Uvalde Mayor holds emergency meeting to reissue declaration of local state of disaster over school shooting as he says he has ‘full confidence’ in cops as police chief in charge of operations FAILS to show up
- Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin extended the city’s declaration of a local state emergency, securing access to response funds and resources from the state
- Speaking to reporters, the mayor declined to comment on whether he has confidence in embattled police chief Peter Arredondo
- Arredondo was conspicuously absent from the city council meeting, but McLaughlin said that he made no effort to invite him
- The mayor said that he hadn’t spoken to Arredondo in at least a week and a half
The mayor of Uvalde, Texas, held an emergency city council meeting on Tuesday afternoon to reissue the city’s declaration of a local state of disaster in the wake of the Robb Elementary School shooting.
Conspicuously absent from the meeting were any law enforcement officers or detectives, including Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police chief Peter Arredondo, who has come under fire for his allegedly botched handling of the police response.
While answering questions from reporters, Mayor Don McLaughlin expressed frustration over being frozen out of investigations into the shooting that killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers on May 24, but said he has ‘full confidence’ in local police.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin extended the city’s declaration of a local state of disaster at an emergency city council meeting on Tuesday afternoon
McLaughlin took questions from reporters after the meeting, who grilled him on the police response to the shooting, and authorities’ transparency in the aftermath
After a prayer and a recitation of the pledge of allegiance, the council voted unanimously to reissue the local state of disaster declaration, extending the city’s access to state recovery services.
‘It enables us to still have these state services here to get counselors here for these families, whatever they need,’ McLaughlin said. ‘Whatever assets these families need, or whatever assets are needed in the community, that we will have that ability to ask the state for it and it will be here.’
Alfred Garza III, the father of one of the victims of the mass shooting, attended the city council meeting
The Uvalde city council held a prayer and recited the pledge of allegiance at the start of the meeting
McLaughlin then began taking questions from reporters, who grilled him on authorities’ transparency in the wake of the shooting.
‘You have parents here in the room, they obviously aren’t getting any answers either, is there anything the city can do?’ a reporter asked.
‘I’m asking every day, I promise you, I’m asking every day.’
Embattled police chief Peter Arredondo, who has been fingered as the man who told officers not to enter the room where the Salvador Ramos, 18, was holed up with students on May 24
When asked about Arredondo, McLaughlin admitted that he hadn’t seen or spoken to the police chief in at least a week, and declined to answer a direct question about whether he had confidence in him.
‘I’m not going to speak for Pete Arredondo,’ he said, ‘He’ll have to speak for himself. I’m not going to go there.’
Reporters noted that Arredondo was not present at the meeting, but McLaughlin said that he did not make an effort to invite him.
McLaughlin assured reporters that everybody would be held accountable for any ‘missteps’ that happened during the shooting response.
‘I don’t know the missteps that went on. Whatever mistakes were made, whether it’s our agency or any agency involved, everybody’s going to be accountable and they’re going to have to own whatever mistakes were made. We’ll be transparent with that,’ the mayor said.
A distraught couple on the day of the mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School that claimed the lives of 19 students and 2 teachers
Law enforcement at the perimeter of the Robb Elementary School after the mass shooting on May 24
Asked whether he thought it was acceptable that there hadn’t been an official statement about the investigation from authorities in a week, McLaughlin said that he didn’t.
‘No, it’s not,’ McLaughlin said, explaining that though has been asking for briefings, he was not being involved in the investigation, ‘I’ve asked everybody involved for a briefing at one point or another.’
‘It’s frustrating, but again I’ve been told I’m not law enforcement. But it makes me feel real frustrated. I am the mayor of this community, but I’m not a law enforcement officer and the last thing I want to do is jeopardize their investigation.’
The mayor insisted that despite his gripes, he stands by law enforcement.
‘Let me be clear, I have the utmost confidence in Texas rangers.’