Since the massacre, police in the Uvalde school district have come under fire from criticism. Its chief, Pete Arredondo, in charge of operations when a shooter killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24, has been suspended, the district superintendent announced on Wednesday.
“From the beginning of this horrific event, I have maintained that the district will wait until the investigation is completed before making personnel decisions (…). Due to the remaining lack of clarity and the unknown timing on when I will receive the results of the investigation, I have made the decision to place Chief (Pete) Arredondo on administrative leave, effective today. today,” Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a statement.
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Criticisms of the time taken by the police to enter the classroom
The announcement comes a day after heavy criticism from Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw over the police response to the massacre. He had notably castigated the fact that Pete Arredondo had decided to “put the lives of agents before those of children”.
“We know one thing: there is compelling evidence that law enforcement’s response to the attack on Robb Elementary School was an utter failure and goes against everything we have learned at two decades since the Columbine massacre” at a high school in 1999, he said.
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The time taken by the police – more than an hour – to enter the classroom and kill the 18-year-old shooter has been the subject of strong criticism since the killing, and Steven McCraw had driven the point home during this television hearing. “The officers had weapons, the children did not. The officers had bulletproof vests, the children did not. The agents were trained, not the shooter,” he added.
The mayor of Uvalde also announced on Tuesday that Robb Elementary School would be “demolished”. “You can never ask a child or a teacher to come back to this school,” said Don McLoughlin.