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Uvalde school board to consider firing Police Chief Pete Arredondo

UVALDE, Texas — Update 4 p.m. EDT July 22: The special meeting for Saturday has been canceled.

“In conformity with due process requirements and the request of his attorney, the meeting to consider the termination of Chief Arredondo will be held at a later date which is yet to be determined,” according to a statement from Uvalde CISD.

Arredondo remains on unpaid administrative leave.

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Original Report:

Uvalde school board announced Wednesday it will hold a special meeting on Saturday to consider firing Police Chief Pete Arredondo.

Uvalde school’s superintendent has recommended firing the school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, after the “botched law enforcement response” to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in May that left two teachers and 19 students dead, according to The Associated Press.

After facing a lot of public pressure, the school board announced Wednesday that they will consider firing Arrendondo at a special meeting on Saturday, according to the AP. State officials have accused Arredondo for making multiple critical mistakes during the shooting.

The AP said that school officials have resisted firing Arredondo, but have changed their minds after members of the public accused the school board of not “implementing basic security” at the elementary school and not for being transparent, along with failing to hold Arredondo accountable.

Superintendent Hal Harrell on Monday said that Arredondo is a contract employee who they could not fire at will.

>> Texas school shooting: Report on Uvalde shooting details ‘systemic failures

The announcement of the special meeting also comes days after a nearly 80-page report was released from the Texas House of Representatives that went into depth about the “systematic failures” that took place, with around 400 officers at the school waiting to confront the gunman. It was the first report that criticized both state and federal law enforcement in addition to the authorities in Uvalde, according to the AP.

The report stated that Arredondo didn’t consider himself to be the on-scene commander in charge and that his priority was to protect the children in other classrooms. The report said his decision was a “terrible, tragic mistake.”

“Our thought was:, ‘If he comes out, you know, you eliminate the threat,’ correct?” Arredondo told the committee, according to the report, per the AP. “And just the thought of other children being in other classrooms, my thought was, ‘We can’t let him come back out. If he comes back out, we take him out, or we eliminate the threat.’”

The report has also found that officers failed to follow their active shooter training and did not prioritize the safety of the students and teachers over their own.

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Arredondo has been on administrative leave from the school district since June 22, which was a day after Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw criticized the police response to the shooting while testifying at a Senate hearing.

Arredondo has been faced with harsh criticism following the deadly shooting for “not ordering officers to immediately breach the classroom where an 18-year-old gunman carried out the attack.” It took over an hour for officers to confront and kill the shooter.

According to the AP, if Arredondo is fired, he would become the first officer to be fired from a job following the “deadliest Texas school shooting in history.”

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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