According to the statement made by the school’s superintendent on Wednesday, Pete Arredondo, who serves as the head of police for the Uvalde school district, has been put on administrative leave. The suspension will go into effect straight away.
It was Dr. Hal Harrell’s decision to put Arredondo on administrative leave because of the “lack of clarity that exists” and the “unknown timeline” of when the investigation into law enforcement’s reactions to the tragic mass shooting would be concluded, he said in a statement. Harrell said that in Arredondo’s absence, he will be replaced by Lieutenant Mike Hernandez.
A lot of people have criticized Arredondo after the incident on May 24 that left 19 pupils and two instructors dead. He was in command of the law enforcement reaction on that day, and investigations have uncovered multiple failings, including the fact that police had the chance to kill the shooter within three minutes of his arrival at the school and instead left him in the school for nearly an hour. In addition, the police never checked to verify whether the door to the classroom where the shooter was holed up was secured with a lock.
In addition to Arredondo’s interrogation, the ensuing inquiry into the shooting reaction has also raised red flags, with many feeling unsure about what transpired on that day.
On Wednesday, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez filed a complaint against the Texas Department of Public Safety, accusing state troopers of withholding information from the public and instead placing the focus on the Uvalde school police. “They want to give us snippets of body cam footage from the local police, but they want to hold on to their own body cam footage,” Gutierrez said of the Texas State Troopers. “We found out yesterday there was 91 officers on site from the Department of Public Safety.”
According to Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, state officials are to blame for keeping locals in the dark.
On May 25, one day after the incident, McLaughlin told CBS News’ Omar Villafranca that he was last informed by DPS.
“I’ve contacted them every day. I don’t get a damn thing out of them,” McLaughlin said.
The hunt for answers has left members of the community and their families feeling bewildered and confused. Cazares’ contradictory signals from government authorities frustrate and harm his family, according to Cazares’ father, Javier.
In the wake of the shooting’s aftermath, state legislators are still focusing on mental health and gun safety issues.