Harrell stated that there is a lack of clarity and the undetermined timing of when the findings from an inquiry will be released as the main reason for this decision. He also stated that the decision will take effect immediately. The press release doesn't clarify whether the administrative leave taken by Arredondo is paid or unpaid. Harrell has not released any additional information about his personnel choice.
The Chief of Police of UCISD, Arredondo, who is the head of the department that has six police officers, was slammed by the public for his part as a participant in the Robb Elementary Shooting in May that killed 19 students and two teachers. Arredondo was one of the officers who was the first to respond to the attack and was named by officials from the state as the officer on the scene.
This past Tuesday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw testified during a special Texas Senate Committee telling members that the response by law enforcement officers for the attack was “an abject failure.” McCraw said to committee members Arredondo in his role as the scene commander, was accountable for the inefficiency of law enforcement entering the adjacent classrooms in which the shooter resisted first responders for over an hour.
The shooter was killed by a hurriedly formed team consisting of Border Patrol agents and local and state officials. Arredondo blamed the delays in getting access into the school to a search for keys that would allow them to open the doors. According to Breitbart, Texas Authorities say one of the doors in the classroom might not have been secured, or even locked, due to mechanical problems.
In an interview conducted with the Texas Tribune, Arredondo disputes the idea that he was the on-scene commanding officer. Arredondo stated to the Tribune that he believed to be in the position as a first responder. He also said it was believed that someone else on the exterior of the structure was in control of the incident. As per the Tribune, Arredondo checked one classroom door while another officer inspected the other door and found both locked.
Arredondo has stood up for his actions as well as those of law enforcement officials from the area who responded to the shooting, telling The Tribune, “Not a single officer who responded hesitated even for a second to put themselves at risk in order to protect children. We took on the information we had and were forced to adapt to any situation we encountered. Our aim was to ensure that as many lives were saved as we could. The expulsion of the students from their classrooms involved saved the lives of over 500 Uvalde schoolchildren and their teachers prior to when we had access to the shooter and ended the danger.”