Crowd Cheers as Uvalde City Council Denies Pete Arredondo Leave

Pete Arredondo Uvalde City Council Absence Denial
Members of the pubic reportedly cheered after the Uvalde City Council denied an extended leave of absence for Uvalde schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo on Tuesday, who was sworn in as a council member one week after last month's massacre at Robb Elementary School. Above, items left in memory of the 19 children and two adults killed in the mass shooting are pictured atop the school's welcome sign in Uvalde, Texas, on May 28, 2022. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty

Cheers erupted on Tuesday after Pete Arredondo, the embattled police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD), was denied a continued leave of absence from his new role as member of the Uvalde City Council.

Arredondo, who was privately sworn into the council one week after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School took the lives of 19 children and two adults, has not attended any meetings since joining the council and has largely remained out of the public eye amid heavy criticism of his actions as incident commander during the massacre.

During a city council meeting on Tuesday, members of the public cheered after it was decided that Arredondo's future absences would not be excused, according to Fox News reporter Ashley Soriano.

A short video clip shared to Twitter by Soriano on Tuesday evening, purportedly recorded just after the council voted against the leave of absence, shows a crowd clapping and cheering during the meeting. During the forum, local residents urged the council to avoid "adding fuel to a raging fire" by allowing Arredondo leave, preferring that he "fall on his own sword," according to San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT.

Arredondo has been urged to resign from both the city council and the Uvalde CISD Police Department due to his performance during the Robb Elementary shooting. As incident commander, Arredondo was responsible for the decision to designate 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos as a "barricaded" subject rather than an "active shooter," which likely stopped police from confronting Ramos before he had completed his classroom massacre.

Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) Director Steven McCraw said that Arredondo had made "the wrong decision, period" in the week after the shooting. During a Texas Senate hearing on Tuesday, McCraw further admonished Arredondo for making "terrible decisions" that resulted in the "abject failure" of the police response, according to Reuters.

"There is compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we've learned," said McCraw. "The officers had weapons, the children had none. The officers had body armor, the children had none. The officers had training, the subject had none."

"The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from entering Room 111, and 112, was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children," he added. "[Arredondo] waited for radio and rifles, and he waited for shields and he waited for SWAT. Lastly, he waited for a key that was never needed."

Also on Tuesday, TDPS troopers reportedly helped Arredondo avoid the media by sneaking him into a closed-door Texas House of Representatives investigation committee hearing on the shooting.

Members of the public have increasingly accused Texas officials of attempting to cover up the police response to the shooting, due in part to efforts to resist the release of public records, including a refusal to grant at least 70 public information requests.

Newsweek reached out to Arredondo via the Uvalde CISD Police Department for comment.