On Wednesday, the Uvalde Independent School District (UISD) Police chief Peter Arredondo was placed on administrative leave. The decision comes as Arredondo continues to face public criticism and outrage over his response to the shooting that claimed 21 lives at Robb Elementary on May 24.
“Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date,” School district Superintendent Hal Harrell said.
Harrell said he initially wanted to wait until the investigations concluded before making personnel decisions but explained that he still lacked the “details of the investigations” from the agencies working on the shooting.
Reportedly Arredondo testified before the Texas House committee on Tuesday as they looked into the shooting details. Also, the Uvalde City Council configured a plan surrounding Arredondo’s newly elected seat. After an impassionate speech from Uvalde resident Kim Hammond, the city council voted not to extend Arredondo a leave of absence; instead, if he wants to keep his seat, he must attend meetings and face his constituents.
The Uvalde community and the country are still searching for answers to why it took law enforcement over an hour to breach the classroom and kill the shooter.
A new surveillance video emerged on Tuesday showing law enforcement officers inside Robb Elementary’s hallway armed with rifles and at least one ballistic shield. The Texas Tribune reported the surveillance footage time at 12:04 pm shows multiple armed officers in the hallway. Yet it was 12:50 pm when an off-duty border patrol officer breached the classroom and killed the gunman.
The classroom doors were supposed to lock automatically. However, the video footage reveals the shooter darted in and out of the door unobstructed at least three times. The surveillance video increases the scrutiny on the police chief’s response – officers didn’t try to open the door they assumed locked when it closed.
On Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw testified before the Texas House and called Arredondo’s response an “abject failure” and the antithesis of the “Columbine Doctrine” of “stop the killing, stop the dying,” as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Bill Francis, a former FBI agent who was a senior leader on the bureau’s hostage rescue team for 17 years, told the New York Times, “the longer you delay in finding and eliminating that threat, the longer he has to continue to kill other victims.”