The Uvalde City Council on Tuesday unanimously denied a leave of absence to council member Pete Arredondo, who is also police chief of the Texas school district where 19 students and two teachers were killed last month.

Arredondo was elected to the council on May 7. It was more than two weeks later, on May 24, when a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and barricaded himself. After more than an hour, police stormed the classroom he was in and killed him.

Arredondo did not attend Tuesday night’s meeting or a previous emergency session held shortly after the shooting, per the Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network. The council voted unanimously to decline Arredondo’s leave of absence. If he misses the next two meetings, the council can remove him for abandoning his office.

Several Uvalde residents attended the meeting to oppose Arredondo’s leave of absence request. “We heard our citizens tonight, loud and clear,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said. “If he misses his three meetings, I’m sure Pete will go. … I’ll vote yes (to remove him).”

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Relatives of the shooting victims had pleaded with city leaders to fire Arredondo. “Please, please, we’re begging you, get this man out of our lives,” said Berlinda Arreola, the grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza.

Also on Tuesday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a hearing in the Texas State Senate, blamed Arredondo for preventing officers from quickly confronting the gunman. Enough officers were on the scene three minutes after the gunman entered the building to have stopped him, DPS Director Steve McCraw said.