Chief Pete Arredondo
Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo, third from left, stands during a news conference outside of the Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)
Previous Post
Next Post

By Jake Bleiberg, AP

The Uvalde school district’s police chief was put on leave Wednesday following allegations that he erred in his response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said that he put schools police Chief Pete Arredondo on administrative leave because the facts of what happened remain unclear. In a statement, Harrell did not address Arredondo’s actions as on-site commander during the attack but said he didn’t know when details of federal, state and local investigations into the law enforcement response to the slayings would be revealed.

“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,” Harrell said. “Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date.”

A spokesperson for the Uvalde school district, Anne Marie Espinoza, declined to say whether Arredondo would continue to be paid while on leave.

Another officer will assume the embattled chief’s duties, Harrell said.

Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a state Senate hearing on Tuesday that Arredondo made “terrible decisions” as the massacre unfolded on May 24 , and that the police response was an “abject failure.”

Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, sufficient armed law enforcement were on scene to stop the gunman, McCraw testified. Yet police officers armed with rifles waited in a school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman carried out the massacre. The classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there is no indication officers tried to open the door while the gunman was inside, McCraw said.

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

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” McCraw said.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin pushed back on McCraw’s testimony casting blame on Arredondo, saying the Department of Public Safety has repeatedly put out false information about the shooting and glossed over the role of its own officers.

McLaughlin called Tuesday’s Senate hearing a “clown show” and said he heard nothing from McCraw about state troopers’ involvement, even though McLaughlin said their number in the school hallway at points during the slaughter surpassed that of any other law enforcement agency.

Delays in the police response as the shooting was happening has become the focus of ongoing investigations and public outcry. Law enforcement has at times offered confusing and sometimes contradictory details and timelines that have drawn anger and frustration.

The Uvalde City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously against giving Arredondo — who is a council member — a leave of absence from appearing at public meetings. Relatives of the shooting victims had pleaded with city leaders to instead fire him.

“Please, please, we’re begging you, get this man out of our lives,” said Berlinda Arreola, the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old who was fatally shot in the attack.

Sen. Paul Bettencourt told the state Senate hearing that Arredondo should have stepped down straight away.

“This man should have removed himself from the job immediately because, just looking at his response, he was incapable of it,” Bettencourt said.

Arredondo and his lawyer have declined repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press and did not immediately respond to an inquiry Wednesday about his leave.

Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he didn’t consider himself the commander in charge of operations and that he assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response. He said he didn’t have his police and campus radios but that he used his cellphone to call for tactical gear, a sniper and the classroom keys.

It’s still not clear why it took so long for police to enter the classroom, how they communicated with each other during the attack, and what their body cameras show.

Officials have declined to release more details, citing the investigation.

Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and spent much of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city. He took the head police job at the school district in 2020 and was sworn in as a member of the City Council in a closed-door ceremony May 31.

Previous Post
Next Post

32 COMMENTS

  1. Folks can call me crazy and chide me all they want but this is what my instincts tell me; this so-called “Chief” was either assisted by the guvmint, or is corrupted and owned and operated by the drug cartels. Obviously we can’t say much for a lot of his officers neither. Sad but I cannot arrive at any other conclusion.

    • The chief was a figure head and when it came to stopping a murderous criminal he was as effective as a Gun Free Zone Sign.

      Blame for allowing the massacre to proceed starts with those running the school. It is their obligation and responsibility to protect children left in their care. Like the protection those children would have received at any well organized Gun Show.

      This stuff would end if my suggestion to hang the perp’s corpse in front of the White House was taken seriously. You want fame you got it buster.

      • Uh, no. You can’t expect anyone else to keep your child safe, regardless of their position. You are trusting teachers to fight off a gunman, get real. Just because you would do it doesn’t mean others will. All we can do is give them the option to arm themselves. The first option is to always escape.

        That said, this was 100% the polices fault. Did you research nothing? Video surveillance inside the school shows them delaying the whole time, telling kids to call out to them and getting themselves shot because the gunman realized they were alive. There is so much evidence the whole team dropped the ball and you are choosing to ignore it in typical “blue line” bootlicking fashion.

      • Figurehead. I can’t understand why any school district would have it’s own ‘police chief’. Whatever we choose to call them, school cops should be subordinate to city and county police forces, all of which should be subordinate to state police – or in this case, DPS troopers.

        There should always be a clear chain of command. Any time that chain of command is in question, then everyone involved has failed.

    • Cartels probably aren’t interested in owning the chief of a school district police force of 6 people. Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      • Except when the basis of the malice in such an increasingly obvious corruption case is stupidity itself. Stupidity alone cannot be the sole reason behind this sorry MoFo’s decision. Too hard for me to believe right now. “Cartels probably …” simply isn’t good enough. Obviously you don’t know cartels very well. This Chief is just such the fish they try to net. It doesn’t take but one simple act of corruption for this type of individual to be forever “owned”. If he’s 100% his own person this is far worse and he’s far worse than it appears now.

        The school district is not wholly at fault for this “Chief”. If they’ve exercised any authority over him that dictates the parameters of him exercising his authority then it may be a different story. In Texas all LEO(s) are supposed to be CERTIFIED PEACE OFFICERS and maintain a certain amount of class hours of training. However if they simply hired him based in part of recommendations, etc., but the approving administrators never served as LEO(s) themselves then blaming them for all his actions is hard to do. They should fire him at minimum but this situation can easily be argued as him being criminally negligent if he acted/decided solely on his own authority, and should be criminally charged by the state AG in my opinion.

      • Could be, but never underestimate the cartel either. There is more to a small town district than just a school. Lots of potential for them to hide there. But yea, that’s a big conspiracy theory stance lol. This was 100% stupidity and a failure to act swiftly.

  2. Keep going up the food chain to determine who gave the command to stand down. They will throw him under the bus, while the real culprit/s continue to push their anti-gun carnage. These children and teachers were sacrificed for a bigger agenda.

    • I cannot argue against this statement(s) to any extent whatsoever. IT IS ENTIRELY HORRIBLE THAT I STATE THIS, but I feel the same way.

    • I believe this to be exactly the case. Hard not to at this point. Both the crimes themselves as well as the repeated failures to respond as they all understand they must are just too unlikely. Occams razor applies.

  3. If the news reports are true the entire country should be outraged.

    I thought the protocol after Colimbine was the first police on the scene go in period. No waiting around.

    • Police have no duty to protect you and they certainly have no duty to protect defenseless children.

      The Supreme Court has reaffirmed this and legally nothing will happen to the officers involved. You watch it will be a we don’t want to blame any one and so on.

    • Speed, surprise and violence of action is the best way to handle these threats…but we are working with a broken system that would rather spend money on other countries problems, research projects than to use that for hardening potential targets and training.

  4. Anyone who heard this guy’s explanation of what happened knows that he is incompetent. Even fellow Sheriff’s have indicated they never heard an explanation like he gave for how things were handled. Given the number of shootings we have had over time like this, you would think they would have pre-planned and trained for how they would handle a variety of situations like this. There really is no excuse for botching things up this badly and destroying all those lives.

  5. If I was any of the officers including this chief that didn’t take action to immediately terminate the threat I don’t think I could live with myself. We can only hope that paid vacation is a step towards punishment.

  6. I was always willing to hear him out, but this was a big disaster. He should resign immediately and then, if it is possible, work to clear his name. If he can clear his name I am sure the good people Uvalde would re-hire him. I doubt it, but more unlikely things have happened. On, the other hand if his incompetence goes into the criminal zone he will be charged to the fullest extend of the law.

  7. I hope it is unpaid leave. Otherwise you might as well tell him to take a vacation?

    Firing would be the start. Tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail would be better. Unless grieving parents decide a rope and a tree are better options.

  8. He needs to be publicly flogged, castrated, flogged again, then subjected to a good old fashioned public stoning so that all of the parents of the murdered children can participate.

    • It is my understanding that he was recently elected to a position on the Uvalde City Council, so I’m guessing he’s being suspended from Kindergarten Kop duty for an even cushier no-responsibilities chair to park his fat ass into for the rest of his days… I’m thinking he’s got a picture of the mayor wearing Velcro knee-high socks with a number of sheep in the background.

  9. “Yet police officers armed with rifles waited in a school hallway for more than an hour while the gunman carried out the massacre.” EVERYONE?? was that stupid???? NO ONE thought to turn the door knob, check the door being open???? NO ONE had practiced/trained in door breaching????

    And, maybe that’s the way the event was scripted???

    Ignore the possibility, enable the probability.

    • 1st cop- “Hey, what the hell are we waiting for… Let’s get that bastard!”
      2nd cop- ” You kidding, he’s got an AR!”
      3rd cop- “We’ve got fifreen M4s !!”
      1st cop- “Yeah, but he knows how to use his.”

      • This is, unfortunately, probably the best explanation of what went down that day. It is an example of the left’s logic – that only the police should have such a terrible weapon of war, yet even when they possess such an overwhelming force multiplier, it’s perfectly reasonable to stand dwn and do NOTHING.
        And your comment above about the blackmail pictures has left an image in my brain for half a day – thanks for that. //s

  10. Every agency involved should be looking for recruits. I simply can’t imagine the scene in that hallway. I just can’t imagine how screwed up everything was. Nor can I imagine why NO ONE went to the outside window, where they could see into the classrooms.

    FFS, it doesn’t take a real sniper to take out some asshole in front of a window. Just a good marksman.

    Marksman fires through the window into the ceiling, to distract the gunman, while officers inside breach the doors to both classrooms. WTF is so difficult to understand about that?

    GET INSIDE NOW!! That should have been the overriding directive. Nothing else mattered.

  11. “The Uvalde school district’s police chief was put on leave…”

    He should have been put on the unemployment line.

  12. Heros, every single one of them. Why so many of you choose to worship agents of the state is beyond me.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here