UCISD police chief at center of shooting probe sworn into Uvalde City Council despite mayor canceling meeting

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin had previously canceled city council meeting scheduled for Tuesday

Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo. (Uvalde CISD)

UVALDE, Texas – Uvalde City Council members were sworn in Tuesday, a day after Mayor Don McLaughlin said the meeting to swear in city council members would be canceled due to the first funerals of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims.

Among the members who were sworn in was Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo.

Arredondo was the on-scene commander during the delayed police response to the school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead last week, according to state police officials.

“Uvalde City Council members were sworn in today as per the City Charter. Out of respect for the families who buried their children today, and who are planning to bury their children in the next few days, no ceremony was held,” McLaughlin said in part in a written statement.

On Monday, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said he decided to cancel the meeting because the first funerals for the victims were being held Tuesday.

Arredondo, who was elected earlier this year in an election with 182 total votes, is now at the center of state and federal investigations into why police didn’t engage the shooter for more than an hour.

On Tuesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that Arredondo had stopped cooperating with investigators.

Hours later, he was sworn into City Hall.

“Our focus on Tuesday is on our families who lost loved ones. We begin burying our children tomorrow, the innocent victims of last week’s murders at Robb Elementary School. The special City Council meeting will not take place as scheduled,” McLaughlin said on Monday in a written statement.

Uvalde mayor says school district police chief can take oath of office for city council

McLaughlin also said Monday that Arredondo would be allowed to take the oath of office, as he is not under investigation.

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

The mayor also walked back a previous statement regarding Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in which he said, “Statements by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick that he was ‘not told the truth’ are not true. All statements and comments made to date about the ongoing investigation are being handled by DPS/Texas Rangers.”

In his updated statement Tuesday, McLaughlin said in part, “Our parents deserve answers and I trust the Texas Department of Public Safety/Texas Rangers will leave no stone unturned. Our emotions are raw, and hearts are broken, and words are sometimes exchanged because of those emotions. I want Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to know that I misunderstood statements I thought he said. We both attended the same law enforcement briefing. We appreciate the concern Dan Patrick has for the citizens of Uvalde and local law enforcement. I ask everyone to pray for us, the citizens of Uvalde as we grieve, and live through the pain, and the healing process.”

Last Friday, DPS Director Steven McCraw said Arredondo made the “wrong decision” to wait so long before sending officers into the locked classrooms. He said Arredondo, who was in charge of the law enforcement response during the siege, believed the shooter was barricaded inside the two adjoining classrooms, and that children were no longer at risk. Arredondo hasn’t spoken publicly since McCraw criticized his decision-making, and his house now has a police guard.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.