Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officials will fire police chief Pete Arredondo on Saturday, after he held officers back for an hour while a gunman killed 21 students and teachers inside the school he was in charge of protecting back in May, the Daily Mail reports.
Sources close to the school board told CNN the chief will be fired. His actions at the Robb Elementary School massacre left 19 students and two teachers dead on May 24.
Parents and the community have called for his firing after news broke he was responsible for holding officers back. He was placed on administrative leave last month.
On Sunday, the Texas House investigative committee released a preliminary report where officials found “multiple systemic failures” and poor leadership by law enforcement on the day of the shooting.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin released body camera footage from the mass shooting on Sunday. Two news outlets released an 82-minute video of the shooting days ago.
Arredondo told officers the situation changed from an active shooter situation to one of a barricaded suspect. They proceeded to act with caution while the shooter massacred children.
The chief’s call came despite several students and teachers making 911 calls for help amid the shooting.
The newly-released video also shows Arredondo trying to speak with the shooter several times from the school hallway.
During his initial attempts, Arredondo seems unaware the shooter barricaded himself in a classroom with students.
“Let me know if there’s any kids in there or anything,” Arredondo said “This could be peaceful.”
He continued,” Can you tell me your name, anything that can help please?”
The shooter did not respond. Minutes later, a 911 dispatcher alerted police that a student had called and children and teachers were trapped with the gunman.
Six minutes later, Arredondo tries to open the door to a nearby classroom with a set of keys, but fails to do so.
Another officer opens the door and additional officers, more heavily armored, arrive but take little action. Then, another round of shots is fired, prompting Arredondo yet again to plead with the shooter.
After another round of shots is fired, Arredondo again pleads with the shooter, “Can you hear me, sir?”
“Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don’t want anybody else hurt.”
Someone says “I know, I know” and another voice says, “That’s what we’re doing, we’re trying to get him out.”
Yet police don’t enter the classroom with the shooter to kill him for another 30 minutes.
The Texas House probe marks the most thorough attempt so far to determine why it took more than an hour for police and other officers to confront and kill an active shooter.
The report observed “system failures and egregious poor decision making” by decision-makers and a lack of clear leadership and sufficient urgency. Hundreds of officers from agencies that were better trained and better equipped than the school’s police force also failed, the report found.
“The void of leadership could have contributed to the loss of life as injured victims waited over an hour for help, and the attacker continued to sporadically fire his weapon.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said in an emailed statement to the Daily Mail that the city placed Lieutenant Mariano Pargas, who was the acting city police chief on the day of the shooting, on administrative leave.
The report also found that the school failed to adhere to a number of basic safety protocols, which included a lack of keys leading to teachers regularly leaving doors unlocked or propping them open. The lock in one of the rooms where the shooting took place was known to be unreliable, but was not repaired.
Unreliable Wi-Fi in parts of the school also led to poor use of an app intended to notify the school of a lockdown in the event of an emergency.
Teachers also responded without urgency to lockdown notifications on the app because it was used so often due to nearby border patrol activity. The school is about an hour from the US-Mexico border.
There were 47 “lockdown” events at the school between May and February, 90 percent of which concerned border patrol activity.
The shooter displayed many warning signs, none of which were reported to authorities.
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