The Uvalde school board agreed Wednesday to fire Pete Arredondo, the school district’s police chief broadly criticized for his response to the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, in a unanimous vote that came shortly after he asked to be taken off of suspension and receive backpay.

Arredondo, widely blamed for law enforcement’s delayed response in confronting the gunman who killed 21 people at Robb Elementary, made the request for reinstatement through his attorney, George E. Hyde. The meeting came exactly three months after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary. Arredondo didn’t attend the meeting.

“Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” Hyde said in a statement.

About 100 people showed up to the meeting Wednesday. Many chanted “coward” and “no justice, no peace.” Four people spoke during a public comment period before the board went into closed session to deliberate Arredondo’s employment.

Arredondo was one of the first law enforcement officers to respond to the shooting at Robb Elementary on May 24. Nearly 400 local, state and federal law enforcement officers waited more than an hour to confront the 18-year-old gunman after he entered the school.

The board began deliberating his fate behind closed doors shortly before 6 p.m. Trustees faced intense public pressure to fire Arredondo, whom many state leaders have publicly blamed for the delayed response to the shooter.

Hyde asked school officials to read a statement on Arredondo’s behalf at the meeting. They did not comply with the request.

After board members began discussing Arredondo, Felicha Lopez, whose son Xavier James Lopez was killed in the massacre, told people attending the meeting that the school board needed to “protect our kids” as she wiped tears from her face.

Arredondo has been on leave since June 22. Superintendent Hal Harrell recommended that Arredondo be fired “for good cause,” according to an agenda of the 5:30 p.m. school board meeting.

A Texas House committee report released in July said the responding officers lacked clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to more quickly confront the gunman, who was shot and killed after a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team entered the classroom where most of the victims were shot.

Arredondo was listed in the district’s active-shooter plan as the commanding officer, but the consensus of those interviewed by the House committee was that Arredondo did not assume that role and no one else took over for him, which resulted in a chaotic law enforcement response.

In a June 9 interview with The Texas Tribune, Arredondo said he did not think he was the incident commander on the scene. He said he never gave any order, instead only called for assistance. Arredondo did not have his police radio while he was inside Robb Elementary because he wanted both of his arms free to engage the shooter, he said.

Arredondo testified to the House committee that he believed the shooter was a “barricaded subject” instead of an “active shooter” after seeing an empty classroom next to the one where the shooter was hiding.

“With the benefit of hindsight, we now know this was a terrible, tragic mistake,” the House report stated.

Training for active-shooter scenarios directs law enforcement responders to prioritize the lives of innocent victims over those of officers. For a barricaded suspect, officers are not advised to rush in.

The report criticized Arredondo’s focus on trying to find a key to open the door to the room the shooter was in, which “consumed his attention and wasted precious time, delaying the breach of the classrooms.” The report said the classroom door didn’t lock properly and likely wasn’t locked as police waited to confront the shooter.

Arredondo was elected to the Uvalde City Council a few weeks before the shooting but wasn’t sworn in until after the massacre. After missing several meetings, Arredondo stepped down from his District 3 seat to “minimize further distractions,” he said.

Zach Despart and William Melhado contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune, a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy.

Brian Lopez is the public education reporter for The Texas Tribune.