Pete Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde school district, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday, the school’s superintendent said. The suspension is effective immediately.
Dr. Hal Harrell said in a statement that while the district wanted to wait for the investigation into law enforcement responses to the deadly mass shooting to be completed before making any decisions, it went ahead and placed Arredondo on leave “because to the lack of clarity that remains” and the “unknown timing” of when the investigation will be concluded.
Lt. Mike Hernandez will fill the role while Arredondo is on leave, Harrell said.
Arredondo has been the subject of intense criticism since the. He was in charge of the police response that day, and investigations have revealed several flaws, including that the police had an opportunity to shoot the gunman. of his arrival at school and left him at school for more than an hour. The police also never checked to see if the door to the classroom where the gunman was hiding was locked.
Arredondo has not only faced questioning, but the subsequent investigation into the response to the shooting has also raised red flags, with many left confused about what really happened that day.
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety, accusing state troopers of not sharing information with the public, but rather of pointing fingers at Uvalde school police.
“They want to give us snippets of body camera footage from local police, but they want to keep their own body camera footage,” Gutierrez said of the Texas State Troopers. “Yesterday we discovered that there were 91 officers on site from the Department of Public Safety.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin blames state authorities, who he says have been responsible for keeping citizens in the dark.
McLaughlin told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca that he was last briefed by DPS on the morning of May 25, the day after the shooting.
“I’ve 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 are frustrating and hurtful.
The news comes as state lawmakers continue to focus on mental health and gun safety in the aftermath of the shooting.
McGraw said Tuesday that the shooter was “on the road to violence” as 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 set foot in Robb Elementary again and said he understands the building will be torn down.