UVALDE, Texas — The Uvalde City Council met Tuesday for a special session, two weeks after the deadly school shooting on May 24.
In the meeting, the council voted to extend the disaster declaration that was proclaimed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on May 27 after the tragic mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 people dead.
The declaration makes it possible to get resources more quickly because some regulations aren't enforced.
This was the first meeting since Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde CISD police chief, was sworn in as a member of city council. Arredondo was not in attendance at the meeting.
Arredondo, who has been under scrutiny in the aftermath of the attack, was sworn into office as a council member last week, and was expected to participate in his first council meeting as an elected official.
During the meeting, Mayor Don McLaughlin said, “Pete Arredondo was elected by the people of his district, so it's up to his district, and his people, and its up to Mr. Arredondo to what he wants to do.”
Arredondo has faced questions about his management of the response to the shooter, including why he waited to send officers into the classroom.
The father of one of the students who died in the mass shooting was at the meeting.
Alfred Garza III lost his 10-year-old daughter, Amerie Jo Garza.
Garza said he doesn't hold any ill-will towards Arredondo, but does believe he needs to answer questions. If there was one question Garza could ask him, he said it would be, “Why did he wait so long to go in?”
While Garza said he does not carry the burden of holding a grudge against Arredondo, he believes the city should have waited a little longer to swear him in.
“My main priority is to honor my daughter’s name and to be an advocate for change,” he said.
Garza said he is advocating for some sort of gun reform, among other things, noting that he believes there is more than one problem to solve to prevent future mass shootings.
“My daughter’s already gone; nothings gonna bring her back. But, there’s things that we can do, and there’s changes that we can make from this happening again,” Garza said.