The Uvalde, Texas, school district police department has been suspended ‘for a period of time’ amid fallout from the response to the May 24 Robb Elementary shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
“The district remains committed to resolving issues with verifiable evidence. Decisions regarding the UCISD police department are pending the results of the investigation by the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the JPPI. said Friday in a statement.
During the suspension, the department’s current officers will “perform other roles in the district.” In the meantime, the district has asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide additional soldiers for on-campus and extracurricular activities.
The district also placed Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, director of student services, on administrative leave. Mueller chose to resign, according to the statement.
The shooting sparked intense outrage and an investigation after it was revealed that 1 hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds elapsed between when law enforcement entered the building and when the shooter was killed. Nearly 400 officers responded to the scene.
A dazzling report released in July by a Texas House panel noted “systemic failures and extremely poor decision-making” by police and the school district.
The report said that beyond the shooter, no other individual was to blame for the massacre. Still, he described a number of failures committed by not intervening with the 18-year-old shooter, preventing the shooting or minimizing the devastation. He also noted that a lack of clear leadership and direction contributed to the officers’ “generally nonchalant approach” to the shooting.
Many of the 376 officers who responded “received and relied on inaccurate information,” and others “had enough information to know better,” the report concludes.
“The scene was chaotic, with no one clearly in charge or directing the law enforcement response,” the report said.
In August, the police chief of the schools of Uvalde Pete Arredondo was fired on the recommendation of the school district superintendent. The Texas House committee report said that under the district’s active-fire plan, he would have been the incident commander, but Arredondo said he did not consider himself to be the officer in charge.
Just this week, the district fired Officer Crimson Elizondo less than 24 hours after the announcement of his hiring. Elizondo responded to the massacre as a Texas state trooper and was among seven soldiers being investigated internally for their actions.
In police body camera footage reported by CNN, he is heard telling officers at the scene that if his son was in the building, “I wouldn’t have been out. I promise you that.” She resigned from her post as a soldier in August.
Uvalde school officials did not discuss their decision to hire Elizondo, but apologized in a statement Thursday.
“We sincerely apologize to the families of the victims and the greater community of Uvalde for the pain this revelation has caused,” the statement read.
Multiple investigations into the shooting are ongoing. The district said in its statement Friday that it will continue to cooperate with the Texas Police Chiefs Association and JPPI Investigations, and the results of those investigations will lead to the hiring of a new police chief and shape “future decisions regarding personal”.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.