Uvalde, Texas, school police chief resigns from city council amid backlash over shooting response

The sheriff of the Uvalde, Texas school district has resigned from the City Council just weeks after being sworn in following allegations that he erred in the Robb Elementary School mass shooting that left 19 students students and two teachers were killed.

Pete Arredondo said in a letter Friday that he has decided to step down in the city’s interest and “to minimize further distractions.” He was elected to the council on May 7 and was sworn in on May 31, just a week after the massacre, in a closed ceremony.

“The mayor, city council and city staff must keep moving forward to unite our community once again,” Arredondo said in his resignation, first reported by Uvalde Leader-News.

Arredondo, who has been on administrative leave from his district position since June 22, has repeatedly declined requests for comment from the Associated Press. His attorney, George Hyde, did not immediately respond to email requests for comment on Saturday.

On June 21, the City Council voted unanimously to deny Arredondo a leave of absence from appearing at public meetings. Relatives of the shooting victims pleaded with city leaders to fire him.

A campaign sign for Arredondo is seen in Uvalde on May 29. (Veronica G. Cardenas / Reuters)

Uvalde City Council published Arredondo’s resignation letter on Saturday, after city officials received notification of his intention to resign by email, but did not comment further.

A representative for Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin did not respond to the AP’s request for comment.

Police response called ‘cancellation failure’

Colonel Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a state Senate hearing last month that Arredondo – the commanding officer on the spot – made a “terrible decision” when the massacre took place. on May 24 and the police response was a “disastrous failure.”

Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, fully armed law enforcement arrived to stop the gunman, McCraw said. However, police officers armed with rifles stood and waited in the school corridor for more than an hour while the gunman carried out the massacre. The classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there was no indication that officers attempted to open the door while the gunman was inside, McCraw said.

McCraw said parents pleaded with police outside the school to move in and students inside the classroom repeatedly pleaded for help from 911 operators while more than a dozen officers waited in the hallways. . Officials from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move in because the children were in danger.

“The only thing stopping the passage of dedicated officers into rooms 111 and 112 was the commander on the scene, who decided to put the lives of the officers before the lives of the children,” McCraw said. .

Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he does not consider himself the commander in charge of operations and that he believes someone has controlled the response of law enforcement. He said he didn’t have a police station or a school radio but he used his cell phone to call in tactical gear, snipers and classroom keys.

Children run to safety after escaping from a window during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24. (Pete Luna / Uvalde Leader-News / Reuters)

It remains unclear why it took police so long to enter the classroom, how they communicated with each other during the attack, and what their body cameras showed.

Officials declined to release further details, citing the investigation.

Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and has spent most of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city.

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