Outrage abound as Uvalde police and school district fail to comply with state investigation into massacre
Conflicting accounts have heaped even more scrutiny on the authorities meant to protect the 21 people, including 19 children, that died in last week’s tragedy.
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According to a new report by ABC News, the Uvalde Police Department and the Uvalde Independent School District police are no longer working together with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) investigation into the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News that this choice to cease cooperative efforts came soon after the director of DPS, Col. Steven McCraw, held a news conference Friday, May 27.
At the conference, McCraw said that the delayed police entry into the classroom was the “wrong decision” and went against protocol for these situations.
Uvalde police and school district stops cooperation with Texas probe, says report https://t.co/feQJTgPs9Z— The Independent (@Independent) June 1, 2022
McCraw bluntly acknowledged that officers on the scene severely miscalculated what was unfolding, and failed to go after the gunman in a timely manner, a decision that turned out to be deadly.
"From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course it wasn't the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period," he said.
The official response to the Uvalde elementary school massacre has been damaged by shifting narratives, a lack of timely and accurate information, and lots of finger-pointing.
The response became even more dysfunctional on Tuesday, May 31, when the Uvalde school district’s police chief — who made the choice to wait for resources rather than quickly confront the gunman — has stopped collaborating with state investigators, and has stopped responding to information requests.
“The Uvalde Police Department and Uvalde CISD Police have been cooperating with investigators. The chief of the Uvalde CISD Police provided an initial interview but has not responded to a request for a follow-up interview with the Texas Rangers that was made two days ago,” a DPS spokesperson told ABC News.
Amid the uncertainty, Texas’ largest police union — the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, or CLEAT — released a statement on Tuesday urging its members to fully cooperate with current investigations into the Uvalde shooting.
BREAKING: The Uvalde Police Department is no longer cooperating with the investigation by the Texas Department of Public safety into their response to the Robb Elementary shooting.— CALL TO ACTIVISM (@CalltoActivism) May 31, 2022
Who else thinks the DOJ should step in? ✋
Tarnishing its reputation further, the agency retracted an earlier claim that a Robb Elementary School teacher propped a back door open before the shooting, which allowed the gunman to enter. Earlier that day, the teacher’s lawyer had pushed back on this account, which has now been confirmed as false.
On Friday, McCraw said that the unnamed teacher had propped open the door through which the gunman entered the school. But DPS stated that the teacher shut the door, but its automatic locking mechanism malfunctioned, and officials are looking into the lock issues.
This revelation came hours after Don Flanary, the teacher’s lawyer, told the San Antonio Express-News that the teacher was not responsible for letting the gunman into the school building.
“She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked,” Flanary said.
"Law enforcement tried to blame a teacher who left a door open for the Uvalde shooting, but surveillance video shows that the school employee closed the door."— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 31, 2022
https://t.co/tF0rYpuyqw via @politicususa
According to McCraw, Pete Arredondo, chief of police at Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD), treated the gunman as a “barricaded suspect” rather than an active shooter and believed children were no longer at risk.
After Arredondo won his election, he was scheduled to participate in a public ceremony on May 7. But the event was postponed.
“Out of respect for the families who buried their children today, and who are planning to bury their children in the next few days, no ceremony was held,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said in a press release.
“Our parents deserve answers and I trust the Texas Department of Public Safety/Texas Rangers will leave no stone unturned. Our emotions are raw, and hearts are broken, and words are sometimes exchanged because of those emotions,” the mayor said.