UVALDE, Texas — The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District is recommending firing police chief Pete Arredondo, according to the Associated Press.
The Uvalde school board is set to hold a special meeting Saturday to consider the superintendent’s recommendation to fire police Chief Pete Arredondo. The announcement comes amid massive public pressure. Arredondo has been accused by state officials of making several critical mistakes during the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety identified Arredondo as the on-scene incident commander, and the main reason why officers waited in the hallway for over an hour when 19 students and two teachers were killed.
Arredondo has said that he did not consider himself the on-scene incident commander, but the Texas House committee investigating the shooting and police response did not find that claim to be credible.
“The Uvalde CISD's written active shooter plan directed its police chief to assume command and control of the response to an active shooter," page seven of the report states.
He testified that he found an empty classroom across from the room that the shooter was inside, and thought that the room that he was in was also empty.
"There are no babies in there, it's awards day," he told the committee of his thought process.
At that point, he treated the situation as a barricaded suspect, not an active shooter. Students and a teacher were calling 911 to say that they were in the room with the shooter as nearly 400 law enforcement officers on the scene waited to engage. Arredondo did not have his radio at the scene.
The committee said that they now know that this was a terrible and tragic mistake. They also said that the lack of clear command caused a chaotic response. Bodycam video has shed new light on that response, and shows Arredondo in the hallway.
Arredondo had been elected to Uvalde City Council shortly before the attack, and was sworn in privately in a move that angered many. He did not attend a meeting, and later resigned amid outcry from victims' families and other members of the community.
KENS 5 has reached out to Arredondo’s attorney for a statement about the upcoming meeting, set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, but we have not yet heard back.
Family of the Robb Elementary victims, including Robert Cross, asked the school board on Monday to fire Arredondo by noon on Tuesday. Cross told KENS 5 over the phone he is still demanding that those district overseers resign their position after not meeting his request.