Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arrendondo has resigned from his position on the city council following widespread criticism over law enforcement’s handling of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Arrendondo’s resignation was first announced by 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 mayor, the city council, and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde,” Arredondo said in a resignation letter dated July 1.
“As we continue to grieve over the tragedy that occurred on May 24th, we pray for the families involved and our community. 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,” he added.
Arrendondo also focused on the Uvalde community, emphasizing moving forward following the recent tragedy.
“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. Together, we will keep Uvalde strong. Uvalde strong, Uvalde home,” he concluded.
The police chief had led a team of six officers responsible for the safety of Uvalde’s school students. Arrendondo has been blamed for making the decision for officers to wait for backup rather than entering the classroom to engage the shooter.
“It was the wrong decision. Period. There’s no excuse for that,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven C. McCraw said following the shooting, according to the Washington Post.
The Uvalde law enforcement leader has sought to clarify his actions concerning the shooting.
“Arredondo has tried to defend his actions, telling the Texas Tribune that he didn’t consider himself the commander in charge of operations and that he assumed someone else had taken control of the law enforcement response,” according to Politico. “He said he didn’t have his police and campus radios but that he used his cellphone to call for tactical gear, a sniper and the classroom keys.”
Arredondo had previously been placed on administrative leave over his response to the May 24 mass shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers. District Superintendent Hal Harrell said that Lt. Mike Hernandez would assume Arredondo’s role temporarily, according to CNN.
“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,” Harrell said in a statement.
The superintendent said he initially wanted to wait for the investigation into the Robb Elementary mass shooting to conclude before making personnel decisions, explaining that he was “still without details of the investigations being conducted by various agencies.”