'Turn in your badge': Child's plea to officers as police chief is sacked after Texas shooting

'Turn in your badge and step down, you don't deserve to wear one': Children and parents pushed for the dismissal of police chief Arredondo.

Children and parents have called for officers to "turn in" their badges after a Uvalde police chief was sacked for critical mistakes made during a mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

A board of trustees voted to dismiss Chief Pete Arredondo, who has faced criticism since the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Mr Arredondo, who has been on leave from the district since June 22, has come under the most intense scrutiny of the nearly 400 officers who rushed to school but waited more than 70 minutes to confront the 18-year-old gunman in a fourth-grade classroom.

He tried to defend his actions, telling a Texas House committee he did not consider himself the incident commander on the scene.

The unanimous vote to oust the police chief was met with cheers from crowds, but some Uvalde residents are calling for more officers to be held accountable.

At the committee meeting, community member and child Caitlyne Gonzales said: "I have messages for Pete Arredondo and all the other law enforcement that were there that day - turn in your badge and step down. You don't deserve to wear one."

A video released earlier this summer added to the anger over the failed police operation, depicting in devastating clarity the actions of killer Salvador Ramos and slow response of law enforcement.

The shocking video displays a lack of action by police, reports ITV News Correspondent John Ray

This video contains distressing images

Mr Arredondo’s lawyer released a 17-page letter stating he was not a fumbling school police chief who is to blame for not taking command and wasted time by looking for keys to a likely unlocked door.

It instead portrayed him as a brave officer whose level-headed decisions saved the lives of other students.

It claims that Mr Arredondo warned the district about a variety of security issues in the schools a year before the shooting and asserted he wasn’t in charge of the scene.

The letter also accused Uvalde school officials of putting his safety at risk by not letting him carry a weapon to the school board meeting if he were to attend, citing “legitimate risks of harm to the public and to Chief Arredondo."

Memorial honouring those recently killed is formed around Robb Elementary School. Credit: AP

Among those at the meeting was Ruben Torres, father of Chloe Torres, who survived the shooting in room 112 of the school.

He said that, as a former Marine, he took an oath that he faithfully executed willingly, and did not understand why officers did not take action when leadership failed.

“Right now, being young, she is having a hard time handling this horrific event,” Torres said.

Shirley Zamora, the mother of a student at Robb Elementary, said accountability shouldn't end with Arredondo's dismissal.

“This is just going to be the beginning. It's a long process," she said.

How the police approach played out

Documents reviewed by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE-TV show officers with heavier firepower in the school corridor.

The timeline the outlets reported from the documents included footage from inside the school that showed the 18-year-old gunman casually entering a rear door at 11.33 am.

He walked to a classroom and immediately opened fire before barricading himself. Video showed 11 officers entering the school three minutes later, the reports say.

Nineteen children and two teachers were murdered by Ramos. Credit: Austin American-Statesman

Mr Arredondo called the Uvalde Police Department landline and reported that their suspect had “shot a lot” with an AR-15-style rifle and outgunned the officers at the school, who he said were armed only with pistols, according to the outlets.

Four minutes later, at 11.44 am, body camera video recorded the sound of more gunshots.

At 11.52 am, the first ballistic shield arrived as officers grew impatient to act.

Mr Arredondo struggled to find a key to the classroom door even though no one is believed to have tried opening it, the report claims.

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Another officer with a ballistic shield arrived at 12.03 pm and another came with a shield two minutes later.

Around 30 minutes before officers finally breached the classroom door at 12.50 pm, Mr Arredondo is heard wondering aloud if the gunman could be shot through a window.

Only at 12.46 pm did Mr Arredondo tell the tactical team members to breach the door when ready.

School campus won't be used when students return

School officials have said the campus at Robb Elementary will no longer be used when students return September 6.

Instead, campuses elsewhere in Uvalde will serve as temporary classrooms for elementary school students, not all of whom are willing to return to school in-person following the shooting.

School officials say a virtual academy will be offered for students.

New measures to improve school safety in Uvalde include “eight-foot, non-scalable perimeter fencing” at elementary, middle and high school campuses, according to the school district.

Officials say they have also installed additional security cameras, upgraded locks, enhanced training for district staff and improving communication.