The Uvalde school board has voted unanimously to fire school district police chief Pete Arredondo for his failed response to the May 24 school shooting that killed 19 children and two adults.
The board made its decision on Wednesday within just an hour-and-a-half of holding their closed session, according to reporting from CNN.
Following board member Laura Perez’s announcement of the motion to terminate Arredondo’s contract, the crowd reportedly broke out into cheers.
The disgraced school district police chief’s attorney, George Hyde, argued in a 17-page statement that the school district’s investigation of his client is an “illegal and unconstitutional lynching,” claiming that the board had not followed proper legal procedure throughout the process.
Hyde also urged the board to reinstate Arredondo as police chief.
He asserted that the district did not notify Arredondo for nearly a month that they were investigating the police response to the massacre and didn’t even contact him for a statement. Hyde also claimed that the school district did not make any attempts to ensure Arredondo’s safety in response to the death threats he had been receiving.
BREAKING: Uvalde school police chief Pete Arredondo has been fired, three months to the day since the Robb Elementary shooting.
This marks the first law enforcement official to face significant action for the flawed police response when 19 children and two teachers died. pic.twitter.com/K3xwvqzqfZ
— Tony Plohetski (@tplohetski) August 25, 2022
“The district is intentionally imposing unlawful restrictions on the manner in which Chief Arredondo conducts his name clearing hearing, which further violates his First Amendment rights to speak out on a matter of incredible public concern,” the lawyer wrote.
“And, despite knowledge of legitimate risks of harm to the public and to Chief Arredondo and all others intending to be present, the district deprives the Chief of his right to lawfully carry a weapon, while at the same time, fails to disclose any alternative and reliable safety measures,” Hyde added.
The lawyer went on to try to express Arredondo’s “devout loyalty” to his job as police chief and to his fellow officers who responded to the horrific and tragic scene inside Robb Elementary School as children were massacred.
While most Americans have criticized Arredondo’s response to the shooting, Hyde claimed that the police chief took every step possible to capture the gunman and rescue the students who were barricaded inside the classroom with the gunman.
“Would the District have preferred a gunfight with officers in the hallway to break out again, and during that firefight, say 20 or 30 children across the hall are killed? And, what if some of them were killed by police officer fire? Chief Arredondo did the right thing,” the lawyer argued.
Arredondo was the incident commander during the massacre, and thus was the one who received the most blame for the failures. He received significant backlash after reports revealed that the Uvalde police had waited — while kids were being slaughtered — outside of the classroom that was the site of the massacre for 75 minutes. Uvalde police officers entered the building at 11:35 a.m., but did not engage with the shooter until around 12:50 p.m.
The shooter’s rampage was finally ended thanks to a specialized Border Patrol Tactical Unit who took matters into their own hands, breaching the door and fatally shooting the gunman.
The police were ordered by Arredondo to wait until they could be given tactical gear, keys to the classroom and the assistance of a sniper, according to the Texas Tribune. Officers reportedly did not even attempt to unlock the door.
Arredondo was placed on administrative leave in June for the duration of the investigation.