Uvalde school police chief put on leave
A spokeswoman for the Uvalde school district, Anne Marie Espinoza, declined to say whether Arredondo would continue to be paid while on leave.
Another officer will assume the duties of the embattled leader, Harrell said.
Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a state Senate hearing on Tuesday that Arredondo made « terrible decisions » as the massacre unfolded on May 24, and that the police response was a « dismal failure ».
Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school, enough armed law enforcement was on hand to arrest the shooter, McCraw said. Still, police armed with rifles waited in a school hallway for more than an hour as the shooter carried out the massacre. The classroom door could not be locked from the inside, but there was no evidence that officers attempted to open the door while the shooter was inside, McCraw said.
McCraw said parents pleaded with police outside the school to move in and students inside the classroom repeatedly pleaded with 911 operators for help while that more than a dozen officers were waiting in a hallway. Agents from other agencies urged Arredondo to let them move in because the children were in danger.
« The only thing that kept a 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, » McCraw said.
Senator Paul Bettencourt told the state Senate hearing that Arredondo should have resigned immediately.
« This man should have retired from his job immediately because, just looking at his response, he was unable to do so, » Bettencourt said.
Arredondo and his attorney declined repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press and did not immediately respond to a request Wednesday about his leave.
Arredondo tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he did not see himself as the commander in charge of operations and that he assumed someone else had taken control of the forces response. order. He said he didn’t have his police and campus radios, but used his cell phone to call tactical gear, a sniper and keys to the classroom.
It remains unclear why it took police so long to enter the classroom, how they communicated with each other during the attack and what their body cameras show.
Officials declined to release further details, citing the investigation.
Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and spent much of his nearly 30-year career in law enforcement in the city. He took over as the school district’s police chief in 2020 and was sworn in as a member of the city council in a closed ceremony on May 31.