Jul 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Acting Uvalde police chief during shooting placed on leave

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin (center with walking cane) visits the memorial for the Robb Elementary School students and teachers at the City of Uvalde Town Square on May 29, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin (C) visits the memorial for the Robb Elementary School students and teachers at the City of Uvalde Town Square in Uvalde, Texas, in May. Photo: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Uvalde's mayor announced Sunday that the acting city police chief on the day of the Robb Elementary School massacre has been placed on leave after a new report found "systemic failures" by authorities during the shooting.

What they're saying: "This administrative leave is to investigate whether Lt. [Mariano] Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24th, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations," Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a statement.

The big picture: Sunday's report by a Texas House of Representatives committee found 376 law enforcement officers who responded to the scene of the mass shooting lacked clear leadership and communication as well as urgency to stop the gunman.

  • Pargas testified before the committee that "he figured" that Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo "had jurisdiction over the incident and that he must have been coordinating the law enforcement response — and that the Uvalde Police were there to assist," according to the report.
  • Arredondo was placed on administrative leave last month after he and other Texas officials faced criticism over why it took so long for officers to stop the school shooter, who killed 19 children and two teachers.

Go deeper: Uvalde families, officials angry over early release of shooting footage

Editor's note: This article has been updated with further context.

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