Uvalde school board fires police Chief Pete Arredondo after mass shooting

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The embattled police chief of the Uvalde school district was fired on Wednesday after allegations he made several critical mistakes during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, killing 19 students and two teachers.

In a unanimous vote that came after months of angry calls for his impeachment, the board of trustees of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District fired Pete Arredondo in an auditorium of parents and survivors of the May 24 massacre. His impeachment came three months after one of the deadliest classroom shootings in US history.

Cheers from the crowd followed the mood, and some parents walked out in tears.

“Coward!” parents shouted in an auditorium of Uvalde as the meeting got underway.


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Arredondo, who? has been on leave from the neighborhood since June 22, falls under the most intense control of nearly 400 officers who rushed to school but waited more than an hour to confront the 18-year-old gunman in a fourth-grade classroom.

Most notably, Arredondo was criticized for not ordering officers to act sooner. Colonel Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said Arredondo was in charge of the law enforcement response to the attack.

Arredondo was not present with his career on the line.

Instead, minutes before the Uvalde school board meeting kicked off, Arredondo’s lawyer issued a scathing 4,500-word letter amounting to the police chief’s full defense so far of his actions. Over 17 provocative pages, Arredondo isn’t the clumsy school police chief who blamed a damning state investigation for not taking command and wasting time searching for keys to a likely unlocked door, but a brave officer whose sober decisions ruin the lives of others. saved people. students.


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It alleges that Arrendondo warned the district about various safety issues in the schools a year before the shooting, claiming that he wasn’t in charge of the scene. The letter also accused Uvalde’s school officials of endangering his safety by not allowing him to carry a weapon to the school board meeting, citing “legitimate risks of harm to the public and to Chief Arredondo.”

“Chief Arredondo is a leader and a brave officer who, along with all the other law enforcement officers who came to the scene, should be celebrated for the lives saved, rather than vilified for those who couldn’t reach them in time,” Hyde wrote. .

Uvalde school officials are under increasing pressure from the victims’ families and community members, many of whom have called for Arredondo’s termination. Chief Inspector Hal Harrell had moved for the first time in July to lay off Arredondo but postponed the decision at the request of the police chief’s lawyer.

Among those in attendance was Ruben Torres, Chloe Torres’ father, who survived the shooting in room 112 of the school. He said that as a former Marine he took an oath that he faithfully and willingly carried out, and did not understand why officers took no action when leadership failed.


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“Right now, being young, she is having a hard time coping with this horrific event,” Torres said.

Arredondo is the first officer to be discharged because of the hesitant and clumsy response from law enforcement officers to the tragedy of May 24. Only one other officer, Uvalde Police Department, Lieutenant Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s police chief on the day of the massacre, is known to have been placed on leave for their actions during the shooting.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which had more than 90 state agents on the scene, has also launched an internal investigation into the state police’s response.

Earlier this month, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the State Department of Public Safety will provide at least 30 additional law enforcement officers to Uvalde’s public school campuses. “We must ensure that students, parents and all dedicated school staff look forward to new opportunities to learn and grow,” Abbott said in a statement. “Texas will continue to work to provide all available support and resources to the Uvalde community as they continue to heal.”

School officials have said the Robb Elementary campus will no longer be used. Instead, campuses elsewhere in Uvalde will serve as temporary classrooms for primary school students, not all of whom are willing to return to school in person after the shooting.

School officials say a virtual academy will be offered for students. The district hasn’t said how many students will attend virtual attendance, but a new state law passed in Texas last year following the pandemic limits the number of eligible students who receive distance education to “10% of all students enrolled within a certain period of time.” school system”.


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Schools can request a waiver to exceed the limit, but Uvalde has not done so, according to Melissa Holmes, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

New measures to improve school safety in Uvalde include “8-foot, non-scalable fencing” on elementary, middle and high school campuses, according to the school district. Officials say they have also installed additional security cameras, improved locks, improved training for district personnel and improved communications.

However, according to the district’s own progress reports, by Tuesday no fencing had been installed on six of the eight campuses where it was planned, and only cameras had been installed in the high school. Some progress had been made on the locks on three of the eight campuses, and the improvement in communications was considered half-complete for each campus.

Uvalde CISD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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