Police chief fired over Texas school shooting
A police chief accused of botching the response to the fatal shooting of 19 school children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, has been sacked.
The local school board voted unanimously to fire Pete Arredondo, who had been on leave since June.
The firing came three months to the day since the attack and two weeks before the new school term begins.
The attack at Robb Elementary School on May 24 was the deadliest United States (US) school shooting in nearly a decade.
Many parents and relatives have expressed deep anger at the police response and there has been growing pressure for law enforcements to be held accountable.
Arredondo has taken the brunt of criticism for officers’ 77-minute delay in confronting the teenage gunman, and is the first officer to be dismissed.
But lawyers for Arredondo called him “a courageous officer” and his firing “an unconstitutional public lynching”.
In a 17-page statement the attorneys maintained: “Chief Arredondo did the right thing.
The statement also said the school district had failed to carry out any investigation “establishing evidence supporting a decision to terminate” their client.
It continued: “The complaint that an officer should have rushed the door, believed to be locked, to open it up without a shield capable of stopping an AR-15 bullet, without breaching tools… is tantamount to suicide.”
However, an inquiry heard in June that the classroom door was not locked and there was no evidence officers tried to open it.
Texas public safety chief Steven McCraw testified to a state Senate hearing that there were enough police on the scene to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building.
Labelling the response an “abject failure”, McCraw also said Arredondo had “decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children”.—BBC