Uvalde School District Suspends Entire Police Force, Superintendent Retires Amid Fallout From Shooting

Uvalde:365 is an ongoing ABC news series reported from Uvalde and focuses on the Texas community and how it evolves in the shadow of tragedy.

The Uvalde, Texas, school district — has faced withering criticism over the failings of its police department both times. May 24 Primary School Massacre And — announced the suspension of the entire district police force on Friday.

Hours later, Uvalde School District Superintendent Hal Harrell announced his retirement. No timeframe has been given for Harrell’s retirement, but the transition will be discussed at a closed session of the school board on Monday.

The district said more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers have been requested to be stationed on campuses and at extracurricular activities amid the police suspension, adding, “We are confident that the safety of staff and students will not be compromised during this transition.”

The length of the school district police suspension is unclear.

An officer walks outside Rapp Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022.

Alison Dinner/AFP via Getty Images

Lt. Miguel Hernandez, who was in charge of leading the department in the fallout from the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers, and Ken Mueller, UCISD’s director of student services, were placed on administrative leave.

Hernandez acknowledged in a law enforcement briefing in August that he received formal notification from DPS that an officer applying for Uvalde’s school police force at Robb Elementary was under investigation.

Mueller has chosen to retire, according to the school district.

“The officers currently employed will also fill other positions in the district,” a school source said. According to the district’s website, it has four officers and one custodian.

The victims’ families were led by Brett Cross, the guardian of 10-year-old Uzia Garcia A 24-hour vigil outside school district headquarters calling for change. The family is now praising the police announcement on Friday.

Photo: Family members of Robb Elementary School victims and their supporters protest at the Uvalde School District offices on September 29, 2022.

Family members of the Robb Elementary School victims and their supporters protested at the Uvalde School District offices on September 29, 2022.

Kate Holland/ABC News

“They don’t know how to hire people, they don’t know how to supervise officers,” Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed at Robb Elementary, told ABC News. “They don’t provide proper training.”

Friday’s news is “what we’re asking for — it’s more than what we’re asking for,” he said.

Photo: Kimberly Rubio, mother of slain Rapp Elementary student Alexandria Anya Rubio, comforts Texas gubernatorial candidate Peteo O'Rourke during a press conference on Sept. 30, 2022, in Edinburg, Texas.

Kimberly Rubio, mother of slain Rapp Elementary student Alexandria Anya Rubio, Texas gubernatorial candidate Pete O’Rourke and some family members of the children who died at Rapp Elementary in Uvalde held a press conference in Fountain Park to offer condolences. Friday, September 30, 2022, in Edinburg, Texas.

Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP

Gloria Casarez, His 9-year-old daughter, Jackie, Killed, the department called the suspension “bittersweet.”

“It’s a win — a small win,” he told ABC News. “We’re not done.”

The department’s suspension comes a day later The shooting of Crimson ElizandoThe officer was hired by Uvalde’s school district for acting as a DPS trooper during the massacre.

Elizondo was the first DPS member to enter Rob’s hallway after the shooter entered. According to the results of an internal review by DPS, the trooper did not bring his firearm or clothing into the school.

The trooper is one of seven DPS employees now being investigated by the agency’s inspector general for allegedly failing to follow standard procedures. All seven were suspended, however, since Elizondo resigned from DPS to work in the Uvalde schools, he faced no further internal discipline or fines. His conduct — if found to be in violation of law or policy — will still be included in the DPS inspector general’s final report.

The results of investigations by the Texas Association of Chiefs of Police and private investigative agency JPBI Investigations are pending, but “recent developments have revealed additional concerns about department operations.”

The report said the results of the JPPI investigation “will inform future staffing decisions” and the Texas Association of Police Chiefs’ review “will guide the rebuilding of the department and the hiring of a new police chief.”

School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, He was fired in August.

ABC News’ Patrick Linehan and Olivia Osteen contributed to this report.

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