Acting Uvalde Police Chief During School Shooting Placed on Leave After Report Details ‘Systemic’ Failures

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The lieutenant who was the acting police chief on duty the day of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has been placed on administrative leave, following a report that found systemic failures by law enforcement who responded to the incident.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin confirmed in a statement published on July 17 that Lt. Mariano Pargas had been placed on leave. McLaughlin noted that the city has a responsibility to evaluate how the Uvalde Police Department responded to the shooting incident, including Pargas’s role as acting chief.

“This administrative leave is to investigate whether Lt. Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24th, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible, given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations,” McLaughlin wrote in the statement.

The statement didn’t provide details as to whether Pargas was placed on paid or unpaid leave.

The announcement came just hours after the Texas state House of Representatives on July 17 published a 77-page report noting that there were failures across the board by some of the roughly 400 law enforcement officers who responded to the May 24 mass shooting, including Pargas.

“There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregious poor decision making,” the report said.

It also pointed to “shortcomings and failures of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District [CISD] and of various agencies and officers of law enforcement” and “an overall lackadaisical approach.”

‘Void of Leadership’

Pargas told the committee that “he figured” CISD police Chief Pete Arredondo had jurisdiction over the incident and that he “must have been coordinating the law enforcement response—and that the Uvalde Police were there to assist,” the report states.

By Katabella Roberts

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