But just hours later, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin slammed the DPS’s lack of transparency and accused its director, Col. Steven McCraw, of intentionally minimizing his agency’s mistakes.
“Col. McCraw has an agenda and it is not to present a full report on what happened and give factual answers on what happened to this community.”
Yet authorities have repeatedly changed their account of key facts about what happened inside the rooms and what police did in response during those 77 minutes.
He accused Uvalde school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo, who McCraw and others have identified as the on-scene commander, of ordering police to wait in a nearby hallway for unnecessary equipment and keys to a door that was not even locked.
“Three minutes after the subject entered the West building, there was a sufficient number of armed officers wearing body armor to isolate, distract and neutralize the subject,” he said. “The only thing stopping the hallway of dedicated officers from entering rooms 111 and 112 was the on-scene commander, who decided to place the lives of officers before the lives of children.”
CNN has reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the district attorney’s office, the chair of the Texas House investigating committee and the San Antonio office of the FBI for further comment.
Mayor says he’s frustrated by lack of transparency
Arredondo, who was also elected to the city council this year, has remained out of the public eye since the shooting. He testified behind closed doors to a Texas House committee Tuesday, but he has not spoken substantively about his decision-making on the day of the shooting.
Also at the meeting, McLaughlin noted that officers from at least eight law enforcement agencies were in the hallway outside the classrooms on the day of the shooting. McLaughlin said he has no desire to pursue elected office again and is “not covering up for anybody,” saying all responding agencies should be held accountable.
He said the leaking of certain bits of information over the past few weeks “continues to create chaos in our community and keeps the whole truth from coming out.”
“I’m just as frustrated — maybe not as frustrated as the families that have lost their loved ones — but it pisses me off that I can’t give you answers or can’t get you answers,” McLaughlin said.
“What matters to Uvalde is that these brokenhearted families and this grieving community get a full investigation and an accurate report of what happened that day. The petty infighting, the clickbait headlines and the politically motivated scapegoating is not helping anyone. It is dividing a community and further frustrating grieving families,” he added.
McLaughlin said he was meant to receive a daily briefing from authorities since its onset but none has been provided.
“The gloves are off. As we know it, we will share it. We are not going to hold back anymore,” he said.
DPS director plans to release bodycam video
Tuesday’s developments came after reporting from CNN, the Texas Tribune and the Austin American-Statesman previewed some of the DPS timeline and revealed further flaws in the police response.
Citing a DPS assessment, McCraw told the state Senate committee Tuesday that Uvalde school police officers’ radios would not have worked inside the school building due to a weaker signal. Border Patrol agents had the only portable radios that could have worked, he said, but when Border Patrol tried to patch their signals together with local law enforcements’ devices, their radios didn’t work either.
McCraw said that DPS planned to release bodycam footage at some point.
“Whenever the district attorney approves it, we are going to release all the body camera coverage, we’re going to release all 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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