UVALDE, Texas — Embattled school police chief and newly sworn-in City Councilman Pete Arredondo on Tuesday missed what would have been his first meeting as a town lawmaker.
Arredondo has kept an incredibly low profile since Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, broke into Robb Elementary School on May 24 and killed 19 children and two teachers. The gunman was brought down almost an hour later by a Border Patrol tactical unit.
Arredondo, believed to be the incident commander, has come under intense criticism for allegedly treating the slaughter as a barricade situation and telling officers under his control to not force a confrontation with the killer.
The school police chief won election to the council on May 7. He was sworn into office during a private ceremony on May 31, a week after the shooting. There was supposed to be a council meeting that day, but it was canceled in light of the tragedy.
And when the council convened on Tuesday at City Hall, Arredondo, who represents District 3, was a no-show.
Mayor Don McLaughlin said he couldn't explain Arredondo's absence and didn't question the newly elected member's legitimacy on the council.
"Peter Arredondo was elected by the people in his district. So it’s up to his district and his people and it’s up to Mr. Arredondo to do what he wants to do," McLaughlin said. "I can’t speak for him. And I’m not going to try to."
When pressed one more time to explain Arredondo's absence, McLaughlin said: "Again, again, I can't answer that."
Arredondo could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.
Calls to several Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officials, including the system's superintendent and board president, did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on Arredondo's status.
Morgan Chesky reported from Uvalde, Texas, and David K. Li from New York City.