AUSTIN, Texas — The Uvalde school board has called a special meeting for Wednesday to consider firing school district Police Chief Pete Arredondo for his role in the flawed response to the shooting massacre that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in May.
A special Texas House committee tasked with investigating the shooting determined that the embattled school district police chief failed to act quickly enough to shoot and kill the gunman. The report, released in July, also determined that Arredondo held the role of incident commander at the scene and was responsible for directing law enforcement officers. He reportedly has said he did not believe he was in charge.
Officers stormed classrooms 111 and 112 more than an hour after police first arrived on the scene, waiting even as children inside the classrooms called 911 for help multiple times.
Arredondo was placed on paid administrative leave in June. In July, when the board was last expected to fire Arredondo but postponed the decision to allow due process, he was put on unpaid administrative leave.
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Parents and community members have been calling for Arredondo to be fired along with the other five district officers who responded to the shooting, as well as other district leaders including Robb Elementary Principal Mandy Gutierrez and district Superintendent Hal Harrell.
During public comments over the last few months, parents, community members, and students have expressed concern and frustration with the district’s lack of response, calling on district leaders to “clean house.”
“Why do you continue to employ these officers?” Rachel Martinez, a mother of four Uvalde students, said in a July meeting. "And then we will have to return our children to you for eight hours a day, five days a week. … You need to clean house and start from zero. This failure falls on all of you.”
Gutierrez was briefly placed on administrative leave in July, but she returned to work and was promoted to assistant director of special education for the district.
Other law enforcement agencies, including the Uvalde Police Department, have said they are internally reviewing their response to the Uvalde school shooting and will act according to their findings. Acting Uvalde Police Chief Lt. Mariano Pargas was put on administrative leave in July.
In all, 376 law enforcement officers responded to the school shooting that day, including 91 members of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Arredondo has not made many public comments since the shooting. He resigned his newly won position as a city council member in July.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Pete Arredondo firing hearing scheduled Aug. 24 by Uvalde school board
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