A Texas State Senator who represents Uvalde is pressing for more information about the action taken by state troopers during a massacre last month at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers.
As the investigation into the mass shooting has unfolded, law enforcement who responded to the shooting has been heavily criticized for the slow response in bringing the shooting to an end.
The San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) told them that more than a dozen troopers were in the hallway outside the classrooms where the students were killed. The DPS said Tuesday afternoon that reports alleging troopers waited outside those classrooms are not accurate and that troopers in the building were assisting with evacuations. At times, the DPS said, troopers did enter and exit that hallway outside the classroom where the gunman was contained.
"To characterize DPS officers as massed in the hallway while waiting more than an hour to enter the classroom is wrong," according to a statement and tweet from DPS spokesman Travis Considine.
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Gutierrez said his information about the number of troopers inside the school came from Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steve McCraw but that he did not have a firm answer regarding state trooper movement or actions.
"He has told me directly that there [were] two officers in the hallway very early, and then on the morning of June 2, he told me there were as many as 13," Gutierrez said. "What I didn't pin down from the colonel at that time, because he was getting on a plane, was the period of time. Was that in the 48 minutes or not?"
Gutierrez adds there were three ballistic shields in that hallway that could have been used to breach the room.
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The state senator said he wants the details cleared up so a tragedy like Uvalde does not happen again.
“There was a lot of human failure, a lot of human error. I understand all of that. What I don’t understand is why can’t people own up to it so that we can fix the problems as legislators, so that law enforcement can fix their own problem, and determine what they are going to do next time in rural Texas,” added Gutierrez.
At a news conference days after the shooting, McCraw said officers should have gone in sooner.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I am sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period,” said McCraw, on May 27.
McCraw said that the person in charge was the Uvalde Consolidated School District Chief, who believed the shooter was barricaded and not an active threat. There is now a Justice Department investigation. A special committee in the Texas House is holding hearings about the mass shooting. The next two hearings are on Thursday and Friday in Uvalde.