Acting police chief during Uvalde massacre placed on leave

Southwest

FILE – Crime scene tape surrounds Robb Elementary School after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

UVALDE, Texas (NewsNation) — The acting chief of police for the City of Uvalde on the day of the Robb Elementary massacre has been placed on administrative leave.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced that Lt. Mariano Pargas is on leave.

“The City has a responsibility to evaluate the response to the incident by the Uvalde Police Department, which includes Lt. Pargas’ role as the acting Chief. This administrative leave is to investigate whether Lt. Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24th, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violation,” McLaughlin said.

In relation to the highly criticized police response to the shooting, McLaughlin said the city will be releasing all body camera footage from Uvalde police officers taken during the incident. He believes this move will provide “necessary context” after seeing the school district’s hallway video that showed a hesitant police response.

An internal investigation into the police department’s actions, policies and procedures will also be conducted. Jesse Prado has been chosen to lead the internal investigation, which will begin as soon as the Department of Public Safety releases certain reports the Mayor’s Office has requested.

The actions follow the release of a 77-page report written by an investigative committee with the Texas House of Representatives. The report details “systemic failures” that happened during the school shooting May 24.

“We agree with the Committee’s review of the incident, there was failure of command,” McLaughlin said. “However, we have further questions as to who was responsible for taking command as each agency there had senior level commanders on site. We want to know which agency took what specific actions to take command, and where did the critical breakdown occur.”

The Robb Elementary tragedy left 19 children and two teachers dead.

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