Nov 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Acting Uvalde police chief during shooting steps down

Photo of crosses bearing flowers and names standing in the ground in front of the Robb Elementary School sign

Crosses set up to honor those who lost their lives during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

The Uvalde police officer who served as acting police chief during the Robb Elementary School shooting has stepped down, AP reports.

Driving the news: Lt. Mariano Pargas, who had been suspended with pay since July, faced renewed backlash after CNN published audio showing that he knew there were children alive and begging for rescue but walked away from the locked classroom without taking action.

  • It ultimately took law enforcement 77 minutes to break into the classroom and kill the gunman, a time lapse that faced scrutiny and led to distrust among community members who questioned the lack of an immediate response.
  • The gunman killed 19 children and two adults in the rampage.

The office of Mayor Don McLaughlin did not immediately respond to an Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: Several officers across a number of law enforcement agencies have been subject to investigation since the May shooting.

  • In August, the Uvalde school board voted to fire Pete Arredondo, who served as the "incident commander" overseeing law enforcement's response to the school shooting.
  • Pargas, along with the city of Uvalde and the school district, currently faces a lawsuit from the families of three survivors and has largely declined to comment on anything involving the police department.
  • He has also faced calls to quit his role as a Uvalde county commissioner, per CNN.

Worth noting: The Uvalde school district in October suspended its entire police force in a bid to focus on conducting a review with the Texas Police Chiefs Association over management and organizational policies.

  • The goal is to rebuild the police department and hire a new chief of police.

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

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