The Uvalde school district announced Friday that it had suspended its entire police force amid ongoing fallout over officers’ failed response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
“Recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations,” the district said in a statement. “As a result of the recent developments, Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller have been placed on administrative leave, and the District has made the decision to suspend all activities of the Uvalde CISD Police Department for a period of time. Officers currently employed will fill other roles in the district.”
In the meantime, the district has requested more troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety to be stationed on school campuses and at extra-curricular activities, according to the statement.
“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” it added.
It was not clear how long the suspension would be for.
The police response to the shooting was sharply criticized as nearly 400 officers responded, but waited more than an hour before confronting and killing the gunman.
In August, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s board of trustees voted unanimously to fire school Police Chief Pete Arredondo under mounting pressure in the grieving Texas town to punish officers for hesitating more than 70 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman in the fourth-grade classroom. Most notably, Arredondo was criticized for not ordering officers to act sooner.
The extraordinary move by Uvalde school leaders to suspend campus police operations — one month into a new school year in the South Texas community — underscored the sustained efforts that victims’ families have kept on the district to hold them accountable.
A new report finds 400 law enforcement officials rushed to Uvalde mass shooting, but “systemic failures” caused delays that lasted more than an hour before the gunman was finally killed
Parents of some of some of the victims have been camping outside the town’s school district administrative building over the last 10 days, demanding action, NBC’s TODAY show reports.
Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son Uziyah Garcia was killed in the massacre, told TODAY he wasn’t going to back down until every district officer who was present on May 24 was fired.
“I’m not backing down,” Cross said in a phone interview with TODAY Parents from his post outside the school district building. “I’m a pissed-off dad who is going to do everything in his power to not let this happen to another child or another father or another mother.”
On Friday, Cross responded to the news from the district, tweeting, “We Did it! And we are going home!!”