Parents and residents call for Uvalde school board to fire district police chief during emotional open forum
Speakers say CISD police chief needs to be held accountable
As the public forum began, two people were holding up signs that said “Fire Pete Arrendondo” and “Enough is enough.”
In one conversation, early in the siege, according to the Statesman account, an officer says: “If there’s kids in there, we need to go in there.” Another responded, “Whoever is in charge will determine that.”
A transcript from the body camera footage from officers appears to show Arredondo was trying to get keys to open the classroom door, even though officials say they do not believe officers had tried to open the door, according to the Statesman.
The revelations of the last three weeks have not only left city residents livid, but it also brought into question whether Arredondo will be held accountable at all for his actions — or lack thereof — on that tragic day.
“How are we supposed to continue our lives here when the people that are supposed to protect us let down our families,” Ramirez said through tears. “Do us a favor and do what you know is right and make these people accountable for what happened.”
Brett Cross, a relative of victim Uziyah Garcia, said the board was failing its residents if it continues to keep Arredondo on staff.
“We were failed by Pete Arredondo. He failed our kids, teachers, parents and city, and by keeping him on your staff, y’all are continuing to fail us,” Cross said.
Others echoed the call for accountability.
“If nothing is done by this council to ensure the safety of our children, perhaps it is time for individuals who are willing to risk their lives for our children to fill your seats,” said parent Angeli Gomez.
Speakers say school division needed better security
A number of residents complained about the lax security at Robb Elementary.
The open gates around elementary schools and the lack of adequate indoor space — like a gym — for the students to play also bothered the community.
On the day of the shooting “there were over 200-plus students — my son being one of them — playing outside at recess prior to the incident … visible to anyone driving by. That is a problem,” Gomez said.
“There were many days in which I’d see the gate open to the school that led up to the teacher’s parking lot,” she said. “There were days that children played outside that gate was open.”
“Is that really enough? We know now that it’s not,” Cazares said.
Trauma of familiy members
The relatives of victims did not hesitate to tell officials how the massacre has scarred them for life.
“I need you all to understand the magnitude of this loss our family has to endure, that the story I’m telling you about my parents and the tragedy that happened to them is our reality. A horrific nightmare that we will never be able to awake up from,” Garcia said.
Cross said he had never been to a school board meeting because he never had a need to or couldn’t because of work. That ended May 24.
He explained how he and his wife took in Uziyah and his sisters to raise him as their own to “get him away from a toxic, malevolent situation.”
“We were giving him a life where he could be a child and worry about childhood things, where his biggest worry was if he was going to be able to play his video games after school,” Cross said. “He went from a D and F student to getting his very first A on May 24. He was excelling academically for the first time in his short life.”
Ramirez asked officials through tears how he was supposed to move on after the death of his 10-year-old daughter.
“How are we supposed to continue our lives here when the people that are supposed to protect us let down our families?”
CNN’s Matthew J. Friedman, reporting from Uvalde, contributed to this report
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