The Uvalde, Texas, school board on Wednesday (August 24) fired the school district’s embattled police chief for his much-criticized handling of the shooting rampage that killed 19 children and two teachers in the city three months ago.
“I have messages for Pete Arredondo and all the law enforcement that were there that day: turn in your badge, and step down. You don’t deserve to wear one.” Said a classmate of the victims.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to fire Pete Arredondo. He had been on unpaid administrative leave since shortly after the May 24 shooting.
Arredondo did not attend the meeting. A written statement from his attorney, George Hyde, was emailed to board members just before the board met. It cited death threats Arredondo has received and what it said was the district’s lack of efforts to provide any protection for him.
Hyde also wrote that the district was in the wrong for dismissing Arredondo, saying it did not carry out any investigation “establishing evidence supporting a decision to terminate” him.
Arredondo has been on unpaid administrative leave since shortly after the May 24 shooting.
He has come under scathing criticism for his handling of the massacre at Robb Elementary School in the small town in Texas Hill County about 80 miles (129 km) west of San Antonio.
Parents of children slain and wounded in the deadliest U.S. school shooting in nearly a decade have demanded the school board dismiss Arredondo.
He was forced to resign his seat on the Uvalde City Council on July 2. Read full story Three weeks later, the board was scheduled to decide Arredondo’s fate as the school district police chief, but postponed the meeting due to “process requirements” at the request of his attorney.
On Wednesday, the seven-member board was slated again to go into closed session to discuss the matter with the district’s lawyer before voting in open session on whether to terminate Arredondo from his post “for good cause,” the agenda showed.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Arredondo acted as “incident commander” in charge of law enforcement’s response to the shooting.
Production: Bernat Parera