The lieutenant who was the acting police chief on duty the day of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has been placed on administrative leave, following a report that found systemic failures by law enforcement who responded to the incident.
"This administrative leave is to investigate whether Lt. Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24th, what specific actions Lt. Pargas took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible, given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations,” McLaughlin wrote in the statement.
The statement didn't provide details as to whether Pargas was placed on paid or unpaid leave.
"There is no one to whom we can attribute malice or ill motives. Instead, we found systemic failures and egregious poor decision making," the report said.
'Void of Leadership'Pargas told the committee that "he figured" CISD police Chief Pete Arredondo had jurisdiction over the incident and that he "must have been coordinating the law enforcement response—and that the Uvalde Police were there to assist," the report states.
The committee, in its report, also determined that Arredondo, who was one of the first responders on the scene, "failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander" on the day of the shooting, which left 19 students and two teachers dead.
"This was an essential duty he had assigned to himself in the plan mentioned above, yet it was not effectively performed by anyone," the report states. "The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon."
Arredondo was placed on leave in June following growing criticism over his failure not to immediately breach the classroom where gunman Salvador Ramos was fatally shooting students at the Texas school.
Missing KeyIn June, Arredondo told The Texas Tribune that a missing key to a locked classroom door was the reason law enforcement officers took more than 70 minutes to take down Ramos.
"The only thing that was important to me at this time was to save as many teachers and children as possible," he said.
But in its report, the committee noted that "in this crisis, no responder seized the initiative to establish an incident command post."
"Despite an obvious atmosphere of chaos, the ranking officers of other responding agencies did not approach the Uvalde CISD chief of police or anyone else perceived to be in command to point out the lack of and need for a command post, or to offer that specific assistance," the report states.
"Given the information known about victims who survived through the time of the breach and who later died on the way to the hospital, it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait 73 additional minutes for rescue."
In his statement published on July 17, McLaughlin said he agreed with the committee’s review of the mass shooting incident and its finding that there was a "failure of command," but said the city has further questions regarding that day, such as who was responsible for taking command and what specific actions were taken by each agency on the day.
The Uvalde mayor’s office didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for additional comment.