Uvalde School Shooting

Texas State Senator Sues DPS Over Uvalde Shooting Records

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez says DPS not complying with an open records request

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The state senator representing Uvalde filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Public Safety Wednesday saying they have not complied with open records requests related to the massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio, District 19) said he sent an open records request to the DPS on May 31 asking for information related to the shooting investigation but that the agency has yet to respond.

"In the wake of this massacre, the State of Texas has completely failed to provide the community of Uvalde with truthful answers," Gutierrez said. "Weeks have come and gone, and yet families who lost their children have not been told by their government the basic information about who was on site as their children bled, what tools were at their disposal to stop the gunman, and exactly why they decided to wait instead of act."

The senator said the DPS had 10 days to respond to the request or ask the attorney general for a decision on the request and that as of June 22 the DPS had not requested a decision from the AG's office and they had not responded to the open records request.

Texas Government Code dictates that if the government body fails to seek an attorney general opinion, the documents are presumed "to be subject to required public disclosure and must be released."

"From the very start, the response to this awful gun tragedy has been full of misinformation and outright lies from our government," Gutierrez said in a statement. "On the first day following the shooting, Gov. Abbott told us that without law enforcement's quick response this situation would have been worse. That was one of several political narratives that turned out not to be accurate information."

Gutierrez credited diligent reporting for revealing students were inside the building for 40 minutes, some calling 911 asking for help before law enforcement entered the classroom and killed the gunman.

After a series of public news conferences in the days after the mass shooting, state agencies turned quiet and released few new details in the ongoing investigation. This week new details were released, however, at committee hearings on the shooting taking place with members of the state legislature.

During a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw said the law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting was an “abject failure" and that officers staged in the hallway during the shooting would have found the classroom where the assailant was holed up was unlocked if they had bothered to check the door.

"The community of Uvalde deserves answers now so that we can begin to heal and make sure a massacre like this never happens again," Gutierrez said.


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