Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief who has been under fire for the tactical response to the Uvalde school shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24, has resigned from Uvalde’s City Council.
As of Thursday, Arredondo was absent from his third consecutive council meeting. Uvalde’s City Charter says a council member who misses three meetings in a row is subject to being replaced. Arredondo had submitted a leave of absence from future council meetings, but the City Council denied his request last week.
“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to step down as a member of the City Council for District 3,” Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News on Friday. “The mayor, the city council, and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde,” the Leader-News quoted Arredondo as saying.
In a statement, the City of Uvalde initially said that, although resigning is the right thing for Arredondo to do, it had not spoken to him or seen documentation of his resignation. The city later released an updated statement, saying the mayor and city secretary received Arredondo’s resignation letter.
In the letter, Arredondo addressed the city and the Uvalde community.
“As I think about my life, from growing up as a child and into adulthood, Uvalde has held an attraction that is incredibly unique,” Arredondo wrote. “At the center of that attraction, is our community members. Together, we will keep Uvalde strong.”
The City of Uvalde said it plans to address the council vacancy. Its City Charter states that a special election will be held in such circumstances.
Arredondo was sworn in to the council position May 31, days after the massacre, and faced backlash over what has been described as an inadequate response to the mass shooting. State authorities identified Arredondo as the on-scene commander during the shooting, during which the gunman remained in the school for more than an hour before being killed by law enforcement.
On June 22, the Uvalde school district placed Arredondo on administrative leave.
Arredondo, who has worked in law enforcement for nearly 30 years, has not been public about his decision-making that day, other than an interview with the Texas Tribune in which he said he did not consider himself the on-scene commander and that he never ordered officers to stand down.