Uvalde, TX Suspends Police Force & School Superintendent Resigns over Shooting Fallout


Patrick Sweeney, Editor-in-Chief

Last week, the city of Uvalde, TX suspended its police department due to major failures during the Robb Elementary School shooting in May. The move follows a months-long investigation into police officer response, with many citing “systemic failures” that put students and staff in jeopardy. Body cam video released in July showed officers being very tentative in their actions, reportedly trying to compromise with the shooter instead of moving in to disarm him.

On October 7th, the Uvalde School District released a statement regarding the decision, saying that they “remain committed to resolving issues with verifiable evidence.” The District also added that the department was suspended due to the fact that “recent developments have uncovered additional concerns with department operations.” The officers placed on suspension will now have the opportunity to fill other roles in the district. Additionally, Uvalde has requested “additional troops” to cover the vacant positions. 

The move by the district is a large development in the May shooting investigation. It comes just months after the public was horrified by the actions of police officers regarding the response to the active shooter inside Robb Elementary. NBC News has recently reported that about 400 police officers were called to the scene. However, “1 hour, 14 minutes and 8 seconds” passed until the suspect was killed. 

Yet another twist in the investigation made headlines on October 11th, when the current Uvalde school superintendent announced his retirement. Hal Harrell sympathized with the community, saying that his “heart was broken on May 24th” and adding that the decision was “completely [his] choice.” Harrell’s resignation just adds to the list of issues that the district is now facing, already having to contend with a lack of police officers. 

The Uvalde school district held a school board meeting on October 11th, with the organization eventually confirming Harrell’s retirement. According to ABC News, supporters of Harrell “gathered outside” the building, many of which held “homemade signs” and “hugged him and cheered him on.”  

There were mixed reactions to the retirement of the superintendent. Many Uvalde parents voiced their concerns about the shooting as well as district response at the school board meeting. Kimberly Rubio, mother of “10-year-old” shooting victim Lexi Rubio, said at the meeting that she is “disgusted with the community.” The innocent life of her child was taken due to gun violence that has become all too common in the United States. 

The situation in Uvalde comes as closing arguments wrap up in the death penalty trial of the suspect in the Parkland school shooting. On October 11th, NBC News reported “the lead Florida prosecutor” made their case that Nickolas Cruz’s actions were “cold, calculated and meticulously planned.” The verdict will be handed down to Cruz in the coming days, who is pled guilty “to murdering 14 students and three staff members and wounding seventeen other people” in the 2018 shooting. 

The current situations in both Uvalde and Fort Lauderdale highlight a growing gun violence epidemic in the United States. A report released six days ago by US News shows that “murders…involving guns have reached an all-time high.” The organization noted that “firearms were used in…81% of homicides in 2021.”