HOUSTON — The Uvalde, Texas, school district police chief has been placed on administrative leave after the state’s top police official blamed him for delaying a confrontation with a gunman at the Robb Elementary School last month, the school district announced Wednesday.
Chief Pete Arredondo was among the first officers to respond to the school after the shooting began May 24 and, according to State Police Director Steven McCraw, was the incident commander for the response.
Although officers from multiple agencies entered the school minutes after a gunman opened fire in two connected classrooms, they waited more than an hour before confronting and killing him. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the attack.
School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a press release that he planned “to await the completion of the investigation before making personnel decisions.” But he said he ultimately made the decision to furlough the chief due to “the remaining lack of clarity and the unknown when I will receive the results”.
Lt. Mike Hernandez will assume the role of department head, Dr. Harrell said. It has six uniformed members and the jurisdiction of the schools of Uvalde.
Chief Arredondo defended his decision-making and said in an interview this month that he did not believe he was in charge of the response at Robb Elementary School. The law firm representing him declined to comment further on Wednesday.