Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo was placed on administrative leave Wednesday, the school superintendent said. The action is effective immediately.
Dr. Hal Harrell said in a statement that while the district wanted to wait until the investigation into law enforcement responses to the deadly mass shooting was complete before making any decisions, it went from l before and put Arredondo on leave “due to the remaining lack of clarity” and the “unknown timing” of the investigation’s conclusion.
Lt. Mike Hernandez will fill the role while Arredondo is on leave, Harrell said.
Arredondo has come under heavy criticism since the. He was in charge of the law enforcement response that day, and investigations revealed several failures, including that police had the opportunity to shoot the shooter. of his arrival at school and instead left him in the school for over an hour. The police also never checked whether the door to the classroom where the shooter was locked up was locked.
Not only was Arredondo questioned, but the ensuing investigation into the response to the shooting also raised red flags, with many feeling confused as to what really happened that day.
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety on Wednesday, accusing state troopers of not sharing information with the public, but of pointing fingers the police of the school of Uvalde.
“They want to give us excerpts of local police body camera footage, but they want to keep their own body camera footage,” Gutierrez said of the Texas State Troopers. “We found out yesterday that there were 91 officers at the scene from the Department of Public Security.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin blames state authorities, who he says are responsible for keeping citizens in the dark.
McLaughlin told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca that he was last notified by DPS on the morning of May 25, a day after the shooting.
“I contacted them every day. I don’t get anything from them,” McLaughlin said.
The search for answers has left community and family members feeling lost in the struggle to find answers. Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed, said the mixed messages from officials were frustrating and hurtful.
The news comes as state lawmakers continue to focus on mental health and gun safety following the aftermath of the shooting.
McGraw said on Tuesday the shooter was “on the path to violence” after he dropped out of high school at 17 and asked a family member to buy him a gun. Also Tuesday, McLaughlin vowed that no Uvalde student or teacher will ever set foot in Robb Elementary again, saying he understands the building will be demolished.