On Thursday evening, the Uvalde Chief of Police, Lieutenant Mariano Pargas, resigned from the department following months of criticism surrounding his handling—or, mishandling—of the Robb Elementary school shooting. The decision, according to Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, wasn’t unexpected given Pargas had already been suspended pending an investigation into his response to the massacre.
Several Uvalde residents have been urging Pargas to resign, most recently during this week’s county commissioners meeting: “You’ve brought shame to the community,” said an uncle of Jackie Cazares, one of the children killed in the shooting. Pargas, who is also a commissioner, was not present at the meeting.
Pargas has been suspended since May 24 but was offered a retirement package last week, according to ABC News. However, in light of negative media coverage, the Uvalde City Council called a special meeting to discuss his employment status on Saturday, decided to rescind his package, and planned to fire him.
Earlier this week, audio obtained by CNN confirmed that Pargas had been informed of 911 calls from students trapped inside the classrooms with the 18-year-old shooter, Salvador Ramos. Despite having knowledge that students were still alive inside the building, Pargas didn’t enter or lead officers into the classrooms.
The confirmation likely comes as cold comfort to victims’ loved ones and the community at large, who’ve speculated since the immediate aftermath of the May 24 mass shooting that law enforcement could’ve done more. Multiple videos and eye-witness accounts from the scene of the tragedy confirmed that close to 400 officers were on site and either hesitated or did virtually nothing to impede Ramos. A 77-page report conducted by a special Texas House committee—the first comprehensive assessment of law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting—found “multiple systemic failures” and presented a reality that starkly contradicted the narrative Uvalde officials put forth to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) just days after the shooting.
Pargas is just the latest in Uvalde officers who’ve left the force. The school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, who called the public’s backlash to the shooting and subsequent firing, a “public lynching” was terminated in August.