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Uvalde School District Police Chief Pedro Arredondo has been forced to resign after the Robb Elementary School massacre

Pedro “Pete” Arredondo started out as a 911 driver, continually responding to calls from people in Uvalde, Texas who needed urgent help when seconds could make the difference between life and death.

He was now set to end his career by resigning as chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department for failing to take action while children made nearly a dozen 911 calls for help while locked in adjoining classrooms and both their teachers and 19 classmates were dead or dying.

Each of these calls required more nerve and courage than the boss supposedly responsible could muster. Each of them took a serious risk, believing that the police would respond immediately.

If this former 911 operator-turned-boss was unaware of these calls, a quick check would have told him children were calling for help, despite the fact that there were at least 19 officers under his immediate command outside the classroom door.

“Please send the police now,” begged one child after making half a dozen previous calls within 44 minutes, the first of them 33 minutes after the killer entered the classroom and more than 30 minutes after the police officers pursuing him should have entered .

By resigning today as quickly as he should have reacted Tuesday morning, Arredondo could signal to grieving families that he blames himself for a police failure that numerous other law enforcement commanders have called “disgusting.”

He has so far only tried to avoid additional shame by shutting down his Facebook page, where he proudly announced on March 22 that his department had “hosted ‘Active Rifle Training’ at Uvalde High School”.

“Our overall goal is to educate every law enforcement officer in the Uvalde region so that we can prepare as well as possible for any possible situation,” he said at the time. “We have hosted several of these courses and plan to continue to do so. I would like to thank the UCISD officers.”

Since the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, the most fundamental tenet of such training has been to immediately engage and neutralize an active shooter before more people die.

The Texas Department of Public Safety says Arredondo was the incident commander at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday and should have applied that essential principle. But he still hadn’t given the order to move an hour and 17 minutes after the killer entered Classrooms 111 and 112.

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A police officer walks by near the makeshift memorial to the victims of the shooting outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

A girl who survived by covering herself in a friend’s blood and playing dead later said she could hear police talking in the hallway outside her classroom and wondered why they didn’t step inside to end the horror. At least one of the 911 calls was made by a kid so brave she did it using a phone dropped by her murdered teacher. Arrendondo still hadn’t worked up the courage to act when a group of border guards decided they had waited long enough for the entry order. They were given a key to the classroom door and did what Arredondo should have commanded in the first few minutes.

More than an hour has passed since the killer should have been neutralized. And any trauma doctor will tell you that blood loss is the leading cause of death in gunshot victims. Two of the children who were taken to nearby Uvalde Memorial Hospital died, including 9-year-old Jacklyn Cazares. It is questionable whether they were possibly rescued. The same could be asked about the 18 teenagers and two teachers who died at the scene, bleeding to death while Arredondo hesitated.

Meanwhile, a growing number of increasingly distressed parents gathered outside the school, held at bay by responding officers. A mother was reportedly handcuffed after she insisted that the police take action.

Immediately after the shooting, Arredondo held his first and only press conference.

“This morning at 11:32 a.m. There was a casualty incident at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas,” he began. “The school has children who are in second, third and fourth grade. I can now confirm that we have several injuries, adults and students. And we have some deaths.”

He spoke with the somber tone of a career commander whose cops had done everything they could.

“The suspect is deceased at this point,” he continued. “Families are being notified and we are providing services to them. We had numerous law enforcement officers and agencies assisting in the safe release of these students.”

Unless Arredondo is completely blind, by then he must have known that the timing of the killer’s death would become an issue, along with his failure to provide the families with the service they needed most by giving them dispatched numerous law enforcement officials. He must have been aware that the students had only been safely released after a team from one of those agencies, the Border Patrol, got fed up with his inaction.

But he actually posted a video of his press appearance on his Facebook page, which has since disappeared. Former posts announced his election on 7 May as District 3’s representative to Uvalde City Council. The election took place at the city’s Civic Center, where the Robb parents gathered to await news of their children. The tally shows that 67 percent of the vote from a field of four candidates went to the affable hometown hero named “Pete,” who became chief of the school police in April 2020 after his predecessor allegedly pulled a gun and threatened a man in a bar

The former 911 operator had actively sought to become chief, and he had done so to become an elected councillor, a testament to police-community relations that many jurisdictions would envy. It was also a testament to the respect he received from both the citizenry and the four members of his department. At 50, he was content enough that the biggest concern he raised on Facebook was a post that read, “ISO good pool cleaner.”

But then the bill fell due with the shooting on Tuesday. And how, as chief and councilor, could Arredondo help guide Uvalde through his grief when the whole town knows he did nothing while children kept crying out for help?

Arredondo did not respond to messages left on his office voicemail and cellphone asking if he felt his actions had been unfairly characterized. The news also asked if he was considering retiring.

Someone to consider as the new boss is Border Patrol agent Jacob Albarado, who is the father of a second grader and the husband of a Robb teacher. Albarado was off duty and sitting down for a haircut at a Uvalde hair salon when his wife texted him that there was an active shooter. Moments later, he arrived with the barber, who brought a shotgun. Albarado led an evacuation of other parts of the school, and those who got to safety included his wife and daughter.

The only way Arredondo can help the town he grew up in is by stepping down from both positions. Perhaps he can do penance by returning to taking 911 calls and sending help immediately to those who desperately need it, in time to save lives.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/uvalde-school-districts-police-chief-pedro-arredondo-must-resign-after-robb-elementary-massacre?source=articles&via=rss Uvalde School District Police Chief Pedro Arredondo has been forced to resign after the Robb Elementary School massacre

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