Jun 22, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Uvalde schools police chief put on administrative leave

Law enforcement officers speak together outside of Robb Elementary School following the mass shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.

Law enforcement officers speak meet outside Robb Elementary School following the mass shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Pete Arredondo has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately, said Hal Harrell, superintendent of Uvalde CISD.

The big picture: Arredondo and other Texas law officials have faced criticism over why it took so long for officers to stop the Robb Elementary School shooter, who killed 19 children and two teachers.

Driving the news: Harrell said in a statement he originally planned to wait to make any personnel decisions until after the investigation into the Uvalde shooting was complete.

  • But Arredondo was put on leave due to "the lack of clarity that remains" in the investigation and the "unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations," Harrell said.
  • Lt. Mike Hernandez will assume the duties of the police chief.

Catch up quick: Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said late last month that Arredondo made "the wrong decision" by not breaching the classrooms where the gunman was with students and teachers.

  • McCraw said Arredondo thought the shooter was barricaded inside and it was not an active-shooter situation.
  • Arredondo and his lawyer, George Hyde, defended his actions on the day of the shooting in an interview with the Texas Tribune this week.
  • Hyde told the Tribune that the police chief didn’t think he was the incident commander on the scene because he was acting as a first responder to the shooting.

What he's saying: Arredondo, who was sworn in as a city council member at the end of May, was previously accused of ignoring interview requests in the state's probe into the shooting.

  • But he and his lawyer told the Tribune he was open to cooperating with investigations as long as he can see his previous transcripts first.
  • "That's a fair thing to ask for before he has to then discuss it again because, as time goes by, all the information that he hears, it’s hard to keep straight," Hyde said.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Hal Harrell and further context.

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