Uvalde residents call for 5 officers to be placed on leave, say inactions ‘directly resulted in further loss of life’

Several people signed formal written complaint during tense meeting

Law enforcement officers stand in the hallway of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on May 24, 2022, as a gunman is inside a fourth-grade classroom. (Texas House Investigating Committee)

Families and supporters of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims called out five Uvalde officers to be placed on administrative leave as community members engaged in a heated discussion with the City Council on Tuesday.

Michele Prouty, a resident and member of Uvalde Strong for Gun Safety, handed out the written complaints for locals to sign and deliver to City Manager Vince DiPiazza.

The complaint, which was signed by several people during the meeting, called out five Uvalde police officers specifically who were at the scene of the May 24 school shooting: Eduardo Canales, Adrian Martinez, Paul Villa, Justin Mendoza and Mariano Pargas.

The letter recommends that the officers be placed on administrative leave immediately and that “appropriate action be taken” regarding their employment depending on the findings of the investigation.

“The inactions of these officers, in conjunction with other law enforcement departments, directly resulted in further loss of life,” the letter states. “The nonchalant attitudes from these officers, and the squandering of valuable time during this crisis, were an egregious act of negligence.”

Uvalde Police SWAT Cmdr. Canales was one of the first officers to approach the door of the classroom where the gunman opened fire, killing 19 students and two teachers.

Acting Chief Lt. Pargas was in charge on that day because Chief Daniel Rodriguez was out of town. The letter said Pargas “was directed by his chief, via phone, to establish a command post, but he failed to do so.”

Pargas was placed on paid administrative leave on July 17. Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced former Austin Police Department detective Jesse Prado would do an independent internal investigation.

In Tuesday’s meeting, much of the night was spent on the public comment section over police accountability.

“All you have to do is Google Texas peace officer termination -- you will find the very first thing that pops up that tells you how you can terminate a peace officer. We’re following that to a T,” said Uvalde Councilman Chip King.

Councilmembers reiterated they must follow due process.

Watch: Community, outside supporters have heated discussion with Uvalde city council

Read also:

About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Leigh Waldman is an investigative reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Recommended Videos