Uvalde’s district police chief Pete Arredondo sacked over hesitant response to school massacre | US News

The Uvalde County Sheriff was fired for the hesitant response of hundreds of armed law enforcement officers to the May massacre at Robb Elementary School.

In a unanimous vote, the board of trustees for the Uvalde Unified Independent School District (UCISD) sacked police chief Pete Arredondo, three months from a day after one of the deadly classroom shootings. most in US history.

He has been on administrative leave without pay since a short time after May 24 taken.

Parents shouted “cowards” in the meeting room.

Mr. Arredondo did not attend, but soon after, his attorney issued a harsh 4,500-word letter, enough for the sheriff to fully defend his actions to date.

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More than 17 pages of defiance, it asserts Mr. Arredondo is not a fumbling police chief who was accused by a state investigation of failing to order and wasting time finding the key to a potential door. not locked skills, but a brave officer whose high-level decision saved the lives of other students.

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The letter also accused Uvalde school officials of putting his life in danger by not allowing him to bring a weapon to a school board meeting.

“Sheriff Arredondo is a leader and courageous officer who, along with all other law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, should be celebrated for those who were saved, rather than for those who were saved. criticized for people they could not reach in a timely manner,” the letter read.

It also said that the district was wrong to fire him, saying it did not conduct any investigations that “established evidence in support of his decision to terminate employment”.

Parents and family members holding placards at the Uvalde Unified Independent School District Board meeting
Parents and family members holding placards at the Uvalde Unified Independent School District Board meeting

Because Mr. Arredondo is UCISD chief of police, the school board has the power to fire him.

State police and a damning investigative report in July criticized the former sheriff of a school district of about 4,000 students for failing to take charge of the scene, not breaking into classrooms earlier, and wasting money. time by finding the key to a potentially unlocked door.

Investigations and body camera footage showed how police rushed to the scene with bulletproof shields and high-powered rifles within minutes – but had to wait more than an hour before finally confronting them. gunman in a fourth grader’s classroom.

Director Hal Harrell first decided to fire Mr Arredondo in July but postponed the decision at the request of the sheriff’s attorney.

Only one other police official at the scene, police lieutenant Uvalde Mariano Pargas, is said to have been placed on leave since the shooting.

Mr. Pargas was the city’s acting police chief during the massacre.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, with more than 90 state troops on the scene, also opened an internal investigation into the state police response.

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