Uvalde Acting Police Chief During Elementary School Massacre Resigns | FOX 4 Kansas City WDAF-TV

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DALLAS (AP) — The Uvalde officer who led the city’s police department during law enforcement’s wavering response to an elementary school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers has resigned, said a city spokeswoman said Thursday.

Lt. Mariano Pargas left the department voluntarily, but it was not immediately clear whether he had retired or resigned, according to city spokeswoman Gina Eisenberg.

Pargas is the second police chief to leave law enforcement in the fallout since the May massacre, when hundreds of officers waited more than an hour to confront the gunman in a classroom at Robb Elementary. School.

The city placed Pargas, who led the department during the shooting because the chief, Daniel Rodriguez, was out of town, on administrative leave in July following a damning report from lawmakers about the police response. His departure comes days after a new audio recording showed Pargas was told there were children alive in a classroom with the shooter half an hour before officers entered the room. . The city council was to consider firing him at a special meeting on Saturday.

In the months following the shooting, state officials focused blame on school district police chief Pete Arredondo, saying he made “terrible decisions” as on-scene commander for do not confront the shooter sooner. Arredondo was fired in August but said he did not see himself as responsible and assumed someone else had taken control of the police response which eventually reached nearly 400 officers.

Audio recordings released by CNN show that as officers massed around the school, a dispatcher told Pargas there were ‘eight to nine’ children still alive in the classroom where the shooter was. shut in. Pargas can be heard recognizing the information, but more than 30 minutes passed before a tactical team entered and killed the shooter.

Authorities said the shooter fired most of his shots within minutes of entering the classroom, but it’s unclear whether there is an official tally of the number of children who survived in the room. Corina Camacho, whose son was shot and was among the survivors, told The Associated Press that 11 children were not killed and their families were trying to keep in touch. Children have publicly recounted playing dead to avoid being noticed by the shooter.

In addition to the Pargas and Arredondo ousters, families of the victims and some lawmakers have in recent months called for the resignation or firing of Col. Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Body camera footage, a legislative investigation and media reports showed state police played a bigger role at the scene than the department seemed to suggest in the aftermath of the shooting.

Ninety-one DPS soldiers were among the 376 law enforcement officers who eventually responded. Seven were investigated internally this summer, but McCraw defended his agency’s overall response, saying it “didn’t fail” Uvalde.

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