Pete Arredondo was fired from his office as the Uvalde school district’s police chief on Wednesday. He became the first law enforcement officer to lose his job after an apparent botched response to a shooting that killed 19 children.

The board of trustees of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District made the decision on Wednesday. Arredondo was fired in an auditorium that was filled with survivors and families of the victims. The vote was unanimous.

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The auditorium echoed with cheers from the crowd after the vote, news agency Associated Press reported. Some parents of the victims were seen walking out with tears in their eyes. “Coward!”, an audience member shouted during the vote.

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 Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old gunman, in a fourth-grade classroom.

Most notably, Arredondo was criticized for not ordering officers to act sooner. Col. Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, has said Arredondo was in charge of the law enforcement response to the attack.

Minutes before the meeting of the Uvalde school board got underway, Arredondo’s attorney released a scathing 4,500-word letter that amounted to the police chief’s fullest defense to date of his actions, Associated Press reported.

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Over 17 defiant pages, Arredondo is not a fumbling school police chief who a damning state investigation blamed for not taking command and wasted time by looking for keys to a likely unlocked door, but a brave officer whose level-headed decisions saved the lives of other students.  

Only one other officer — Uvalde Police Department Lt. Mariano Pargas, who was the city’s acting police chief on the day of the massacre — is known to have been placed on leave for their actions during the shooting.