UVALDE, Texas (AP) – Facing massive public pressure, Uvalde’s top school official has recommended the firing of the school district police chief who was central to the botched law enforcement response to the shooting at an elementary school that killed two teachers and 19 students.
The city’s school board will consider firing schools police Chief Pete Arrendondo at a special meeting Saturday to consider the superintendent’s recommendation. Arrendondo has been accused by state officials of making several critical mistakes during the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
School officials have previously resisted calls to fire Arrendondo. The announcement comes two days after a meeting the school board members were lambasted for more than three hours by members of the public, who accused them of not implementing basic security at Robb, of not being transparent about what happened and of failing to hold Arrendondo to account for his actions.
Confronted with parents’ vociferous demands to fire Arrendondo and warnings that his job would be next, Superintendent Hal Harrell said Monday that the police chief was a contract employee who could not be fired at will. The agenda for Saturday’s meeting includes the board discussing the potential firing with its lawyer.
Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has faced blistering criticism since the massacre, most notably for not ordering officers to immediately breach the classroom where an 18-year-old gunman carried out the attack.
Although nearly 400 officers from various agencies were involved in the police response that took more than an hour to confront and kill the shooter, Arredondo is one of only two known to have faced discipline. His attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.