Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo was fired in a unanimous vote on Wednesday night.
The school board came to the choice during a closed session meeting in which 50-year-old Arredondo did not take part due to his disagreement with the decision-making and having received death threats, CNN reports. His lawyer George Hyde shared a 17-page statement beforehand, part of which reads, “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.”
Arredondo was the commander for the intensely criticized police response during the May 24 massacre that saw 19 children and two teachers fatally shot by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was killed by police only after he’d been in Robb Elementary School for over 75 minutes. The chief went on to say he “never considered himself the scene’s incident commander,” and it was revealed he didn’t have his radio on him at the time.
The New York Timesnotes the firing is “the first direct accountability over what has been widely seen as a deeply flawed police response.” The move was met with applause and cheers when the board exited its private session to address those assembled.
“As some community members exited the auditorium they chanted, ‘We’re not done,’” ABC News added.
Pete Arredondo has been on unpaid leave from his job and resigned from his position on the Uvalde City Council at the beginning of July. In a council meeting at the end of the month, it was shared that every member of the police force involved on the day will be investigated.
“This investigation is looking at every single officer and what his actions—what he did, what our policy says—and basically, we’re gonna get a report on everybody,” said councilman Ernest “Chip” King III, adding that “everybody that’s Uvalde PD” is going to be “held accountable for their actions.”