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Uvalde school district suspends entire police department over shooting fallout

The Uvalde, Texas, school district police department has been suspended “for a period of time” amid the fallout from the response to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

“The district remains committed to resolving issues with verifiable evidence. Decisions regarding the UCISD police department are pending the results of the investigation by the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the JPPI. said Friday in a statement.

During the suspension, the department’s current officers “will perform other roles in the district.”

The district also placed Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, director of student services, on administrative leave. Mueller chose to resign, according to the statement.

The shooting sparked intense outrage and an investigation after it was revealed that an hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds had elapsed between when law enforcement entered the building and when the shooter was killed. Nearly 400 officers responded to the scene.

A scathing report released in July by a Texas House committee noted “systemic failures and extremely poor decision-making” by police and the school district.

The report said that beyond the shooter, no other individual was to blame for the massacre. Still, he described a number of failures committed by not intervening with the 18-year-old shooter, preventing the shooting or minimizing the devastation. He also noted that a lack of clear leadership and direction contributed to the officers’ “generally nonchalant approach” to the shooting.

Many of the 376 officers who responded “received and relied on inaccurate information,” and others “had enough information to know better,” the report concludes.

“The scene was chaotic, with no one clearly in charge or directing the law enforcement response,” the report said.

In August, Uvalde Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo was fired following a recommendation from the school district superintendent. The Texas House committee report said that under the district’s active fire plan, he would have been the incident commander, but Arredondo said he did not consider himself the officer in charge.

This is a developing story. Please check for updates.

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