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The Uvalde School Board on Wednesday voted unanimously and immediately to fire the school district’s police chief, Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, under whose supervision a deadly shooting killed 19 children and two teachers.
In a one-and-a-half-hour meeting, board members decided to dispense with the services of Arredondo, who has received numerous criticisms from parents and community members for being slow to respond to the shooting at a local school last May.
Arredondo was removed from his position as chief of police for the Uvalde school district on June 22, although he had not resigned from that position and still held the title until now.
Arredondo’s suspension came just one day after Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw testified in front of a Texas Senate committee and said Arredondo made “terrible decisions” while the massacre was taking place.
According to McCraw, there were enough police officers to respond to the shooting just three minutes after the perpetrator, Salvador Ramos, entered the school through a door.
However, armed police officers waited in the hallway for 77 minutes while the assailant perpetrated the massacre in two of the classrooms.
The Federal Government is investigating the police response, and it is not yet known why the officers took so long to confront the attacker.
The investigation is expected to provide more details about the communication between the different police forces.
Arredondo, who was the chief of the police force in charge of schools in Uvalde, attempted to defend himself in an interview with the Texas Tribune newspaper, in which he claimed he did not know he was in charge of the response to the shooting and had assumed another police force had taken over.
The Uvalde shooting is the second-deadliest school shooting in the last decade, after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton, Connecticut, where 26 people lost their lives.