20 July 2022

Uvalde schools looking to fire police chief after shooting

20 July 2022

Uvalde’s top school official has recommended the firing of the school district police chief central to the botched response to the shooting at a primary school that killed 19 pupils and two teachers.

In the face of massive public pressure, the city’s school board will consider firing Pete Arredondo at a special meeting on Saturday to consider the superintendent’s recommendation.

Mr Arredondo has been accused by state officials of making several critical mistakes during the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Texas on May 24.

School officials have previously resisted calls to fire him.

Parents and family of students hold protest signs during a special meeting of the board of trustees of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (Eric Gay/AP) (AP)

The announcement comes two days after a meeting which saw school board members lambasted for more than three hours by members of the public, who accused them of not implementing basic security at Robb, of not being transparent about what happened, and of failing to hold Mr Arredondo to account.

Confronted with parents’ vociferous demands to fire Mr Arredondo and warnings his job could be next, Superintendent Hal Harrell said on Monday the police chief was a contract employee who could not be fired at will.

The agenda for Saturday’s meeting includes the board discussing the potential firing with its lawyer.

Mr Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has faced blistering criticism since the mass shooting, most notably for not ordering officers to immediately breach the classroom where an 18-year-old gunman carried out the attack.

Although nearly 400 officers from various agencies were involved in the police response that took more than an hour to confront and kill the gunman, Mr Arredondo is one of only two known to have faced discipline.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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