Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo Fired by School Board Three Months After Robb Elementary Shooting

Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo was terminated by the district’s board on Wednesday, exactly three months after a shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Arredondo, who has been harshly criticized for his response to the shooting, did not attend Wednesday’s meeting, his attorney said.

“Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” Arredondo’s attorney, George Hyde, wrote in a 17-page letter that was sent out less than an hour before the meeting.

Angry parents and family members of the 21 victims voiced their anger at the beginning of the meeting. After Uvalde resident Brett Cross criticized Arredondo for not appearing at his own termination hearing, the crowd yelled, “Coward!”

“Our babies are dead. Our teachers are dead. Our parents are dead. The least y’all can do is show us the respect to do this in the public,” Cross said, pushing the board to hold the termination vote in an open session.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw identified Arredondo as the incident commander and blamed him for the more than 70-minute delay in confronting the gunman.

Hyde argued in Wednesday’s letter that Arredondo did not consider himself to be the incident commander and wasn’t aware that children were wounded in the classroom.

“It is important to note that Chief Arredondo, along with several other officers in the hallway, were completely unaware of any occupants in the room with the shooter until entry was made, the shooter was engaged, and the officers stopped him,” Hyde wrote.

Arredondo was originally suspended in June and his termination hearing had been delayed twice.

He told a Texas House committee investigating the shooting that he thought the suspect was contained in the classroom.

“Although the encounter had begun as an ‘active shooter’ scenario, Chief Arredondo testified that he immediately began to think of the attacker as being ‘cornered’ and the situation as being one of a ‘barricaded subject,'” House lawmakers wrote in the report.

“With the benefit of hindsight, we now know this was a terrible, tragic mistake.”