‘It’s just the beginning’: Uvalde families skeptical after district police chief’s termination hearing set

UCISD set the hearing date for August 24 at 5:30 p.m. in the Benson Boardroom

UVALDE, Texas – Next week, Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo’s future with the district could be decided.

Families and community members have called for accountability in the three months since the Robb Elementary School shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

“It’s bittersweet. I mean, it is finally some -- I guess something positive. We did want to happen. I also think it’s just the beginning,” said Angel Garza, Amerie Garza’s stepfather.

Amerie is one of the 19 students killed in the shooting on May 24.

“Finally, but I’m a little weary of what is the outcome gonna be,” said Nikki Cross, Uziyah Garcia’s aunt and guardian.

Uziyah was also a victim of the Robb school shooting.

Hesitant but happy -- that’s how Amerie Jo Garza and Uziyah Garcia’s families say they felt hearing about Uvalde CISD’s termination hearing for Arredondo.

“It’s still in the back of our minds because we’ve been playing this back-and-forth game. We’re not going to be happy until the day is finally here and we hear he will be terminated,” said Berlinda Arreola, Amerie’s grandmother.

Twice before, termination hearings have been delayed at Arredondo’s attorney’s request, which is why there’s some skepticism from families.

“It’s all we’ve seen every time from the school board, and the city is -- ‘Well, this is gonna happen,’ and then it doesn’t,” said Brett Cross, Uziyah’s uncle and guardian.

The meeting will happen inside the Benson Boardroom three months to the day of the shooting.

Families say this is a step, but this is not the finish line for accountability.

“As I had said at one of the school board meetings, I had told them whatever it is that y’all needed to do with Pete, start the process with the other ones. Because we’re not gonna stop until everyone is out,” Arreola said.

Once the full investigation into the police response at Robb Elementary on May 24 wraps, these families want every avenue of the law to be utilized.

“If it is proven that even one child, or teacher for that matter, could have been saved in those 77 minutes, I feel (Arredondo) should be criminally charged,” Nikki Cross said.

“And not just him,” Brett Cross said.

“Everybody that was with him in that hallway,” Nikki Cross said.

“He’s just the first stop,” Brett Cross added.

“We’re going to fight and push as long as we can, as far as we can. We’re going to continue to push,” Arreola said.

The district’s chosen law firm, Walsh Gallegos, did not immediately return KSAT 12′s call for a statement on its representation in the hearing.

As for whether Arredondo will be at the hearing, some families want him there, but they doubt he will show.

Click here to access KSAT’s Uvalde coverage

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.