A special school board meeting scheduled for Saturday morning in Uvalde, Texas, to consider whether to terminate the employment of the district’s police chief is canceled, the district announced Friday.
“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,” said the written statement from the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
In the meantime, Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo will be on unpaid administrative leave, according to the district.
The Uvalde, Texas, schools superintendent has recommended Arredondo’s firing.
Arredondo has come under withering criticism from both state officials and the public over his conduct during the Robb Elementary school massacre, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Responding authorities who arrived at the school waited more than an hour at the school before confronting and killing the gunman – a move that some law enforcement experts say could have cost lives.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steven McCraw has called the law enforcement response to the attack an “abject failure,” adding the only thing stopping officers from entering the rooms where the gunman was in “was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
State authorities have identified Arredondo as that commander, but he has said that did not consider himself the incident commander.
And a preliminary report released Sunday by a Texas House investigative committee outlined a series of failures by multiple law enforcement agencies and placed the blame more broadly.
The 77-page report described a “lackadaisical approach” by the nearly 400 officers who responded to the scene, saying, “The entirety of law enforcement and its training, preparation, and response shares systemic responsibility for many missed opportunities.”
In that report, Arredondo said that his approach was “responding as a police officer.”
“I didn’t title myself. But once I got in there and we took that fire, back then, I realized we need some things. We’ve got to get in that door. We need an extraction tool. We need those keys…As far as I’m talking about the command part…the people that went in, there was a big group of them outside the door. I have no idea who they were and how they walked in or anything kind of – I wasn’t given that direction,” the chief said in the report.