Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he was “misled” about what happened in the Uvalde school massacre, causing him to initially share inaccurate information with the public.
“I am livid about what happened,” Abbott said during a news conference in Uvalde, the site of the shooting where a gunman killed 19 students and two adults Tuesday. “The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that.”
In his first news conference after the shooting, Abbott had praised how police handled the shooting, applauding their "amazing courage."
“It could have been worse. The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do,” he said Wednesday.
But it came out earlier Friday that police had made a crucial error, waiting to enter a classroom because they believed it was no longer an active-shooter situation. Steve McCraw, the directer of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said it was the “wrong decision, period.”
Abbott said Friday his initial remarks on the law enforcement response to the shooting were a “recitation” of what he had just been told in a briefing.
Going forward, Abbott said he expected law enforcement leaders to "get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty." He said the Texas Rangers and FBI would be investigating the law enforcement response.
In addition to the police's slow response time to the classroom, authorities had initially said a school resource officer "engaged" the gunman outside. But McCraw also corrected that account earlier Friday, saying the school resource officer was not on campus when the shooter arrived and missed him when he rushed back to school in response to a 911 call. McCraw said he did not know why the school officer was not on site at the time of the shooting.
Abbott's Friday appearance in Uvalde came as he skipped the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, where he instead deliver pre-recorded remarks that were shown to the audience minutes before his news conference began. In the video address, Abbott continued to make clear he does not view gun restrictions as the answer to the massacre.
"There are thousands of laws on the books across the country that [limit firearms] that have not stopped madmen from carrying out evil acts on innocent people and peaceful communities," Abbott said.
He added that the shooter committed a felony "before he even pulled the trigger" by possessing a gun on school premises. Then he committed capital murder by killing 21 people, Abbott said.
At the Uvalde news conference, Abbott continued to resist policy proposals that center on firearms and was noncommittal about the prospect of a special legislative session on gun violence. Roland Gutierrez, the Democratic state senator who represents Uvalde, interrupted the news conference to advocate for a special session, emotionally pleading with Abbott.
"I'm asking you now to bring us back in three weeks," Gutierrez said. "We have to do something, man."
"Just call us back," Gutierrez repeated as he walked away.
Of a potential special session, Abbott said, "all options are on the table." He has provided a similar response in the past when pressed for special sessions on various issues.
Erin Douglas contributed reporting.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2022/05/27/greg-abbott-texas-uvalde-shooting/.
The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.
"Gov. Greg Abbott says he was misled about poor police response to Uvalde shooting" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
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