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Uvalde City Council postpones swearing-in of school police chief who led shooting response

Flowers, balloons and crosses by the Robb Elementary School sign, behind police caution tape.
Patricia Lim
Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde CISD Police Department, reportedly made the decision not to confront the shooter at Robb Elementary School for more than an hour.

The Uvalde City Council has canceled Tuesday’s special meeting where three new council members were scheduled to be sworn in.

One of the newly elected officials is Pete Arredondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s Police Department.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has said Arredondo led the response to the school shooting. He has received backlash for not allowing officers to confront the shooter for over an hour.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said Monday in a statement the meeting was canceled out of respect to the funerals taking place.

“Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who lost loved ones,” McLaughlin said. “We begin burying our children tomorrow, the innocent victims of last week’s murders at Robb Elementary School.”

In his statement, McLaughlin also hinted support for Arredondo, and said he was duly elected to the City Council.

“There is nothing in the City Charter, Election Code, or Texas Constitution that prohibits him from taking the oath of office,” McLaughlin said. “To our knowledge, we are currently not aware of any investigation of Mr. Arredondo.”

Arredondo leads a police department of five.

During the shooting at Robb Elementary, Arredondo was in charge of the police response. At one point, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, 19 officers were inside the school, but were prevented from confronting the shooter and going into the classroom where the shooter was.

Arredondo has not talked publicly since the day of the shooting.

Gov. Greg Abbott last week claimed he was “misled” by law enforcement officials when they initially briefed him about the police response.

"I wrote down hand notes in detail about what everybody in that room told me in sequential order about what happened,” Abbott said last week when confronted by reporters. “And when I came out here on this stage, and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what people in that room told me."

On Saturday morning, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in an interview with Fox News he was also given a “different set of facts than we now know.”

“Whether that was purposeful or whether that was because … that was about 24 hours after the shooting, because they were still in a state of chaos and maybe had not had any sleep and were in shock and misremembered things,” Patrick said. “The bottom line is we have to have the facts and the truth because it only makes the situation worse for the families when they hear changing stories.”

But McLaughlin on Monday pushed back against Patrick, defending Arredondo and the police.

“Local law enforcement has not made any public comments about the specifics of the investigation into the incident or [misled] anyone,” McLaughlin said in a news release. “Statements by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that he was ‘not told the truth’ are not true.”

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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