. Harrell stated that his decision takes effect immediately. The press release does not specify whether Arredondo’s administrative leave will be paid or unpaid. Harrell did not release any other details about the personnel decision.
Arredondo is the Chief of Police at UCISD. He was criticized for leading the department’s six-man police force in the Robb Elementary Shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in May. Officials have named Arredondo as the commander on the scene, since he was one of the first to respond to the shooting.
Steve McCraw from the Texas Department of Public Safety testified to Congress on Tuesday about how the Texas law enforcement responded to the shooting. “an abject failure.”McCraw explained to members of the committee that Arredondo, the on-scene commanding officer, caused delays in law enforcement breaking into adjoining classrooms, where the school shooter kept first responders at bay for more than one hour.
Border Patrol agents along with local and state authorities quickly killed the gunman. Arredondo said that the reason for the inability to gain entry to the classroom was due to the need to search for the keys to unlock the doors. According to Breitbart Texas authorities, one of the classroom doors might not have been locked or be lockable due to mechanical problems.
Arredondo refuted the idea that he was in charge of the response. Arredondo told the Tribune that he thought he was a first responder, and that somebody outside the building assumed control of the response. The Tribune reports that Arredondo reported finding both classroom doors locked and another officer checking them.
Arredondo has stated that he and local officers of law enforcement who responded to this shooting were justified in telling the Tribune. “Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children. We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. His previous duties included the role of Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations. This was responsible for the operation for nine Border Patrol Stations located in the Del Rio sector, Texas. Follow Randy Clark on Twitter at @RandyClarkBBTX
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