Uvalde, TX – Uvalde Consolidated Independent Schools District (UCISD) Police Chief Pete Arredondo announced his resignation from the Uvalde City Council late last week.
Chief Arredondo, 51, was elected to the city council approximately two weeks prior to the June 24 Robb Elementary School massacre that left 21 people dead and 17 more wounded.
Nineteen of the murdered victims were children.
Chief Arredondo was sworn in as the District 3 councilman in a private ceremony on May 31.
He failed to attend an emergency city council meeting held shortly after the massacre, and also didn’t show up to a scheduled meeting on June 21, USA Today reported.
The Uvalde City Council unanimously voted that day to deny Chief Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence from his newly-elected role.
Had he missed two more meetings, the city council would have been able to remove him for abandoning his office, USA Today reported.
Chief Arredondo, who has repeatedly maintained he was not the on-site commander during the delayed response to the school massacre, confirmed his resignation from the city council on July 1, according to the Uvalde Leader-News.
“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to step down as a member of the city council for District 3,” the police chief said. “The mayor, the city council, and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde.”
Chief Arredondo said that the focus needs to be on the victims and supporting the Uvalde community.
“As we continue to grieve over the tragedy that occurred on May 24th, we pray for the families involved and our community,” he said. “Uvalde has a rich history of loving and supporting thy neighbor and we must continue to do so. In speaking with other communities that have had similar tragedies, the guidance has been the same… continue to support the families, continue to support our community, and definitely, to keep our faith.”
“As I think about my life, from growing up as a child and to adulthood, Uvalde has held an attraction that is very unique. At the center of that attraction, is our community members,” Chief Arredondo continued. “Together, we will keep Uvalde strong. Uvalde strong, Uvalde home.”
A special election will be held so voters can choose the police chief’s replacement on the city council, The Texas Tribune reported.
Harrell did not specify why he removed the police chief, but said it was still too soon to know how long the investigation into the shooting will take.
“Today, I am still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies,” he said, according to USA Today. “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.”
Chief Arredondo, who earns approximately $90,750 per year, is the highest-paid law enforcement officer in all of Uvalde County, the Uvalde Leader-News reported.
His placement on administrative leave occurred the same day that Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw spoke to the Texas Senate about the law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School shooting, according to CNN.
Director McCraw characterized the law enforcement response to the massacre as “an abject failure.”
“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” Director McCraw said.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the west building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” he continued. “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.”
Director McCraw has alleged that Chief Arredondo was the on-site commander who oversaw the police response to the massacre, but Chief Arredondo said he believed he was in the role of a front-line responder and that someone else was commanding the larger police response to the situation.
Chief Arredondo insisted during an interview with The Texas Tribune that he and the officers under his command “never hesitated” while responding to the mass shooting.
He also vehemently disputed allegations that he told law enforcement officers to stand down and not breach the building, The Texas Tribune reported.
The DPS said the total time between the time police first arrived at the scene and the moment the shooter was killed by the team that breached the classroom was one hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds.
It is unclear if Chief Arredondo has any intention of resigning from his role at the police department, The Texas Tribune reported.