Uvalde mayor won’t say whether he has confidence in Pete Arredondo

Uvalde mayor won't say whether he has confidence in Pete Arredondo

Uvalde, Texas Mayor Don McLaughlin declined to answer Tuesday when asked if he had confidence in schools police chief and new councilman Pete Arredondo, who has been blamed for the botched police response to the massacre at Robb Elementary School.

Arredondo also wasn’t in attendance Tuesday as the City Council met for the first time publicly, two weeks after 18-year-old shooter Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary, rocking the small Texas city and sparking a debate on gun rights across the nation.

The special meeting was called to extend the city’s state of emergency, but revealed more about the state of the investigation into the shooting and the botched police response.

“I don’t know the missteps that went on. Whatever mistakes were made, whether it’s our agency or any agency involved, everybody’s going to be accountable and they’re going to have to own whatever mistakes were made. We’ll be transparent with that,” McLaughlin said.

Arredondo, who was quietly sworn into office on May 31, has been blamed for wrongly telling police at the scene of the shooting not to storm the school while Ramos was still inside.

Asked if he had confidence in Arredondo as a city council member, McLaughlin said, “I’m not going to speak for Pete Arredondo. He’ll have to speak for himself. I’m not going to go there.”

Arredondo wasn't present at the speical city council meeting to to extend the city’s state of emergency.
Arredondo wasn’t present at the special city council meeting to extend the city’s state of emergency.
AP Photo/Eric Gay

The mayor also revealed he had not personally spoken to Arredondo in more than a week and did not know why he was not present at the city council meeting.

The mayor also shared an update about the Justice Department review of the investigation he has requested.

“They’ll name a team by tomorrow of who’s going to lead that investigation,” McLaughlin said. “It will just be a review of the investigation that’s going on, but let me be clear, I have the utmost confidence in the Texas Rangers.”

Arredondo was sworn in as a city councilman on May 31, 2022.
Arredondo was sworn in as a city councilman on May 31, 2022.

The Rangers, which are part of the Texas Department of Public Safety, are heading up the investigation. The mayor admitted there had been missteps in some of the information that had been released by DPS, but said he wasn’t placing blame on any agency.

“I’ve asked everybody involved for a briefing at one point or another,” said the mayor, who claims his requests have been denied. “It’s frustrating, but again, I’ve been told I’m not law enforcement.”

McLaughlin explained that he’s asked the district attorney’s office and multiple police agencies for a briefing in the last week.

“We want facts and answers just like everybody else. We have to look at these families everyday, and my heart breaks for them every single day,” the mayor said.

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