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Uvalde school district police chief intends to resign from city council

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference in Uvalde.
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USA Today Network
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference in Uvalde.

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Pete Arredondo, the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, announced his intention to step down from his city council seat this weekend. The announcement came after repeated calls for his resignation by the community.

“I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde,” Arredondo said in a statement to the Uvalde Leader-News.

On Saturday, the City of Uvalde responded with a statement explaining that it did not receive a resignation letter from Arredondo. “While it is the right thing to do, no one from the City has seen a letter or any other documentation of his resignation, or spoken with him,” the statement said.

The city added that it would address the council vacancy when Arredondo’s resignation was confirmed.

He was elected earlier this year and sworn into the city’s District 3 seat on May 31, just a week after the Robb Elementary school shooting, which left 19 children and two teachers dead and nearly 20 more injured.

The city council then granted Arredondo a leave of absence. But it later voted to not extend the leave. According to the city charter, if a council member misses three meetings without a prior leave of absence, they are considered to have vacated the seat. Arredondo missed his third city council meeting on Thursday, June 30, giving the city legal grounds for his removal.

But Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said one of the meetings Arredondo missed didn’t count because it was an emergency meeting posted less than 24 hours beforehand.

“This is his second meeting. If he misses the third, I don't think there's anybody up here that will tell you that we won't take the action that we need to take,” McLaughlin said.

Councilmember Chip King argued that all three meetings should’ve counted against Arredondo.

But beyond the walls of the Uvalde city council, Arredondo was accused of and condemned for failures far greater than missing meetings.

The district police chief was one of the first to respond to the shooting incident at Robb Elementary on May 24, where he instructed officers to not breach a classroom door while the shooter continued killing children. The shooter remained in the classroom for more than an hour before law enforcement officers stormed the room and killed him.

Arredondo maintained in interviews that he did not consider himself the incident commander during the shooting, which officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) have disputed.

The Uvalde community and DPS have heavily criticized his actions and decisions during the shooting incident. An investigative report by the Texas Tribune found parts of Arredondo’s story to be false or contradictory.

Arredondo is still employed with Uvalde’s school district but is currently on leave, as of mid-June.

TPR’s Camille Phillips contributed to this report.
Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Gaige Davila
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