In-Depth: Gov. Abbott's office claims state senator spreading 'false information' as lawmaker demands transparency in Uvalde

Posted at 2:52 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 22:51:34-04

WACO, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott's office is taking issue with statements being made by a state senator who represents Uvalde in the wake of the school shooting that left 21 left.

The governor's office is firing back at Sen. Roland Gutierrez, telling 25 News: "Senator Gutierrez is spreading false information, misleading the public, and doing a disservice to the people he represents."

Gutierrez fired back in a text message.

"Governor, the people of Uvalde deserve to know who was where, who knew what and when, and what decisions were made. These decisions cost lives," Gutierrez said.

In-Depth: Gov. Abbott's office claims state senator spreading 'false information' as lawmaker demands transparency in Uvalde

It's been three weeks since the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted law enforcement issues existed, including the longish response time it took to take down the 18-year-old Uvalde shooter.

The governor at first praised law enforcement.

"It could have been worse," Abbott said the day after the Uvalde massacre.

Now, he's saying he was misled.

That "could have been worse" statement backfired after he learned it took law enforcement 77 minutes to kill the shooter.

Gutierrez has been demanding answers from law enforcement.

Gutierrez told 25 News that he has many concerns when it comes to law enforcement's response.

"We clearly know that there was law enforcement failure here," Gutierrez said. "I understand how things can go wrong, but what I can't understand is why we have zero transparency of what happened."

The state senator said he was told by Steven McCraw, director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, that 13 troopers were inside the school.

"We know that there were three ballistic shields," Guitierrez said. "We know that there was enough capacity in that room, according to Steve McCraw. We know there was enough ammunition and enough manpower to be able to go in that room."

During the time of the shooting, it's unknown what information McCraw and the governor had.

Hand-written notes released to Houston's KTRK shed new light on Abbott's first response and raise questions about who allegedly “misled” him.

Bulletpoints in his notes that day say: "ISD approached gunman + engaged" and "Border Patrol, ISD officers, Police, Sheriffs + DPS converged on the classroom."

Gutierrez is placing some blame on Abbott's $4 billion border project. It's a task force put together to help with the border.

"We need to let the federal government do their job," Gutierrez said. "Let's remember it was the federal government that took down this subject. We had to wait for Border Patrol to come and finally say no — to hell with this. We're going into this room. We're gonna kill this guy."

In April, Abbott slashed $211 million from mental health programs in the state to help pay for Operation Lone Star.

For weeks now, media from around the world has been pushing for answers from law enforcement about how police responded.

"This is an active and ongoing investigation. Further information cannot be released at this time" is the response the media continues to get.

"The subject is dead, so who are we protecting?" Gutierrez said. "And who are we going to indict? All the cops? You and I both know that's not going to happen."

Texas School-Shooting
Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

Gutierrez believes the buck stops with Abbott and that another round-table will do nothing to stop mass shootings. He says gun laws need to change.

"Nothing he says is factually correct — and it's unfortunate he’s using the Uvalde tragedy to increase his political profile," Abbott also said in a statement to 25 News.

Travis Considine, DPS's communications chief, went on Twitter saying Gutierrez is playing "a game of telephone ... and all information is false."

"It's a concern to me that DPS, through their spokesperson, is calling a sitting senator a liar," Gutierrez said.

The Department of Public Safety has not responded to our request for comment.