HOUSTON — The chief of the school district police force in Uvalde, Texas, was placed on administrative leave after the state’s top police official faulted him for delaying the confrontation with a gunman at Robb Elementary School last month, the school district said on Wednesday.
Chief Pete Arredondo was among the first officers to respond to the school after the shooting began on May 24 and, according to the director of the state police, Steven McCraw, was the incident commander for the response.
Though officers from several agencies entered the school minutes after a gunman opened fire in two connected classrooms, they waited more than an hour before confronting and killing him. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the attack.
The school district’s superintendent, Hal Harrell, said in a news release that he had planned to “wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions.” But he said he ultimately made the decision to put the chief on leave because “of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results.”
Lt. Mike Hernandez will take over the role of chief for the department, Dr. Harrell said. It has six uniformed members and jurisdiction at the schools in Uvalde.
Chief Arredondo has defended his decision-making and said in an interview this month that he did not believe he was in charge of the response at Robb Elementary School. The law firm representing him declined further comment on Wednesday.