- The Uvalde school district's police chief, Pete Arredondo, was one of the first responders to the school shooting on May 24.
- Many including the Uvalde school district's superintendent had called for Arredondo's firing.
- Arredondo's attorney called the entire ordeal "illegal" and a "public lynching."
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Board moved to fire the district's police chief, Pete Arredondo, on Wednesday over his handling of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in which 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24.
The decision follows months of calls for Arredondo's termination after multiple reports, including one from the Texas House investigative committee, accused the police chief of taking several missteps before law enforcement entered the classroom and killed the gunman.
The board discussed a motion to terminate Arredondo behind closed session and voted unanimously.
In a 17-page statement to the media, Arredondo's attorney George Hyde said that his client would not attend the public meeting and claimed that Arredondo's "discharge" violated the 14th amendment, alleging the school district did not follow due process.
"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," Hyde wrote.
Arredondo has been placed at the center of criticism for the law enforcement's response to the shooting.
A report from the state investigative committee alleged that the school district police chief was "one of the first
responders on the scene."
"But as events unfolded, he failed to perform or to transfer to another person the role of incident commander," the report stated. "This was an essential duty he had assigned to himself in the (district's active shooter) plan ... yet it was not effectively performed by anyone."
The report also alleged that Arredondo left his radios behind after "fumbling with them" because "they bothered him," even though the radios could have helped maintain communications between him, the campus, and the police.
"He dropped them by the school fence knowing that Sgt. (Daniel) Coronado, the sergeant on patrol, was there and 'fully uniformed' with his radio," the report said.
Arredondo's attorney claims that the police chief acted appropriately and "with only the information known to him at the time, and the equipment he had available to him, and he did so to the best of his capabilities and consistent with his training."
During the months after the incident, state, city, and school officials have tried to hold those whose decisions may have resulted in the fatal outcomes of the shooting accountable.
Uvalde's acting police chief, Lt. Mariano Pargas, was placed on administrative leave following the state's report, which alleged how 376 officers responded to the scene and "failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety."
In addition, Robb Elementary School principal Mandy Gutierrez was suspended with pay in July after the state investigative committee said that the school administration failed to replace a broken lock in the classroom where the 19 students and two teachers were located.
The committee reported that the broken lock "likely" allowed the gunman to enter the classroom.
Arredondo was placed on administrative leave in June after being denied a leave of absence. A month later, district superintendent Hal Harrell recommended Arredondo be fired for "good cause."
The police chief is the first law enforcement official to be fired in the aftermath of the shooting.
The Uvalde CISD School Board unanimously voted to appoint Arredondo as the school district's police chief back in February 2020, according to Uvalde Leader-News.
He joined the district with 27 years in law enforcement, during which he worked for the Uvalde Police Department, Webb County Sheriff's Office, and the Laredo United Independent School District, the local news outlet reported.