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Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo plans to resign from city council seat

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Controversial Texas Police Chief Pete Arredondo has reportedly resigned from his Uvalde City Council seat about a month after he was sworn in to the position.

Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News Friday

“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to resign as a member of the District 3 City Council. The Mayor, City Council and City officials must continue without distraction. † I think this is the best decision for Uvalde,” Arredondo told Uvalde Leader-News.

The news of his firing comes after Arredondo became the central figure in a string of tactical mistakes, including the decision to avoid confrontation with an 18-year-old gunman, in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers behind. . died on May 24.

NBC News has contacted Arredondo’s attorney.

Texas State Senator Ronald Gutierrez told NBC News on Saturday that Arredondo has not officially disclosed his resignation plans to city officials.

In a statement Saturday, Uvalde city officials said they were learning for the first time about Arredondo’s plans to lay off the… Uvalde Leader-News

“While it is the right thing to do, no one from the city has seen or spoken to any letter or other documentation of his resignation,” the statement said. “If the municipality receives confirmation of the resignation of councilor Arredondo, the municipality will deal with the vacancy for the city council.”

Arredondo was elected to represent District 3 in Uvalde City Council on May 7 and was officially sworn in a week after the school shooting.

His plans to step down from the city council come about a week after the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District placed him on administrative leave on June 22.

Hal Harrell, the superintendent of the Uvalde school system, had said in a statement that he was awaiting investigations into the mass shootings that would be concluded when Arredondo was placed on leave.

“Today I still have no details about the investigations being conducted by various agencies,” he said. “Due to the uncertainty 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 as of this date.”

Lieutenant Mike Hernandez took over as chief, Harrell said.

State authorities have described Arredondo as the commander of the incident during the school massacre. Arredondo has said he did not consider himself the responsible officer.

Officials have said Arredondo wrongly treated the gunman as a barricaded suspect rather than an active gunman. After more than an hour, federal agents entered the room and fatally shot the gunman.

Federal and state agencies are investigating the police response.

City, state, and federal law enforcement officers were also on campus. A SWAT-esque team of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents eventually entered the classroom and killed the gunman.

Texas Department of Public Safety Colonel Steve McCraw described the police’s actions as an “abject failure” during a Senate committee hearing on June 21.

“We know this, there is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack on Robb Elementary was an abject failure and contradicts everything we’ve learned over the past two decades since the Columbine massacre,” he told lawmakers. in Austin.

During the hearing, McCraw said the classroom where the gunman had holed up was unlocked. After the shooting, it was widely reported that the police could not break into the classrooms and were looking for keys because the doors were locked.

According to McCraw and a released timeline, an hour, 14 minutes, and 8 seconds passed from the time police entered the building until the gunman was killed.

“The only thing stopping a corridor of dedicated officers from rooms 111 and 112 was the on-site commander who decided to put officers’ lives over children’s lives,” he said. “The officers have weapons. The kids had none. The officers had bulletproof vests. The kids had none. The officers have been trained. The subject had none.”

According to McCraw and the timeline, law enforcement officers and at least one ballistic shield were at the school about 19 minutes after the gunman entered the classrooms.

Arredondo has generally avoided the media since the bloodshed on the Uvalde campus. But he told The Texas Tribune in June that officers never “hesitated, not even a moment, to put themselves in danger”.

Arredondo, who took over as the school district’s chief of police in 2020, also told The Tribune that he saw himself as a primary care provider — not the person managing the broader response.

“I have not issued any orders,” he told The Tribune. “I called for help and asked for an extraction tool to open the door.”

According to The Tribune, once Arredondo determined he could not enter the classroom with the gunman inside, Arredondo called the police on his cell phone and asked for a tactical unit, snipers and a rescue tool to open the door.

“It’s not like anyone said to resign,” Arredondo’s attorney, George Hyde, told The Tribune. “It was, ‘Right now we can’t get in until we have the tools. So we’re going to do what we can to save lives.’ And what was that? It was to evacuate the students and the parents and the teachers from the rooms.”

Arredondo was elected to Uvalde’s city council on May 7 and was sworn in in a private ceremony on May 31, a week after the shooting. There was supposed to be a council meeting that day, but it was canceled because of the shooting.

When the council reconvened for an emergency special meeting a week later, on June 7, he did not show up.

Arredondo also failed to attend a June 21 meeting, when the council unanimously refused to grant his request for leave from future council meetings.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said at the same council meeting that Robb would be sacked because, “You can never ask a kid to go back or a teacher to ever go back to that school.”

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