(The Hill) — The mayor of Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman shot and killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school last month, said he believes the site of the shooting will be demolished. Mayor Don McLaughlin said at a city council meeting on Tuesday that he had a discussion with the superintendent of Robb Elementary School about the school’s demolition.
“You can never ask a child to go back or a teacher to go back in that school, ever,” McLaughlin said. He did not provide a timeline for when the school would be torn down.
McLaughlin’s announcement comes as the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Steve McCraw, lambasted the police response to the shooting. McCraw said at a state Senate hearing on Wednesday that the response was an “abject failure,” and enough officers were present with enough firepower to have stopped the shooter three minutes after he entered the school.
The law enforcement response during the shooting fell under intense scrutiny after it was revealed that officers were stationed in a hallway outside the classroom where the shooter was for more than an hour before attempting to breach the door to the room. Law enforcement’s explanation of the details of the incident changed multiple times in the days following the attack, and Texas state officials and the Justice Department are each conducting investigations into what happened.
McLaughlin said at the conference that he is “very frustrated” with how Texas DPS is handling the investigation because local officials are not receiving any information on what state officials are learning about the events.
Pete Arredondo—the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief who has received criticism for reportedly making the decision to not send officers into the classroom immediately—was sworn in as a member of the city council shortly after the shooting. He had requested a leave of absence amid the shooting’s aftermath, but the council rejected his request at its meeting.
McLaughlin said in his eight years serving as mayor no one has been granted a leave of absence. Arredondo has not appeared at either of the two council meetings that have occurred since he was sworn in, and his seat could be declared vacant if he misses three consecutive meetings, San Antonio ABC affiliate KENS5 reported.