Uvalde police chief announces resignation, doesn’t appear at City Council meeting hours later

Daniel Rodriguez wasn’t in Uvalde during the Robb Elementary Shooting on May 24, 2022, and was exonerated in a recent internal report.

UVALDE, Texas — Less than a week after a report on Uvalde personnel’s response to the Robb Elementary shooting found they had been poorly trained and equipped, the city’s police chief submitted a letter of resignation to leaders. 

“I want to express my deepest appreciation to all of my colleagues and team members for their unwavering support, professionalism and dedication to our shared mission of serving and protecting the community,” wrote Daniel Rodriguez, who has led Uvalde police since 2018, a statement. “It has been a privilege to work alongside such talented and committed individuals, and I will genuinely miss our collaborations and camaraderie.” 

Rodriguez’s resignation is effective April 6. 

He wasn’t in Uvalde on May 24, 2022, when a teenage gunman killed 19 students and two teachers over the course of 77 minutes at Robb Elementary School. Instead, he had assigned then-Uvalde Police Department Lt. Mariano Pargas to be acting chief. 

The internal report presented to Uvalde City Council last week exonerated Rodriguez, Pargas and 26 other city employees – including police – even as it found responders hadn’t established clear communication and weren’t trained on breaching techniques. Relatives of Robb victims responded with outcry, one City Council member criticized the way the report was presented and on Monday former Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin himself rejected the report’s findings, saying the examination didn’t answer the community’s questions. 

“I don’t think the word exonerate should have been used at all in this report,” said McLaughlin.

RELATED: Uvalde parents angered by new report that clears city police of missteps during Texas school attack

The findings of the internal report, led by Austin-based detective Jesse Prado, contradicts investigations by the Department of Justice and Texas House of Representatives which found multiple police failures left the gunman unchallenged in the school for 77 minutes.

“It ripped the wound wide open again… it’s torn, it’s gushed wide open now,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve got to re-establish trust again. This investigation was supposed to be on what our policy was and if they violated policy and what their actions were that day. What we saw… didn’t really clear that up.”

Uvalde Mayor Cody Smith in a statemen to KENS 5 thanked Rodriguez for his service and announced that Assistant Police Chief Homer Delgado would lead the department in the interim. A search for the next full-time chief is expected to start sometime soon. 

More frustration for families

Meanwhile, victims’ loved ones who hoped that City Council would discuss Prado’s report at their latest meeting expressed more frustration with leaders who said no tangible action would be immediately taken. 

After meeting behind closed-doors executive session for an hour Tuesday, Mayor Cody Smith – who was elected in the fall – said “more time” was needed to determine “what, if any, action we can take.” 

“I’m kinda disappointed there was no action,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, mother of Robb victim Tess Mata, in the public comments portion of the meeting. “As far as the chief’s resignation, that doesn’t absolve y’all of y’alls responsibility.”

Brett Cross, whose son Uziyah Garcia was killed at Robb, also responded with disappointment, saying he was expecting further public discussion by City Council regarding the report. 

“Y’all told us last week that y’all were going to give us some damn answers and you’re still not giving us answers. Do y’all accept it or not?” Cross said. “Danny told us the same thing—that he would read the report and he would report back to us on Tuesday. Well Tuesday is here, and nothing. Nothing.”

Smith, in a breach of council rules, responded to Cross directly, saying, “I understand completely, Brett, how you feel. But I’ve gotta have more time, man… I told y’all how much I care. That’s all I can do is tell you how much I care.”

Cross responded by asking Smith what he would do “if the tables are flipped,” and referred to Rodriguez’s resignation hours earlier as “the coward’s way out.”

“I am done asking, I am done begging, I am done pleading. I’m about to start taking actions into my own damn hands. Enough is enough. Y’all can expect to see me every day from the police station, from sun up to sun down.”

>Read the Uvalde Police Department’s full release below:

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