Uvalde School Officials to Consider Firing Police Chief Pete Arredondo at Special Meeting


DALLAS — As pressure from the community builds, Uvalde school officials have scheduled a special meeting to vote on the firing of Pete Arredondo after the district’s superintendent recommended his termination.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District’s board of trustees will meet for a hearing Saturday at 9 a.m., but Arredondo could resign as the district’s police chief before then.

Arredondo was placed on administrative leave June 22 after weeks of rising criticism surrounding the law enforcement response at Robb Elementary School on May 24, when 19 children and two teachers were killed in Texas’ deadliest school shooting.

Eighty minutes elapsed between the first call to 911 and police confronting the shooter, who fired at least 142 rounds, according to a timeline from Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw.

Arredondo said afterward he didn’t believe he was in charge of the response. Yet in the district’s written active-shooter plan, Arredondo assigned himself incident commander, according to a report examining the response released by a Texas House committee Sunday. In interviews conducted or obtained by the committee, police officers said they either assumed Arredondo was in command, or did not know who was in charge, with some describing the scene as “chaos.”

“The only thing stopping a hallway of dedicated officers from (entering rooms) 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children,” he said.

Community members demanded at a school board meeting Monday night that superintendent Hal Harrell fire Arredondo.

“If he’s not fired by noon tomorrow, then I want your resignation and every single one of you board members because y’all do not give a damn about our children or us,” said Brett Cross, the legal guardian for 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, one of the slain children.

Harrell said Monday Arredondo was a contract employee, meaning he could not be fired at will. The agenda for Saturday’s meeting includes the board discussing his potential termination with its lawyer regarding “legal and procedural issues.”

Arredondo resigned from his seat on the Uvalde City Council on July 2. He was elected to the council May 7 and was sworn into the role May 31, behind closed doors.

“After much consideration, I regret to inform those who voted for me that I have decided to step down as a member of the City Council for District 3,” Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News then. “The mayor, the city council and the city staff must continue to move forward without distractions. I feel this is the best decision for Uvalde.”

A Change.org petition calling on authorities to fire every officer who stood in the hallway May 24 has garnered more than 65,000 signatures.

“Their failure to not only stop the shooter from entering Robb Elementary School, but refusal to enter the building to engage the shooter cost the lives of 19 children and 2 adults,” the petition says. “These officers should be held accountable for their ineptitude and released from their positions, as they have no intentions on serving and protecting the children of Uvalde.”