UVALDE, Texas – Uvalde school Police Chief Pete Arredondo was demoted at the Webb County Sheriff’s Office eight years before he incompetently led the controversial law enforcement response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, according to reports.
Arredondo “couldn’t get along with his coworkers, especially upper staff,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar told the San Antonio Express-News. The sheriff also said he demoted Arredondo from assistant chief to commander in 2014.
“The basic thing I want to say is he just didn’t fit the qualifications or the work that I set out for him,” Cuellar said, according to the news outlet.
Arredondo has been heavily criticized for his response during the May 24 massacre, which claimed the lives of 21 people. Police failed to breach the classroom door containing the 18-year-old mass murderer for 77 minutes after arriving on scene.
The Texas legislature issued a report last month that found Arredondo had “failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander.”
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw testified before the special committee in June, denouncing the police response an “abject failure,” Law Officer reported.
“There’s compelling evidence that the law enforcement response to the attack at Robb Elementary was an abject failure and antithetical to everything we’ve learned over the last two decades since the Columbine massacre,” McCraw said.
Weeks after the massacre, Arredondo said he didn’t consider himself the incident commander, Law Officer reported.
According to documents first reported by the San Antonio Express-News, Arredondo, while working for Webb County, was “reassigned from Assistant Chief to Commander” in October 2014, and that two days earlier, a Webb County employee had written “demotion” on his payroll worksheet.
Arredondo departed the Webb County Sheriff’s Office in 2017 and took a role in Laredo as a school district police captain. While applying for a subsequent position in Laredo in 2020, Arredondo highlighted his role in hostage negotiations during his time in Webb County, ABC News reported.
However, the Webb County sheriff who demoted Arredondo in 2014 held a different perspective. Cuellar told the San Antonio Express-News that Arredondo “exaggerated a little bit” about his role when communicating with Laredo.
“It wasn’t him completely. I think he exaggerated a little bit,” Cuellar said, adding that it was a team effort.
Arredondo became the police chief of the Uvalde Independent School District in February 2020. He resigned from the Uvalde City Council in July and remains on administrative leave from the school district.