Embattled Chief Pete Arredondo Quits Council: 'Best Decision for Uvalde'

Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief, who received widespread criticism for his lackluster response to the deadly mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, is stepping down from his position within the city council.

On May 24, 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos opened fire inside the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and fatally shot 19 students and two teachers in one of the deadliest school shootings to ever occur in the United States. After the attack, local police faced significant backlash over their delayed response.

Arredondo was elected to the city council on May 7, just weeks before the shooting, and was privately sworn in on May 31. However, his short tenure was marred by controversy.

He announced Saturday that he will be resigning from the council so that the city can "continue to move forward without distractions," adding that he feels "this is the best decision for Uvalde," according to the Uvalde Leader-News.

Pete Arredondo resigns from Uvalde city council
Uvalde’s school police chief Pete Arredondo, facing criticism for his handling of the Robb Elementary School shooting, said he is resigning from the city council. Above, a memorial is seen outside the school on June 17. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

"As we continue to grieve over the tragedy that occurred on May 24th, we pray for the families involved and our community. Uvalde has a rich history of loving and supporting thy neighbor and we must continue to do so," Arredondo, who was placed on administrative leave from the school district on June 22, said in a statement to the newspaper.

He continued: "In speaking with other communities that have had similar tragedies, the guidance has been the same...continue to support the families, continue to support our community, and definitely, to keep our faith. As I think about my life, from growing up as a child and to adulthood, Uvalde has held an attraction that is very unique. At the center of that attraction, is our community members. Together, we will keep Uvalde strong. Uvalde strong, Uvalde home."

During his time on the council, Arredondo, who is the highest paid law enforcement official in Uvalde County, requested a continued leave of absence from his role on the city council, which it denied at the end of June to the cheers of members of the public. The police chief had not attended any meetings since joining the council and remained out of the public eye following the school shooting.

Many local residents have called for his resignation or termination from both the city council and the police department.

Law enforcement has faced criticism for responding slowly to the shooting, during which they designated Ramos as a barricaded subject instead of an active shooter. Arredondo is accused of preventing nearly two dozen police officers from entering the school for about an hour out of concerns that they could be shot.

Texas Department of Public Safety (TDPS) Director Steven McCraw said after the shooting that the police chief made "the wrong decision, period." He later criticized Arredondo for making "terrible decisions" as incident commander.

"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."