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Uvalde school board fires police Chief Pete Arredondo after mass shooting that left 19 students, 2 teachers dead

UVALDE, Texas The Uvalde school district fired police chief Pete Arredondo on Wednesday under mounting pressure in the grieving Texas town to punish officers over letting a gunman at Robb Elementary School stay in a fourth-grade classroom for a lot more than an hour having an AR-15 style rifle as 19 children and two teachers were killed.

In a unanimous vote, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School Districts board of trustees fired Arredondo within an auditorium of parents and survivorsof the May 24 massacre.Arredondo, who didn’t attend the meeting, becomes the initial officer to reduce his job following among the deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. history.

His ouster came 90 days to your day following the tragedy, and significantly less than fourteen days before students go back to school in Uvalde, where some children remain too scared or scarred to return in the classroom.

Cheers from the crowd followed the vote, plus some parents walked out of an auditorium in tears. Outside, several Uvalde residents needed other officers to be held accountable.

Coward! some in the audience yelled because the meeting got underway.

Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has come beneath the most intense scrutiny of the nearly 400 officers who rushed to school but waited a lot more than 70 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman in a fourth-grade classroom.

Parents, students and families arrive for a gathering of the Board of Trustees of Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District for a termination hearing to choose the employment fate of Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (Eric Gay/AP)

Especially, Arredondo was criticized for not ordering officers to do something sooner. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said Arredondo was responsible for regulations enforcement reaction to the attack.

Minutes prior to the meeting of the Uvalde school board got underway, Arredondos attorney released a scathing 4,500-word letter that amounted to the authorities chiefs fullest defense up to now of his actions. Over 17 defiant pages, Arredondo isn’t a fumbling school police chief whoa damning state investigation blamed for not taking commandand wasted time by searching for keys to a likely unlocked door, but a brave officer whose level-headed decisions saved the lives of other students.

It alleges that Arredondo warned the district in regards to a selection of security issues in the schools per year prior to the shooting and asserted he wasnt responsible for the scene. The letter also accused Uvalde school officials of putting his safety at an increased risk by not letting him carry a weapon to the institution board meeting if he were to wait, citing legitimate risks of injury to the public also to Chief Arredondo.

Chief Arredondo is really a leader and a courageous officer who challenging other police officers who taken care of immediately the scene, ought to be celebrated for the lives saved, rather than vilified for all those they couldnt reach with time, George Hyde wrote.

Following a vote, Hydes office didn’t immediately return a obtain comment.

Uvalde school officials have already been under mounting pressure from victims families and members of the city, a lot of whom have needed Arredondos termination. Superintendent Hal Harrell had first moved to fire Arredondo in July but postponed your choice at the request of the authorities chiefs attorney.

The type of at the meeting was Ruben Torres, father of Chloe Torres, who survived the shooting in room 112 of the institution. He said that as a former Marine, he took an oath he faithfully executed willingly, and didn’t realize why officers didn’t do something when leadership failed.

At this time, being young, she actually is having trouble handling this horrific event, Torres said.

Shirley Zamora, mom of students at Robb Elementary, said accountability shouldnt end with Arredondos dismissal.

That is just likely to function as beginning. Its an extended process, she said.

Only 1 other officer Uvalde Police Department Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was simply the citys acting police chief on your day of massacre may have been positioned on leave because of their actions through the shooting.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which had a lot more than 90 state troopers at the scene,in addition has launched an interior investigationinto the response by state police. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, said McCraw, hawaii police chief, also deserves scrutiny.

You fail at something so badly that folks are receiving hurt, then certainly we need to involve some greater accountability, he said. And accountability means losing your task, so be it.

School officials have said the campus at Robb Elementary won’t be utilized when students return Sept 6. Instead, campuses elsewhere in Uvalde will serve as temporary classrooms for elementary school students, not absolutely all of whom are prepared to go back to school in-person following shooting.

School officials say a virtual academy will undoubtedly be offered for students. The district have not said just how many students will attend virtually, but a fresh state law passed this past year in Texas following a pandemic limits the amount of eligible students receiving remote instruction to 10% of most enrolled students inside a given school system.

Schools can seek a waiver to exceed the limit but Uvalde have not done so, based on the Texas Education Agency.

New measures to boost school safety in Uvalde include 8-foot, non-scalable perimeter fencing at elementary, middle and senior high school campuses, based on the school district. Officials say they will have also installed additional security camera systems, upgraded locks, enhanced training for district staff and improving communication.

Associated Press writer Paul J. Weber in Austin, Texas, contributed to the report.

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