The embattled chief of police at Uvalde schools has been fired three months after a bungled law enforcement response to the massacre there led to nationwide outrage.
Pete Arredondo was terminated by the Uvalde school board in a unanimous decision that had parents cheering, the BBC reported.
Uvalde schools police chief fired
An investigation by Texas lawmakers found broad failure by local, state, and federal police, but it also said Arredondo abdicated his job as on-site commander and wasted time looking for a key to a likely unlocked door to the classroom where the gunman was holed up with his victims.
Law enforcement waited more than an hour to confront and kill the gunman, who shot 19 children and two teachers dead. The incompetent response has led to a bitter blame game.
A lengthy, defiant statement from Arredondo’s lawyers claimed that he is the “fall guy” in an “unconstitutional public lynching,” which he likened to a game of “blame the Mexican.”
He also said that it would have been “suicide” to storm the classroom where the shooter was without the proper equipment and that he thought the shooter was alone.
“The complaint that an officer should have rushed the door, believed to be locked, to open it up without a shield capable of stopping an AR-15 bullet, without breaching tools… is tantamount to suicide,” his statement said.
Families celebrate decision
Further, Arredondo claimed that he did not believe he was in command the day of the shooting and that the local police should have been, since the gunman’s rampage began off-campus when he shot his grandmother.
Parents shouted “cowards” at the meeting, which Arredondo did not attend because of death threats.
Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steven McCraw, who initially identified Arredondo as the on-site commander, has said Arredondo “decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.” McCraw himself has been accused of a “cover-up.”
Grieving relatives of the victims are happy to see Arredondo go, but they say more heads need to roll.
Nikki Cross, whose nephew was slaughtered in the shooting, called Arredondo’s firing a “first victory,” adding, “They need to fire the rest of them next.”