Under harsh criticism for the failed response to the Robb Elementary School massacre in Texas, Uvalde school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo resigned from the city council. He had been elected to that position shortly before the horrific mass shooting in May.
In a letter the council announced Saturday, Arredondo declared it to be in the “best interest of the community” to resign. He added that this action was taken to “minimize further distractions.”
Arredondo was privately sworn into office and had not attended council meetings since the shooting. He initially asked for a leave of absence from the body, but opposition from the community led to members unanimously rejecting the possibility.
Texas state police lay most responsibility for the botched response to the elementary school shooting on May 24 on Arredondo. The massacre claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.
Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Col. Steven McCraw gave a scathing report last month to a state Senate hearing. He specifically called out Arredondo for making “terrible decisions” and described the response to the mass shooter as an “abject failure.”
Law enforcement waited well over an hour before finally breaching the adjoining classroom doors. However, in a lengthy interview last month, the Uvalde native defended his actions during the mass shootings.
He asserted that he was not the incident commander and did not order officers to not attempt to breach the doors. He said he acted properly in the lengthy attempt to find a classroom key as the shooter was inside with the children and teachers.
Video footage of the scene from body cameras and surveillance images paints a much different scenario. There was never an attempt to gain entry to the adjoining classrooms through the doors before they were finally breached by the U.S. Border Patrol agents.
This came well over an hour after shooting began. State police later confirmed that the classroom doors were not designed to be locked from the inside.
The tragedy of Robb Elementary School is made even more tragic by knowing that lives would almost certainly have been saved with a professional and courageous response. Neither of those happened on May 24.