Uvalde school shooting: Mayor accuses Texas law enforcement director of lying, leaking or misleading to avoid blame

“Colonel McCraw continued, whether you wanted to call it lying, running away, misleading or twisting, information in order to steer his own soldiers and Rangers away from the response. At each briefing, he leaves out the number of his own officers and Rangers who were on site that day,” McLaughlin told residents at a town council meeting on Tuesday.
The mayor’s criticism came just hours after McCraw testified before a Texas Senate committee that law enforcement’s response was a ‘dismal failure’ and violated commonly taught protocol to arrest the shooter as quickly as possible. .

“Colonel McCraw has an agenda and it’s not about giving a full report on what happened and giving factual answers about what happened to this community,” McLaughlin said.

The DPS director accused Uvalde School District Police Chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, whom McCraw and others identified as the on-scene commander, of ordering police to wait in a next hallway of useless equipment and keys to a door that wasn’t even locked. .

“Three minutes after the subject entered the West Building, there were a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and incapacitate the subject,” McCraw said. “The only thing stopping the Corridor of Dedicated Officers from entering Rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to put the lives of the officers ahead of the lives of the children.”

finger pointing adds further tension to a tragedy that has become a case study in poor policing and worse communication. Almost a month has passed since an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at the school. He remained inside classrooms from 11:33 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. — when police finally broke through the door and killed him, according to a DPS timeline.

Yet authorities have repeatedly changed their account of key facts about what happened inside the chambers and what police did in response during those 77 minutes.

McLaughlin said the repeated inaccuracies and shifting of blame from Texas authorities is dividing the community and frustrating grieving families.

“What matters to Uvalde is that these heartbroken families and this grieving community get a full investigation and an accurate report of what happened that day,” he said. “Petty infighting, clickbait headlines and politically motivated scapegoating don’t help anyone.”

CNN has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the District Attorney’s Office, the chairman of the Texas House Investigative Committee and the FBI’s San Antonio office for further comment.

Mayor says frustrated with lack of transparency

At the city council meeting, McLaughlin noted that officers from at least eight law enforcement agencies were in the hallway outside classrooms on the day of the shooting. McLaughlin said he has no desire to run for elected office again and that he “isn’t covering for anyone”, saying all response agencies should be held accountable.

He said the leaking of some information over the past few weeks “continues to create chaos in our community and prevents the full truth from coming out.”

He took particular aim at what he said was a false report that local police were not cooperating with investigators, and he expressed frustration at being left in the dark.

“I’m just as frustrated — maybe not as frustrated as families who have lost loved ones — but it pisses me off that I can’t give you answers or can’t get you answers,” McLaughlin said. .

McLaughlin said he was supposed to receive a daily briefing from authorities since his start, but none was provided.

“The gloves are off. As we know, we’ll share it. We’re not going to hold back any longer,” he said.

McLaughlin has previously criticized the lack of transparency by investigators, telling a June 7 city council meeting, “We’ve had a few missteps with the DPS disclosing certain facts or different things, but those weren’t not the Rangers who were leading the investigation. I don’t blame anyone,” he said.
“We were told one thing one day, and the next day the story changed. You were told for a week that a teacher had held the door open with a rock, and by the end of the week that story had also gone. That’s the misstep. I’m talking,” he added.

The city council meeting also disputed Arredondo’s absence from the public eye.

Arredondo, the school’s police chief who was elected to city council this year, testified behind closed doors before a Texas House committee on Tuesday but did not speak publicly about his decision-making on the day of shooting.

Council members voted unanimously to deny him time off from future meetings on Tuesday, earning applause from attendees.

DPS Director Plans To Release Body Cam Video

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Jr., seen here at a June 7 city council meeting, said law enforcement failed to hold him and city officials, aware.

Tuesday’s developments came after reports from CNN, the Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman previewed part of the DPS timeline and revealed other flaws in the police response.

Details of the first moments of the massacre include that 11 officers were inside the building within three minutes of the gunman opening fire. Rifles and ballistic shields were available soon after, reports said.
But 77 minutes passed between the time the shooter started shooting and the time a tactical response team entered the classroom and killed him, according to a DPS timeline of events. Authorities said they believe the classroom doors were locked and are working to locate a key, but security footage of officers testing the doors has yet to be found, according to reports.
Parents and residents call on Uvalde School Board to fire district police chief in emotional open forum
Arredondo previously told the Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the incident commander and had left his police radio and campus radio outside the school because he thought wearing them was the would slow down.

Citing a DPS assessment, McCraw told the state Senate committee on Tuesday that police radios at the Uvalde school would not have worked inside the school building due to a signal. weaker. Border Patrol agents had the only portable radios that could have worked, he said, but when Border Patrol tried to hook up their signals with local law enforcement devices, their radios did not work. no more.

McCraw said DPS plans to release body camera footage at some point.

“Whenever the district attorney approves it, we’ll release all of the body camera coverage, we’ll release all of the school video and the funeral video,” he said.

CNN’s Andy Rose, Rosa Flores, Christina Maxouris, Amanda Musa, Rosalina Nieves, Rebekah Riess and Steve Almasy contributed to this report.

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