The fate of the Uvalde school district’s police chief could be decided next week now that the school board has rescheduled a meeting to consider firing Pete Arredondo for August 24, the district announced Tuesday.
Responding officers from multiple agencies did not enter the classroom to confront the shooter until more than an hour after the shooting began — a move that some law enforcement experts say could have cost lives.
Officials have said Arredondo was the on-scene commander during the shooting, but the chief has disputed this, saying he did not believe he was in charge.
The meeting comes as Uvalde residents are still seeking answers to what many have deemed a failed response to the mass shooting. More than two months later, it remains unclear to what extent any of the agencies involved are investigating individual and systemic mistakes in the response to the most deadly US campus shooting in nearly a decade.
Uvalde Superintendent Hal Harrell recommended Arredondo be fired in the wake of the tragedy and amid growing anger from residents and families who demanded his termination. However, the school board has now twice postponed Arredondo’s termination hearing because of requests from his attorney involving his right to due process.
The school board was originally scheduled to consider terminating Arredondo on July 23. Most recently, the board pushed off the meeting due to a “scheduling conflict” which prevented the hearing from being held on August 4, the district said.
In the meantime, the district has been actively searching for an interim police chief as Arredondo is on unpaid leave pending the termination hearing, Harrell said last week.
“There have been four officers who have been recommended for hire,” Harrell said in an August 8 public meeting. “They are all from out of town and they look like very promising candidates, lots of years of experience. So we will continue on that progress as well.”
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