Uvalde School Board Unanimously Votes To Fire Police Chief Pete Arredondo 3 Months After School Shooting

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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The Uvalde school board unanimously voted to fire school district police chief Pete Arredondo on Wednesday over his response to the May 24 school massacre that left 19 children dead.

The board made its decision within an hour-and-a-half of holding their closed session, CNN reported. The crowd reportedly broke out into cheers when one of the board members, Laura Perez, announced the motion to terminate his contract.

Arredondo’s attorney, George Hyde, argued in a 17-paged statement that the school district’s investigation is an “illegal and unconstitutional lynching” of his client and accused the school board of not following the proper legal procedure throughout the process. The statement also urged the Board to reinstate Arredondo to his position.

Hyde alleged that the district did not notify Arredondo for nearly a month that there was an investigation into the police response and did not contact him for a statement. He also alleged that the district did not take any initiative to ensure the police chief’s safety from death threats he had received.

“The district is intentionally imposing unlawful restrictions on the manner in which Chief Arredondo conducts his name clearing hearing, which further violates his First Amendment rights to speak out on a matter of incredible public concern,” Hyde wrote. “And, despite knowledge of legitimate risks of harm to the public and to Chief Arredondo and all others intending to be present, the district deprives the Chief of his right to lawfully carry a weapon, while at the same time, fails to disclose any alternative and reliable safety measures.”

Hyde expressed Arredondo’s “devout loyalty” to his profession and toward his fellow officers who responded to the tragic scene inside Robb Elementary School on May 24. He then argued the police chief took every step possible to capture the shooter, Salvador Ramos, and rescue the children trapped inside the classroom the gunman had barricaded. (RELATED: ‘How Do You Explain Yourself To The Parents?’: Reporter Confronts Uvalde School District Police Chief Over Law Enforcement’s Delayed Action) 

“Would the District have preferred a gunfight with officers in the hallway to break out again, and during that firefight, say 20 or 30 children across the hall are killed? And, what if some of them were killed by police officer fire? Chief Arredondo did the right thing,” Hyde argued.

Arredondo, the incident commander, received backlash after reports circulated that the police waited outside of the barricaded classroom for 75 minutes before a specialized Border Patrol Tactical Unit breached the door and fatally shot the gunman. Officers entered the building at 11:35 a.m. but did not engage with the shooter until around 12:50 p.m.

Arredondo ordered his team to wait until they received tactical gear, keys to the classroom and a sniper, the Texas Tribune reported. Police reportedly never attempted to unlock the door, likely believing the doors locked automatically. However, the door may have been open due to a malfunction.

Arredondo was placed on administrative leave in June for the remainder of the investigation.