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Uvalde school district suspends entire police force after 'recent developments' in shooting response investigation

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Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District has suspended the entire UCISD police force, the district announced Friday.

The decision came down following "recent developments" in the investigation into how police officers botched the response to the May 24 Robb Elementary School massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

"The District remains committed to resolving issues with verifiable evidence. Decisions concerning the UCISD police department have been pending the results of the Texas Police Chiefs Association and JPPI investigation. Recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations," UCISD said in a statement Friday.

The district also said Lt. Miguel Hernandez and Ken Mueller, director of student services, have been placed on administrative leave.

"The District will continue to engage with the Texas Police Chiefs Association who is conducting a Management and Organizational Review. The results of this review will guide the rebuilding of the department and the hiring of a new Chief of Police. We expect to have a report later this month. Also, as previously stated, JPPI is conducting an investigation into the UCISD police officers' response to the May 24, 2022 tragedy. Results of the investigation will inform future personnel decisions," the district said.

Victims' families, who have been holding a round-the-clock vigil outside the school district headquarters, expressed gratitude for the district's announcement, ABC News reported.

Earlier this week, the school district fired a recently hired school officer, Crimson Elizondo, after a CNN report identified her as one of the first responders under investigation for her actions, or lack of action, during the shooting. The school police chief, Pete Arredondo, was fired in August, and seven Texas Department of Public Safety officers are under investigation as well, including Elizondo.

The delayed police response to the May 24 shooting has drawn widespread criticism and intense scrutiny.

A special report by the Texas legislature found that "systemic failures and egregious poor decision making" led to several children being trapped in a classroom with the shooter, dying as they awaited rescue from nearly 400 law enforcement personnel who responded.

Despite the massive law enforcement presence, the shooter was not neutralized until 77 minutes after he entered the school building.

A $27 billion class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the victims and survivors of the Uvalde school shooting to hold Texas law enforcement accountable for the tragedy. The lawsuit also targets gun manufacturer Daniel Defense and Oasis Outback, the retailer where the shooter purchased his murder weapon.

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