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Uvalde school superintendent recommends board fire embattled police chief

Michael Brown, an Uvalde community member who has a child that was enrolled at Robb Elementary, holds signs calling for police accountability during a hearing by a Texas House Investigative Committee
Aaron E. Martinez
USA Today Network/via Reuters
Michael Brown, who has a child who was enrolled at Robb Elementary, holds signs calling for police accountability during a hearing by a Texas House Investigative Committee in Uvalde on Sunday.

The superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District is recommending the termination of Pete Arredondo, the district’s police chief.

Families of the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting have been demanding Arredondo be fired for nearly two months.

Early on, state officials singled Arredondo out as the incident commander who decided to delay confronting the gunman for over an hour.

But a recent Texas House reportfound the law enforcement response to the shooting lacked clear leadership. There were 376 law enforcement officers on the scene, including 150 U.S. Border Patrol Agents, 91 DPS troopers, 25 Uvalde police officers, 16 sheriff’s deputies, and five Uvalde CISD officers.

According to the district’s active shooter plan, it should have been Arredondo who took charge. Arredondo has been on administrative leave since late June, and resigned from a city council seat he won prior to the shooting earlier this month.

Related: Uvalde families tell school leaders they’ve lost their trust

At a public forum on Monday, Rosa Arizmendi was one of the many people that asked school leaders why they hadn’t fired Arredondo yet. She is the great-aunt of Eliahna Garcia, one of the victims, and has kids of her own in the district.

“What is it exactly that will have to be brought up for you guys to decide that he should no longer be employed?” Arizmendi asked. “His top job description was a chief. He should have been commander. He should not have questioned or doubted that he should have been the commander because that is his job description as the chief of UCISD. So whether this investigation says well — he didn't play enough of a part to directly have caused those children's death — he did not fulfill his job description.”

Two days after families lambasted school district officials for their inaction, the Uvalde school district has scheduled a board meeting to vote on his termination.

According to the board agenda, Superintendent Hal Harrell is recommending Arredondo be fired for good cause. That vote is scheduled to take place on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Camille Phillips covers education for Texas Public Radio.
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