19 children and when Pete Arredondo, Rob incident school commander Two adults were killed Last month, he was placed on administrative leave, Uvalde Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell announced Wednesday.
“From the beginning of this horrific incident, I shared that the district will wait until the investigation is complete before staff make a decision,” Harrell explained. “Even today, I am still without the details of the investigations being carried out by various agencies. Because there is still no clarity and it is unknown at this time when I will get the results of the investigation, I have decided to appoint Chief Arredondo. Administrative leave will apply from this date.”
Everyone from Texas Public Safety Director Steven McCroe to parents in the Uvalde community have sharply criticized Aredondo for his response to last month’s shooting.
Aredondo entered Rob Elementary School a few minutes after the gunman arrived on May 24, but authorities did not enter the classroom and did not expel the suspect for more than 70 minutes, a delay McCroney called a “failure” this week.
Uvalde shooting: Texas DPS officers bring Rob Elementary School door to state capital before hearing
“Three minutes after the suspect entered the building on the west side, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” McCraw told a special committee of the Texas Senate on Tuesday.
“The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to put the lives of the officers before the lives of the children.”
Within 20 minutes of the shooting, the ballistic shield and some officers were inside the school with rifles, but Aredondo decided to wait to get more tactical gear, firepower and keys to open the door, which was not necessary. Because, according to McCraw, the door was unlocked the entire time.
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Aredondo, in only public comments after the shooting, told the Texas Tribune that he had “not issued any orders” and did not consider himself the commander of the incident.
Lt. Mike Hernandez, a member of the Uvalde School District 6-person police force, will assume the duties of the school’s police chief, the superintendent said Wednesday.