Records detail secret council swearing-in of Uvalde CISD chief Pete Arredondo

Attorney for city of Uvalde says no audio or video exists of the swearing-in ceremony

Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo signed paperwork in private May 31 to officially be sworn in as a Uvalde city councilman. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

UVALDE, Texas – Records obtained by the KSAT 12 Defenders late Thursday show that Pete Arredondo, the embattled Uvalde school district police chief, signed both the oath of office and statement of officer to officially become a city councilman on May 31.

The signings took place in private after Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin canceled the meeting during which the public swearing-in of Arredondo and other recently elected councilpersons was scheduled to take place.

An attorney representing the city wrote via email that no video or audio records of the swearing-in exist.

Arredondo, who was elected to represent Uvalde city council district 3 in the May 7 election, has not taken part in public city business and has largely remained in hiding in the weeks following the May 24 shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Arredondo, described by Texas Department of Public Safety officials as the incident commander inside the school, has faced an avalanche of criticism for having law enforcement assembled outside the classroom hold back instead of confronting the gunman, who eventually killed 19 students and two teachers.

The embattled chief defended his handling of the mass shooting incident in an interview with the Texas Tribune last week, but through his attorney, has declined multiple requests to answer questions from KSAT.

“I can’t answer that for Pete.”

McLaughlin confirmed during a sit-down interview with the Defenders last week that Arredondo and other recent electees were sworn-in privately at city hall May 31.

McLaughlin said he was not present for the event.

The released documents show Arredondo’s signing of paperwork took place in front of at least one witness: city secretary Sorayda Sanchez, a notary public.

“By law our charter says by the 31st of May we have to swear in. So that’s what we did,” said McLaughlin.

Asked if he believes Arredondo will ever take part in a Uvalde city council meeting, McLaughlin said, “I can’t answer that for Pete. He’ll have to make that decision if he wants to come forward and start coming to those meetings or if he decides to to do something differently. I can’t answer that,” said McLaughlin.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.