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Pete Arredondo, the police officer in charge of operations during the deadly shooting at the school in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, was suspended as of Wednesday. The response of the police, who had taken more than an hour to intervene and kill the shooter, is highly criticized.
The Uvalde School District Police Chief, in charge of operations when a shooter killed 19 children and two female teachers on May 24, has been suspended, the district superintendent announced Wednesday (June 22).
The announcement comes a day after the Texas director of public safety slammed the police response to the massacre as an “absolute failure”.
“Since the beginning of this horrific event, I have maintained that the District will wait until the investigation is complete before making staffing decisions (…). Due to the remaining lack of clarity and the unknown timing on the date I receive the results of the investigation, I have made the decision to place Chief (Pete) Arredondo on administrative leave, effective today,” Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a statement. .
“The agents had weapons, not the children”
On Tuesday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw, had in particular castigated the fact that Pete Arredondo had decided to “put the lives of agents before those of children”. “We know one thing: there is compelling evidence that law enforcement’s response to the attack on Robb Elementary School was an absolute failure and goes against everything we have learned at two decades since the Columbine massacre” at a high school in 1999, he said.
The time taken by the police – more than an hour – to enter the classroom and kill the 18-year-old shooter has been the subject of strong criticism since the killing, and Steven McCraw had driven the point home during this television hearing. “The officers had weapons, not the children. The officers had bulletproof vests, not the children. The officers were trained, not the shooter,” he said.
The mayor of Uvalde also announced on Tuesday that Robb Elementary School would be “demolished”. “You can never ask a child or a teacher to come back to this school,” Don McLoughlin said.