Uvalde school district suspends entire police force in wake of shooting

It comes after police chief Pete Arredondo was fired in August

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Saturday 08 October 2022 03:12 BST
Related video: Uvalde police response was ‘abject failure’, hearing told
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The Uvalde school district has suspended its entire police force in response to the mass shooting in the Texas city that saw 19 students and two teachers massacred by a gunman more than four months ago.

Officials have come under intense criticism for the police department’s slow and chaotic reaction to the May shooting, during which officers took more than an hour to enter a classroom and take down the shooter.

The school district announced the suspension on Friday and said that it has asked for more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to be stationed at its campuses and at extra-curricular activities.

“The District has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time. Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district,” the statement from the district said.

“The District has requested the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide additional troopers for campus and extra-curricular activities. We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition.”

The school district has not said how long the suspension will last.

The statement also said that Lt Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller had been placed on administrative leave and that Mr Mueller had decided to retire.

The move comes one day after the firing of Officer Crimson Elizondo, who was hired by the school district despite being under investigation for her conduct as a trooper during the shooting.

The Texas Department of Public Safety officer arrived at the scene within two minutes of the gunman entering the building and was seen on video with her gun drawn, according to CNN.

A Texas House committee released a searing report in July that criticised “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision-making” by police and the school district.

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside of Robb Elementary School
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside of Robb Elementary School (AFP via Getty Images)

In August the district fired police chief Pete Arredondo, one of the first law enforcement officers on the scene who was broadly criticised for his department’s response to the violence.

Mr Arredondo later said that he did not have his police radio with him and did not believe he was the incident commander at the scene.

Nearly 400 local, state and federal law enforcement officers rushed to Robb Elementary School where they waited to confront the 18-year-old gunman.

He was eventually shot and killed after a US Border Patrol tactical team entered the classroom where most of the victims had been slain.

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