Pete Arredondo, the incident leader of Robb Elementary School, where the gunman killed 9 kids and 2 adults, has been placed on administrative leave following the outpouring of complaints about the manner in which law enforcement officers handled the incident. Uvalde ISD Superintendent Hal Harrell announced on Wednesday that he has placed Arredondo on leave in the midst of the outcomes of the investigations regarding the shooting.
“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,” Harrell stated. “Today I am not receiving any details about the investigation that is being conducted by different agencies. Due to the lack of details that remain and the uncertain timing of when I will get the results of this investigation, I've taken the decision to put Chief Arredondo on administrative leave, effective immediately.”
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw was one of many who criticized the police response in the aftermath of the incident. Arredondo and other police officers were at the school just a few moments after the shooting began, but they did not enter the classroom to stop the suspect for over 70 minutes. Many have pointed out this inconsistency as one of the factors that allowed the shooter to claim so many lives.
“Three minutes after the suspect entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract, and neutralize the subject,” McCraw said to an exclusive Texas Senate Committee. “The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111, and 112, was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
Fox News reported:
A ballistic shield, as well as officers equipped with rifles, were in this school in the 20-minute period after the shooting began. However, Arredondo decided to wait and wait for additional weapons, tactical equipment, as well as keys to open the door. This was not required since the door was left unlocked throughout the entire time, as per McCraw.
Arredondo in his sole public statements following the shooting, told The Texas Tribune that he “didn't issue any orders” and did not believe himself to be the incident commanding officer.
McCraw told reporters that Arredondo believed that the gunman placed himself in a barricade and that it wasn't an active shooter situation.
The Department of Justice recently announced that it was conducting an investigation regarding the incident. It will examine the way local law enforcement dealt with the situation in order to collect details that can help stop these kinds of incidents in the future.
As more details emerge regarding this tragic incident, the public is getting more and more angry. The facts continue to cast officers in an unfavorable light. It seems that from beginning until the end, they failed to manage the incident. From not allowing themselves to get into the room, to handcuffing a parent trying to protect their children from assault, the police failed to come up with a viable response, and likely caused more deaths as a result. It is hoped that the investigators will uncover the root of the problem and figure out how to fix the issue in the near future. However, unless the government takes effective strategies to stop the shootings in the initial place, we'll witness more atrocities.