(NewsNation) — Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, has been placed on administrative leave following the Robb Elementary School shooting, according to a news release from the school district.
“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions. Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies. Because of the lack of clarity that remains and the unknown timing of when I will receive the results of the investigations, I have made the decision to place Chief Arredondo on administrative leave effective on this date,” Uvalde Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell said.
Dr. Harrell’s decision comes as questions mount over the May 24 police response to the school massacre. Law enforcement arrived to the school just three minutes after the gunman entered Robb Elementary, but armed officers waited for more than an hour in a school hallway while the shooter unleashed gunfire.
Authorities say Arredondo made the call that officers should wait to confront the shooter.
Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said Arredondo made “terrible decisions” as the on-site commander. McCraw testified at a state Senate hearing that there is no indication officers tried to open the classroom door while the shooter was still inside, and that parents urged police outside of the elementary school to rescue students that were making desperate pleas for help to 911 dispatchers.
“The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the children had none. The officers had training, the subject had none. One hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds – that is how long the children waited, and the teachers waited, in Room 111 to be rescued,” McCraw said.
According to McCraw, responding officers from other agencies begged Arredondo to let them burst into the school to save the children.
“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,” McCraw said.
A total of 19 children and two teachers lost their lives in the shooting last month. The elementary school is set to be demolished following the tragedy.