Uvalde police chief fired for fumbled response to worst college capturing in US historical past

Uvalde police chief fired for fumbled response to worst college capturing in US historical past

The Uvalde college district’s embattled police chief was fired Wednesday following allegations that he made a number of crucial errors in the course of the mass capturing at Robb elementary college that left 19 college students and two academics lifeless.

The Uvalde Consolidated Unbiased Faculty District’s board of trustees mentioned it voted unanimously to dismiss police chief Pete Arredondo.

Arredondo is the primary officer dismissed over the hesitant and fumbling legislation enforcement response to one of many worst college shootings in UShistory. Just one different officer, Uvalde police division’s Lt Mariano Pargas, who was town’s performing police chief on the day of bloodbath is thought to have been positioned on go away for his or her actions in the course of the capturing.

Arredondo was not in attendance however by means of his legal professional launched a blistering and defiant 17-page letter that lashed out at state officers, defended the police response to the 24 Might bloodbath and accused the varsity board of placing his security in danger by not permitting him to hold a weapon to the assembly.

Because the board convened right into a closed session, some within the auditorium yelled “Coward!” and “What about our youngsters?”

Arredondo, who has been on administrative go away since June, has come beneath probably the most scrutiny for his actions in the course of the 24 Might tragedy. State police and a damning investigative report in July have criticized the police chief of the roughly 4,000-student college district for failing to take cost of the scene, not breaching the classroom sooner and losing time by searching for a key to a possible unlocked door.

However a letter launched by his legal professional, George Hyde, accused the varsity district of not being ready for an attacker and described the actions taken by Arrendondo and tons of of different officers on the scene as “cheap”.

Closely armed legislation enforcement personnel arrived on the college inside minutes of the assault, however police didn’t breach the classroom and confront the gunman for greater than an hour.

“Chief Arredondo is a frontrunner and a brave officer who with the entire different legislation enforcement officers who responded to the scene, must be celebrated for the lives saved, as an alternative of vilified for these they couldn’t attain in time,” Hyde wrote.

Uvalde college officers have been beneath mounting stress from victims’ households and members of the neighborhood, a lot of whom have known as for Arredondo’s termination. Superintendent Hal Harrell had first moved to fireplace Arredondo in July however postponed the choice on the request of the police chief’s legal professional.

Just one different police official on the scene, Uvalde police Lt Mariano Pargas, is thought to have been positioned on go away because the capturing. Pargas was town’s performing police chief in the course of the bloodbath.

The Texas division of public security, which had greater than 90 state troopers on the scene, has additionally launched an inside investigation into the response by state police. Faculty officers have mentioned the campus on Outdated Carrizo Highway will not be used.

As a substitute, campuses elsewhere in Uvalde will function short-term school rooms for elementary college college students, not all of whom are prepared to return to high school in-person after the capturing.

Faculty officers say a digital academy can be supplied for college kids. The district has not mentioned what number of college students will attend just about, however a brand new state legislation handed final yr in Texas after the pandemic limits the variety of eligible college students receiving distant instruction to “10% of all enrolled college students inside a given college system”.

Faculties can search a waiver to exceed the restrict however Robb has not executed so, based on Melissa Holmes, a spokeswoman for the Texas Schooling Company.

New measures to enhance college security in Uvalde embrace “8-foot, non-scalable perimeter fencing” at elementary, center and highschool campuses, based on the varsity district. Officers say they’ve additionally put in further safety cameras, upgraded locks, enhanced coaching for district workers and are bettering communication.

Nevertheless, based on the district’s personal progress reviews, as of Tuesday no fencing had been erected at six of the eight campuses the place it was deliberate, and cameras had solely been put in at the highschool. Some progress had been made on locks at three of eight campuses, and communication enchancment was marked as half full for every campus.

Uvalde CISD didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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