Texas State Police Chief Says His Officers ‘Did Not Fail’ In Uvalde

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ state police chief stated Thursday that his division “did not fail” Uvalde through the hesitant regulation enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School shooting, as a Republican congressman joined indignant dad and mom of a number of the 19 kids killed within the May assault in calling for him to resign.

Col. Steve McCraw, the top of the Texas Department of Public Safety, acknowledged errors by officers whereas a number of Uvalde households confronted him in Austin over a number of outrages: why police waited more than 70 minutes earlier than coming into the fourth-grade classroom and killing the gunman, false and shifting accounts given by authorities, and records that remain withheld greater than 5 months later.

But McCraw defended his company, and through a meeting of the state’s Public Safety Commission, made the case that failures uncovered up to now didn’t warrant his removing whereas saying he was not shirking from accountability. Uvalde households bristled and requested how DPS couldn’t have failed, on condition that troopers had been among the many first on the scene.

“I can tell you this right now, DPS as an institution, right now, did not fail the community,” McCraw stated. “Plain and simple.”

Significantly, Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales stated for the primary time after the meeting that McCraw must also lose his job, turning into the primary main determine within the GOP to name for a change on the high of Texas’ state police power. Gonzales, a former Navy officer, represents the sprawling South Texas district that features Uvalde.

“DPS Director McCraw should RESIGN immediately,” Gonzales tweeted. His office has not responded to a message searching for additional remark Thursday.

McCraw stated a felony investigation into the police response to the capturing led by Texas Rangers could be wrapped up by the top of the year and turned over to prosecutors. He supplied no indication as as to whether the findings would end in expenses in opposition to any of the nearly 400 officers who went to the school the place two academics had been additionally killed. Two officers have been fired in response to their actions on the scene and others have been positioned on go away.

The meeting Thursday at Texas state police headquarters was the primary public replace on Uvalde in weeks, though little new info was revealed. McCraw and Uvalde households addressed the state’s four-member public security fee, which oversees Texas state police.

Each of the board members had been appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, a longtime supporter of McCraw. The board didn’t ask McCraw any questions on Uvalde earlier than transferring on to different business.

Families of kids killed within the assault have spent months accusing the Department of Public Safety of slow-walking the investigation, withholding info and attempting to reduce its duty. There had been 91 state troopers on the scene, together with some that physique digicam later revealed had been among the many first officers to reach.

Last week, the division fired one among seven troopers topic to an internal investigation into their actions throughout one of many deadliest classroom shootings in U.S. historical past.

Jesse Rizzo, whose 9-year-old niece Jacklyn Cazares was among the many victims, stated deceptive and false feedback from authorities concerning the police response has compounded the small town’s grief and eroded belief in regulation enforcement.

“The aftermath that came after that was absolutely unacceptable, hurtful, painful,” Rizzo stated. “Every single time seemed like lie after lie, disinformation.”

McCraw on Thursday apologized for the division initially saying that the gunman had been in a position to achieve entry to the varsity as a result of a instructor had propped open an exterior door with a rock. The instructor had gone again and shut the door, however it didn’t lock.

McCraw insisted his division “did not fail the community,” drawing condemnation from the assembled Uvalde households.

“If you’re a man of your word then you would retire,” Brett Cross, the uncle of 10-year-old sufferer Uziyah Garcia, advised McCraw. “But unfortunately it doesn’t seem like you’re going to do that because you keep talking in circles.”

Another of the state troopers beneath inside investigation was Crimson Elizondo, who resigned and later was employed by Uvalde colleges to work as a campus police officer. She was fired lower than 24 hours after outraged parents in Uvalde found out about her hiring.

Associated Press author Jake Bleiberg contributed from Dallas.

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