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Uvalde school board puts off meeting on fate of district police chief Pete Arredondo

Arredondo, who's been on paid leave, was singled out as the incident commander at the May 24 tragedy that left 21 dead.
Texas state troopers outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
Texas state troopers outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.Eric Thayer / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The public school board in Uvalde, Texas, on Friday put off a special meeting to discuss the fate of district police chief Pete Arredondo, blamed by some for the delayed law enforcement response to the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

The board canceled the meeting scheduled for Saturday, citing Arredondo's right to defend his actions that day, in which 19 children and two teachers were fatally shot amid a disorganized multi-agency law enforcement response.

"In conformity with due process requirements, and at the request of his attorney, the meeting to consider the termination of Chief Arredondo will be held at a later date which has yet to be determined," district spokesperson Anne Marie Espinoza said in a statement.

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District placed Arredondo on paid leave June 22 amid multiple investigations covering the delayed law enforcement response.

It took roughly 77 minutes between the arrival of the first officers and when law enforcement finally took out the shooter.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw put blame squarely on Arredondo, who he said was the incident commander. Arredondo's department has six sworn employees, but there were much larger agencies at the scene, including DPS officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents.

"There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done, with one exception, is that the incident commander inside believed he needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that time," McCraw said three days after the shooting.

Arredondo has defended himself, saying he didn't know he was supposed to be incident commander, and that he went to the classroom where shots were being fired where he thought he could be of help.

He left his radios behind, however, and stood by as a key for a classroom door was sought, which took up precious time.

Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center later noted in a report that a city police officer at the scene had the shooter in his sights but did not take the shot, possibly because a supervisor did not approve it in time.

In early July, Arredondo, acknowledging his lack of popularity in Uvalde, resigned from his elected City Council seat roughly one month after he was sworn in.