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School Police Chief Arredondo Fired Over Handling Of Uvalde Shooting

The Uvalde, Tx., school board agreed to fire Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief who was broadly criticized for his response to the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. The vote came after he asked to be taken off of suspension and receive back pay, reports the Texas Tribune. Arredondo blamed delayed response by other law enforcement in confronting the gunman who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary. The firing occurred three months after the mass shooting in a meeting Arredondo didn't attend, citing death threats. Some 100 people, including relatives of the shooting victims, appeared and several chanted “coward” and “no justice, no peace.” The public applied intense pressure on school officials calling for the termination of Arredondo, who was one of the first officers to respond to the shooting. About 400 local, state, and federal law enforcement officers waited more than an hour to approach the 18-year-old gunman. In a Texas House committee report, officers were criticized for lacking clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to confront the gunman. Arredondo's lawyer said that his constitutional due process rights were violated by the school district by failing to provide notice of the complaints against him.

Listed in the district’s active-shooter plan as the commanding officer, Arredondo did not assume that role and no one else took over, which resulted in a chaotic law enforcement response. Thinking he was not the incident commander, Arredondo never gave orders and only called for assistance. While inside the school, Arredondo, wanting both arms free to engage the shooter, did not have his police radio. He told the House committee that he believed the shooter was a “barricaded subject” instead of an “active shooter”. Active-shooter scenarios direct law enforcement to prioritize the lives of innocent victims over those of officers. For a barricaded suspect, officers are not advised to rush in. The report criticized Arredondo for focusing on trying to find a key to open the door to the room the shooter was in, which “consumed his attention and wasted precious time, delaying the breach of the classrooms.” The report said the door didn’t lock properly and likely wasn’t locked as police waited to confront the shooter.


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