Robb families honor their loved ones as district police chief Pete Arredondo is fired

It’s been three months exactly since 21 lives were taken inside Robb Elementary.

UVALDE, Texas – Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo has been fired on the three-month anniversary of the horrific school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Families and audience members in attendance at the board’s special meeting on Wednesday were upset the board held their hearing in private, rather than having transparency to have it in public.

Arredondo was placed on leave nearly a month after the shooting, at first with pay and then without.

Then in July, the board moved toward his termination but the hearing was delayed twice at the request of Arredondo’s attorney.

The termination announcement was made swiftly when the executive session ended.

“I move that good cause exists to terminate the non-certified contract of Pete Arredondo, effective immediately,” Laura Perez, Uvalde CISD board member, said.

“All in favor? Motion passes unanimously,” Luis Fernandez, Uvalde CISD board president, said.

No applause or cheers came from the families in mourning at the news of Arredondo’s termination. Instead, they quickly filed out of the auditorium holding pictures of the ones they love.

“It took three months to get him fired. Things should have been done from day one from it, at the beginning,” Felicha Martinez, Xavier Lopez’s mom, said.

On this three-month anniversary of the shooting, families took control of the board meeting, talking about their loved ones as the board met in private.

“He loved his brothers and sisters, and every morning he made sure to tell me that he loved me before he went to school. He loved hanging out with his mom making TikToks and Snapchat videos,” Nikki Cross, Uziyah’s guardian, said.

“I’m Xavier’s mom. I miss my best friend,” Martinez said tearfully.

Children, some survivors from Robb Elementary, used their young voices to call for action and accountability.

“I have messages for Pete Arredondo and all the law enforcement that was that day too. Turn in your badge and step down. You don’t deserve to wear one,” Katelyn Gonzalez, a young girl, said.

“Enough is enough and we need to change the gun laws to 23 so people that are young, they will not have to buy a gun,” Jaydien Carnizales, a survivor of room 112, said.

A moment of joy was held Wednesday evening as well.

AJ Martinez, another survivor from room 112, celebrated his birthday with his new family. It’s a family connected by tragedy, bonded in strength.

About the Authors

Leigh Waldman is an investigative 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.

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