(UVALDE, Texas) — Pete Arredondo, the embattled police chief of the school district where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting, is resigning from his city council post, city officials said.
A local newspaper in Uvalde, Texas, first reported Arredondo’s decision to resign, which city officials later confirmed.
Arredondo, the police chief for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, served as incident commander during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24. He has faced criticism and calls for his resignation as chief from parents and the Uvalde community over the police response and delay in breaching the classrooms where the gunman carried out the attack.
Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council in early May and was sworn in days after the school shooting. He told the Uvalde Leader-News on Friday he plans to resign from his city council post, according to the local newspaper.
Following the report’s publication, the city of Uvalde said it had not seen a letter of resignation or spoken to Arredondo. The Uvalde city manager’s office told ABC News Saturday afternoon that the city council had just received his written resignation. The city called his resignation “the right thing to do.”
In his resignation letter obtained by ABC News, Arredondo said that “it is in the best interest of the community to step down as a member of the City Council for District 3 to minimize further distractions.”
“The Mayor, the City Council, and the City Staff must continue to move forward to unite our community, once again,” he continued.
Arredondo and his representatives have not responded to ABC News’ requests for comment.
About a dozen people, including some of the victims’ relatives, came out in the afternoon heat Sunday to call on Arredondo to resign as school police chief and for District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee to step down.
Uziyah Garcia’s mother, Mandy Renfro, was at the street corner of the makeshift memorial in the town center holding a poster that said, “Bravery called… it wants its badges back.”
Uziyah’s uncle, Brett Cross, held a sign that said “families deserve the truth.”
The protest followed a council meeting Thursday when families confronted the mayor and the Uvalde City Council, asking for answers about the investigation.
The news of Arredondo’s resignation comes after the Uvalde City Council last week denied Arredondo’s request for a leave of absence from future meetings, in an effort to be more transparent following criticisms of law enforcement’s handling of the shooting.
Arredondo has not been present at three meetings since he was sworn in, including a heated hearing on Thursday during which families of victims demanded more information on what happened that tragic day.
The school district placed Arredondo on administrative leave last week, effective immediately, amid multiple ongoing investigations into the shooting.
Arredondo defended the police response in a rare interview with The Texas Tribune last month.
“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo told the paper. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced.”
He added, “Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”
He also told the paper he did not consider himself the commanding officer on the scene that day.
During an emotional school board meeting last week, parents and community members called for Arredondo’s resignation. Several argued that law enforcement should be held partly accountable for the tragedy due to what was described as inadequate decision-making.
Nineteen law enforcement officers waited 77 minutes in the hallway outside the classroom containing the gunman, after Arredondo wrongly believed that the situation had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject, law enforcement has said.
Arredondo testified last week for almost five hours during a hearing on the shooting held during an executive session by the Texas state House of Representatives. A special Texas state Senate panel is also currently conducting a probe into the shooting.
The Uvalde district attorney is also investigating the shooting, and the U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the law enforcement response.
ABC News’ Julia Jacobo, Teddy Grant, Samira Said, Aaron Katersky and Melissa Gaffney contributed to this report.
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