The Yuvalde school district police chief took a vacation on Wednesday after allegations that he had made a mistake in responding to a shooting at Robb Elementary School, which lost 19 students and two teachers.
Hal Harrell, director of the Ubaldi Consolidated Independent School District, said he had taken leave of school police chief Pete Aledondo because the facts of what had happened remained unclear. In a statement, Harrell did not mention Aledondo’s actions as a field commander during the attack, but said it was unclear when details of multiple investigations into the law enforcement response to the killings would be revealed. ..
“From the beginning of this horrific event, I shared waiting for the district to complete the investigation before making a personnel decision,” Harrell said. “There are still unclear points, and we do not know when to receive the findings, so we decided to take Prime Minister Aledondo on leave on this day.”
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Anne Marie Espinoza, a spokesman for the Uvalde school district, did not say whether Arredondo would continue to be paid during the holidays.
Another officer will take on the task of the embarrassed chief, Harrell said.
Texas Public Safety Director Colonel Stephen McLaugh said at a state parliamentary hearing on Tuesday that Aledondo made a “terrible decision” when the massacre unfolded on May 24, and police response was a “serious failure.” It was.
Three minutes after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered school, McLaugh testified that a well-armed law enforcement agency was on the scene and stopped the shooters. Still, police officers armed with rifles waited for more than an hour in the school corridor while the shooters were slaughtering. The classroom door couldn’t be locked from the inside, but there were no signs that police officers tried to open the door while the shooter was inside, McLaugh said.
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According to McLaugh, parents begged police outside the school to move, and students in the classroom repeatedly begged 911 operators for help while more than 12 police officers were waiting in the hallway. Officers from other agencies urged Arredondo to move them in because the children were at risk.
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“The only thing that prevented the full-time officer’s corridor from entering rooms 111 and 112 was that the on-site commander decided to prioritize the officer’s life over the children’s,” McLaugh said. Told.
Senator Paul Bettencourt told the State Senate that Aledondo should have resigned immediately.
“This guy should have left work immediately because he couldn’t do it just by looking at his reaction,” Bettencourt said.
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Aledondo and his lawyer rejected repeated requests for comments from the Associated Press and did not immediately respond to Wednesday’s inquiry about his vacation.
Aledondo tried to defend his actions and told The Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the commander of the operation, but assumed that someone else was in control of the law enforcement response. rice field. He didn’t have police and college radio, but said he used his cell phone to request tactical equipment, snipers and classroom keys.
It is not yet clear why the police took so long to enter the classroom, how the police kept in touch with each other during the attack, and what their body cameras show.
Authorities refused to disclose the details, citing the investigation.
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Arredondo, 50, grew up in Uvalde and spent most of his nearly 30 years in law enforcement in the city. He became chief of police in the school district in 2020 and swore as a member of the city council at a private ceremony on May 31st.
The seats of the city council may also be at risk. He requested a leave of absence and was absent from the council meeting on Tuesday night. The rest of the city council on Tuesday refused him to take leave.
If he fails to attend three consecutive meetings, the council can dismiss him, as some citizens requested at the meeting on Tuesday night.
– Use files from Reuters
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Uvalde School Police Chief Takes a Vacation-National
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