The latest update on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas last May is that family members of children murdered that day traveled to Austin to confront the state’s top law enforcement officer. They got up close and personal at a Public Safety Commission hearing, standing just feet from Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw. Some called for his resignation.
During the meeting on Thursday, family members had the opportunity to tell McCraw to his face that he needs to live up to his pledge to step down if his troopers had “any culpability” in the shooting.
“You, sir, have told lies, you’re not in control of your officers, nor are you the leader this great state deserves at the helm of what was once known as one of the best law enforcement agencies,” said Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old nephew was killed in the shooting.
“If you’re a man of your word, you’ll resign,” Cross said, looking directly at McCraw. “We’re not waiting any longer.”
The pledge they refer to from McCraw happened last month when McCraw told CNN that “I’ll be the first to resign, I’ll gladly resign, I’ll tender my resignation to the governor if I think there is any culpability in the Department of Public Safety. Period.” On Thursday, however, he resisted calls for his resignation. He told the families that DPS, as an institution, did not fail the Uvalde community.
“I can tell you this, if DPS as an institution failed the families, failed the school or failed the community of Uvalde, then absolutely, I need to go,” he said. “I can tell you this right now: DPS as an institution, right now, did not fail the community, plain and simple.”
Families of the victims are frustrated and still waiting for answers. They feel that little has been done to prevent possible future mass shootings and law enforcement agencies on the scene have not been held accountable for their inaction to protect the nineteen children and two teachers that were murdered that horrible day. Steve McCraw is the latest official targeted by the families trying to oust those in charge that day. McCraw is also the highest-profile person the families have called upon to resign. On that day, 376 police from 23 different agencies responded to the call for help with the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. More than an hour lapsed before any of them entered the classroom and confronted the shooter.
There is video of the response by the officers that has been released to the public and it shows officers from various agencies just standing around in the school hallway outside of the classroom where the deranged 18-year-old shooter murdered 19 fourth graders and two teachers. No one appears to take charge of the situation. It certainly appears that no one was following any kind of protocol that was used in training the officers for such an emergency. They were literally just standing in the hallway, armed and in protective gear, but doing nothing. They chose to protect and serve themselves, not the children and teachers who were dying inside that classroom, for more than one hour. The video haunts its viewers. The reactions of law enforcement on the ground that day is inexplicable.
Uvalde school police Chief Pete Arredondo was fired in August. Several Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District executives have left their positions due to pressure from the community, including the superintendent and an assistant superintendent of human resources. DPS is investigating only a few of the 91 DPS officers who responded that day.
McCraw said that a Texas Rangers investigation into the handling of the shooting would be done by the end of the year and vowed full transparency in its findings. He repeatedly said that DPS officers on the scene failed to follow active shooter protocol.
“Right is right, and we were wrong,” he said.
McCraw said DPS is providing school security in Uvalde and will continue to do so as long as necessary. He said the agency has sent 12 troopers to help Uvalde police with a gang problem.
“At the end of the day, this is an absolute tragedy and we’ll do what we can to support the community, continue to do it,” he said. “I don’t expect ever — ever — forgiveness. I don’t expect anything at all, except what you feel right now.”
Lawmakers are also calling or McCraw’s resignation. State Senator Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, accused Chief McCraw of spreading misinformation. U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican whose district includes Uvalde, also calls for McCraw’s resignation after the hearing.
DPS Director McCraw should RESIGN immediately. https://t.co/s2jqrEr1RV
— Tony Gonzales (@TonyGonzales4TX) October 27, 2022
McCraw isn’t going anywhere, at least not right now. He believes his department did its job that day.