Acting Uvalde police chief on day of school shooting steps down from position in wake of scrutiny, city officials confirm

Lt. Mariano Pargas retired prior to Saturday’s city council session to discuss his possible termination

Uvalde Police Department Acting Chief Lt. Mariano Pargas (on right). (Facebook/The Associated Press)

UVALDE, Texas – The acting Uvalde police chief on the day of the Robb Elementary School shooting has retired, city officials told KSAT Thursday.

According to the City of Uvalde Human Resources Department official, Pargas retired Thursday, effective immediately. Pargas was eligible to retire after serving the city of Uvalde for 18 years. He was given a retirement packet to complete, which he was expected to return later Thursday.

Pargas’ retirement comes after reports surfaced from CNN, showing that he spoke with a 911 dispatcher on the day of the shooting and knew there was a room “full of victims” but did not act swiftly or communicate the knowledge to other law enforcement.

According to CNN, Pargas was told by the dispatcher that eight to nine students at Robb Elementary were possibly still alive at 12:16 p.m. -- 45 minutes after the gunman went inside the school.

The gunman wasn’t confronted and killed by law enforcement until 12:50 p.m. The massacre resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers.

Since those reports surfaced, Mayor Don McLaughlin said Pargas would be dismissed from the Uvalde Police Department “by the end of the week,” if not earlier for failing to properly handle the shooting response.

Pargas’ future employment with the city was going to be taken up before the Uvalde City Council’s executive session planned for Saturday, but that has since been canceled.

Pargas was previously suspended from the Uvalde Police Department pending an investigation after a report found wide failures by law enforcement during the shooting response.

He was also recently re-elected as Uvalde County Precinct 2 Commissioner after capturing 45% of the vote.

Lives Robbed, a nonprofit group that was formed in response to the massacre, issued the following statement regarding Pargas’ retirement:

“It’s about damn time. 177 days ago, Lt. Mariano Pargas showed a complete lack of courage and leadership while he presided over the Uvalde Police Department during one of the worst law enforcement failures in American history. His lack of character is reinforced by his decision to wait until the eleventh hour to resign before he could be fired by the city in a seemingly desperate attempt to avoid accountability.”

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

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