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Uvalde suspends school police force after mass shooting

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    1 day ago

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Image source, Reuters

The school district in Uvalde, Texas, has suspended its entire police force following protests by parents of children killed in a shooting there.

The suspension will be indefinite, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) said in a statement.

Recent developments “have uncovered additional concerns with department operations”, it added.

Nineteen children and two teachers died in the attack at Robb Elementary School on 24 May.

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Police have been accused of botching the response to the fatal shooting.

A July investigation into the shooting by the Texas legislature found “systemic failures and egregiously poor decision-making” by those involved in the response.

The UCISD is responsible for supervising the security of schools in the Uvalde area, including Robb Elementary.

The school district’s police force consisted of five officers and one security guard, according to its website.

Their officers were among the first of nearly 400 police to respond to the attack by a rifle-wielding 19-year-old gunman, who was eventually shot and killed by a border patrol agent.

State troopers have been asked to help provide security for the school district, the UCISD statement said.

There are still two ongoing investigations into the police response to the school shooting.

It recently emerged that a police officer newly hired by the Uvalde school district is being looked into for her conduct on the day of the shooting, while she was working as a state trooper. Officer Crimson Elizondo was fired from the force on Thursday.

Also on Friday, the acting district police chief was placed on administrative leave while the director of student services of the Uvalde school district announced his decision to retire.

Parent of the shooting’s victims have been camped outside school offices for days. They praised the district’s decision to suspend the entire police force.

“They don’t know how to hire people, they don’t know how to vet officers,” mother Kimberly Rubio, told ABC News, adding that the move to suspend the entire force is “what we’ve been asking for – it’s more than we’ve been asking for”.

The former head of the police department for the school district, Pete Arredondo, was fired in August. He was one of the first officers on the scene that day, and received much of the blame for the botched response.

The Texas Department of Public Safety has said that Mr Arredondo wrongly told officers under his command to treat the situation as if they were dealing with a barricaded gunman rather than an active shooter, which would have prompted a more urgent enforcement reaction.

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