The Uvalde school board voted unanimously on Wednesday night to fire police chief Pete Arredondo immediately following the disastrous response to the Robb Elementary shooting earlier this year, which resulted in the deaths of 19 children.
Because he was concerned about his safety, the disgraced police chief refused to attend the meeting.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had already recommended that Arredondo be fired.
“Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” Arredondo’s attorney George Hyde, said in a statement.
Before making its decision, the board deliberated for over an hour on Wednesday evening. When the board announced its decision to fire Arredondo, the community reportedly applauded.
Citizens in Uvalde have been waiting for weeks for a decision after the first meeting to discuss Arredondo’s firing was canceled last month, just two days after the recommendation to fire the police chief was placed on the agenda.
Arredondo was placed on leave last month after more information about the police response to the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers became public. Despite the fact that nearly 400 law enforcement officers responded to the shooting, the shooter remained in the classroom for 77 minutes before officers breached the door and killed him.
Recently released footage from the school’s hallway showed officers standing outside the classroom for over an hour while the shooter remained inside with the victims, some of whom were still alive and calling 911 for assistance.
Body cam footage obtained by CNN also showed Arredondo attempting to negotiate with the shooter from down the hall, The Daily Wire previously reported.
“Let me know if there’s any kids there or anything!” Arredondo said on the tape. “This can be peaceful!”
In early June, Arredondo spoke with the Texas Tribune, addressing some of the criticisms of his response and claiming officers acted appropriately.
“Not a single responding officer ever hesitated, even for a moment, to put themselves at risk to save the children,” Arredondo said. “We responded to the information that we had and had to adjust to whatever we faced. Our objective was to save as many lives as we could, and the extraction of the students from the classrooms by all that were involved saved over 500 of our Uvalde students and teachers before we gained access to the shooter and eliminated the threat.”
The UCISD police chief also told the Tribune that even though his department was the first to arrive, he did not consider himself the commanding officer. Arredondo also claimed that no one informed him that students in the classroom were dialing 911 while the shooter continued to kill.