UVALDE, Texas – Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell announced Wednesday that he has placed the district’s embattled police chief, Pete Arredondo, on administrative leave.
“From the beginning of this horrible event, I shared that the district would wait until the investigation was complete before making personnel decisions,” Harrell said in release.
But the superintendent said because he’s been given no details about the investigation or received clarity about when it would be complete, he made the decision to put Arredondo on leave, effective immediately.
Lieutenant Mike Hernandez will assume the duties of the district’s police chief, Harrell said.
“We will continue to seek qualified candidates to join our police department as we prepare for the new school year,” he said.
The news comes a day after the Uvalde City Council voted unanimously to deny Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence from future council meetings.
He was sworn in as a councilman in a private ceremony the week after the shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 people dead and did not attend Tuesday night’s meeting.
According to city policy, if Arredondo misses three meetings then a special election can be called and he can be voted out by council members.
Arredondo has been largely blamed by state officials for the more than hour-long delay in officers stopping the gunman.
State police said he was the “incident commander” during the shootings and made critical errors.
Arredondo’s account to the Texas Tribune about what happened that day differs from other law enforcement’s versions.
He has rarely been seen in public since the May 24 massacre.