Pete Arredondo, who bore a large portion of the blame for the failure to stop the shooter who killed 21 people-19 pupils and two instructors during the Robb Elementary massacre on May 24, has come under increasing pressure from Uvalde school officials to resign.
Now on Wednesday, the school district police chief who has drawn widespread criticism for his handling of the bloodiest school massacre in Texas history was fired by the Uvalde school board in a vote that came shortly after he asked to be taken off of suspension and receives back pay.
The board of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District unanimously decided to end Arredondo’s employment with immediate effect. Additionally, they determined that there was a substantial reason for him to remain underpaid for the time he was on unpaid administrative leave starting on July 19.
Arredondo’s termination hearing was originally scheduled to take place a month ago, but that hearing was canceled at the request of Arredondo’s attorney, who told the district the police chief was entitled to due process.
Citing death threats made against him, Arredondo didn’t attend the meeting, but his attorney released a 17-page statement in response to the termination hearing.
“Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” the statement read.
Since learning that Arredondo was in command of the law enforcement reaction during the massacre in late May, the families of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary school shooting have demanded that he be dismissed.
Children in the 4th-grade classroom where the shooter was holed up called 911 while hundreds of officers waited more than an hour to approach him.
150 U.S. law enforcement personnel were among the 376 officers on the scene, according to a Texas House report. 25 Uvalde police officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies, 91 Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, and 5 Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officers were there.
Investigation into the shooting by state lawmakers revealed widespread shortcomings in law enforcement. However, the active shooter plan for the school district, which Arredondo co-wrote, called for Arredondo to assume leadership of all the cops who responded that day. Arredondo, though, insists that he was unaware that he was the incident commander.
The Uvalde school board president, Luis Fernandez, stated in a statement the day following the meeting that Arredondo’s dismissal was “a significant step in accountability and regaining our community’s trust in the district.”
“To our Uvalde community — we hear you, and we are committed to doing what needs to be done to maintain a learning environment that is safe, secure, and nurturing for all students,” Fernandez said.