Texas school shootout: Police chief sent on leave over delayed response

School district police chief who delayed assault against Texas school shootout gunman has been put on administrative leave. The shootout at Robb Elementary School in Texas has killed 19 school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

Chief Pete Arredondo was in charge of the law enforcement response in Uvalde on May 24 and will be replaced by Lieutenant Mike Hernandez, Superintendent Hal Harrell said in a statement.

Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday (June 21) called police response “an abject failure” as police officials failed to intervene immediately while the shooter was still holed up in the classroom where children were slain

As per the police practice, an official needs to immediately confront a school shooter even if it puts officers’ lives in danger.

Arredondo defended his actions saying that his primary concern was to save the lives of as many teachers and students as possible. But he said officers on scene could not find a key to unlock the door to the classroom until 77 minutes after the massacre began.

However, the public safety chief, Steven McCraw, told a Texas Senate hearing on Tuesday that the door was not locked and there was no evidence officers tried to see if it was secured while others searched for a key.

Arredondo, who was elected to the Uvalde City Council shortly before the shooting, is also in danger of losing his council seat. He has requested a leave of absence and missed Tuesday night’s city council meeting, when the rest of the city council on Tuesday denied him a leave of absence.

If he misses three straight meetings, the council can remove him.

(With inputs from agencies)

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