DALLAS (AP) — The Uvalde police officer who headed the city’s police department resigned amid law enforcement hesitation in responding to an elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers. , a city spokesman said Thursday.
According to city spokeswoman Gina Eisenberg, Lieutenant Mariano Pargas left the department voluntarily, but it was not immediately clear whether he had retired or resigned.
Pergus is the second police chief to lose his job due to fallout since the May massacre, when hundreds of police officers waited over an hour inside a classroom at Robb Elementary School to confront the gunman.
Following dismal reports from lawmakers about the police response, the city placed Pergus, which operated the department during the shooting, on administrative leave in July because Mayor Daniel Rodriguez was out of town. This comes days after new audio highlighted that Pergus was told that children were alive in the classroom with the shooter, 30 minutes before officers broke into the room.
Months after the shooting, state officials focused the blame on school district police chief Pete Arredondo, saying he had made a “terrible decision” as field commander not to immediately confront the shooter. Arredondo said he was fired in August, but he didn’t think he was in charge, and that he eventually had someone else manage the police response, which had ballooned to nearly 400 officers. He said he thought he was.
As police were gathering around the school, a dispatcher told Pargus that “eight to nine” children were still alive inside the classroom where the shooter was trapped, according to an audio recording released by CNN. Pargas can be heard verifying information, but it takes over half an hour for the tactical team to break in and kill the gunman.
Authorities say the shooter opened fire within minutes of entering the classroom, but it is unclear whether there are official counts of how many children who were in the room survived. One of the survivors, Corina Camacho, told the Associated Press that none of the 11 children were killed and that their families are in contact.The children died unnoticed by the shooters. Pretending to speak publicly.
In addition to the ousting of Pargus and Arredondo, the families of the victims and some legislators are calling for the resignation or dismissal of Texas Public Safety Director Colonel Steve McCraw. Body camera footage, legislative investigations, and media reports indicate that state police played a bigger role at the scene than police appear to suggest in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.
Among the 376 law enforcement officers who eventually responded were 91 DPS troopers. Seven people underwent internal investigations this summer, but McCraw defends the agency’s overall response, saying Uvalde “didn’t fail.”
https://wgntv.com/news/national/acting-uvalde-police-chief-during-school-shooting-steps-down/ Acting police chief Uvalde resigns after school shooting