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Acting Uvalde Police Chief Suspended Following State Probe into School Shooting Response

Lt. Mariano Pargas’ suspension comes nearly a month after it was announced that Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo would also be placed on administrative leave

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As a result of a review of the police department’s response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, the acting police chief has been placed on administrative leave.

The Texas Tribune reports that Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin announced Lt. Mariano Pargas’ suspension on Sunday. It’s unclear if the leave will be paid, according to a report in the Austin-American Statesman.

PEOPLE’s request for comment was not immediately returned by the Uvalde Police Department.

An investigation by a Texas House Investigative Committee into the actions of law enforcement on May 24, when officers took 77 minutes to confront a gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers, was released on Sunday and led to the announcement.

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According to the report, the police response to the active shooting ignored its own training.

Their own safety was not given priority over the lives of innocent victims, the report said.

Pargas’ suspension comes nearly a month after it was announced that Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, whose response that day has also been criticized, was placed on administrative leave.

He fears a “cover up” in the Texas Department of Public Safety investigation of the school shootings in Uvalde.

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When the New York Times reported in June that he was one of the first responders to the scene that day, Arredondo said that he didn’t think he was the commanding officer.

When an active shooter situation occurs, the chief of police would “become the person in charge of all law enforcement and first responders that arrive at the scene,” according to a plan he co-wrote.

According to the report released on Sunday, even though 376 law enforcement officers were stationed at the school, they were unable to stop the gunman because they lacked the “urgency” to do so. Leadership and communication were also said to be lacking.

According to the report, the responders “should have reassessed the scenario as one involving an active shooter” instead of acting as if they were dealing with a barricaded subject. If the mistake had been caught earlier, there would have been more urgency in breaking into the classroom, apprehending the assailant, and getting help to the survivors.

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‘We could never ask a child or a teacher to go back,’ Uvalde Mayor Roberto Martinez said in a statement announcing the demolition of Robb Elementary School.”

We concur with the Committee’s findings that there was a lack of command in the incident “The Tribune quotes McLaughlin as saying this. In light of the presence of senior level commanders from each agency on the scene, we do have additional concerns about who was in charge of taking command.

On his leave from work, the city will conduct an investigation to see if Pargas was responsible for taking command and what actions he took to establish that command, reports the New York Times As reported further by the Tribune, the mayor has said that the city will also conduct a “internal investigation into the actions and policies of the local police department.”

Apparently, there was “an overall lax approach” to law enforcement at the scene, according to the document.

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The report was compiled by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R), Rep. Joe Moody (D), and Public Member Hon. Eva Guzman, who represents Lubbock’s District 83 in the House of Representatives.

For the families affected by the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, First State Bank of Uvalde has opened an official account in their name. Payable to the “Robb School Memorial Fund,” donors can mail in checks or use Zelle to make a donation to robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.com. Donations can also be made over the phone at (803) 356-2273.

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