SAN ANTONIO — Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district police chief under intense scrutiny for his handling of the law enforcement response at the Robb Elementary shooting last month, has been placed on administrative leave.
Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell announced the move Wednesday afternoon, one day after Texas public safety leaders called the police handling of the May 24 situation — when an 18-year-old gunman was inside the school for an hour, killing 19 children and two teachers — an "abject failure." Recent reports and analysis of Robb surveillance footage provided to media has yielded contradictions in Arredondo's account of that response, including his assertion that authorities attempted to open the doors into the classroom where the gunman was.
Harrell said the decision was effective immediately, pointing to a continued "lack of clarity" concerning the events of May 24 and the "unknown timing" of ongoing investigations." He added he plans to wait until those investigations are completed before making more permanent personnel decisions, presumably talking about Arredondo.
Mike Hernandez, a lieutenant within the Uvalde CISD police force, will assume Arredondo's duties in the interim.
Arredondo faces the possibility of his newly acquired City Council seat being vacated if he misses the next two meetings. Councilmembers unanimously denied a leave of absence requested by Arredondo Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he expects Robb Elementary to be demolished following the May massacre. A timeline for that demolishing hasn't been provided.
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