Uvalde Families, Leaders Call for Texas DPS Director to Resign

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said DPS “did not fail the community, plain and simple.”

UVALDE, Texas — Public officials, victims’ families, and other community groups are calling for the resignation of the state’s top law enforcement official for police inaction during the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School.

On Thursday, the San Antonio Express-News’ editorial board called for the resignation or firing of Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. Congressman Tony Gonzales (R-San Antonio) also tweeted McCraw “should RESIGN immediately,” citing McCraw’s own words from back in September when he said he would resign should fault be found within his department.

Families who lost loved ones in the shooting have voiced frustrations that McCraw has yet to be removed from his position and that the department has yet to release its findings of an investigation into police response, according to KERA News.

Nearly 400 law enforcement agents, including 91 DPS officers, responded to the shooting. Many DPS officers arrived within minutes, including several who were on the scene just two minutes after the shooter entered the school. Yet it took more than 70 minutes for him to be killed by law enforcement. A preliminary report released by the Texas House investigative committee concluded responding officers “failed to prioritize saving the lives of innocent victims over their own safety.”

“We are trying to put this puzzle together and we are getting it piece by piece and it’s scattered — it never really makes sense,” said Kimberly Mata-Rubio, mother of 10-year-old victim Lexi Rubio. “And it always alters each time another piece of information comes in.”

McCraw has been criticized for inaccurately claiming in a press conference that the gunman entered the school through a door that was propped open by a teacher. A few days later, officials confirmed the teacher closed the door but it did not automatically lock like it was supposed to, giving the shooter access to the school. That teacher says she now suffers from post-traumatic stress, including tremors, depression and anxiety, and post-traumatic arthritis.

Shortly after the massacre, Governor Greg Abbott said law enforcement acted quickly and bravely and that the incident was “not as bad as it could have been.” The public was also told a Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) officer first engaged with the gunman outside the school but it was later determined the shooter entered the school without resistance.

During a public meeting Thursday, McCraw said if DPS had failed the community or the families, then he should go.

“DPS as an institution, right now, did not fail the community, plain and simple,” McCraw said. “(But) I can tell you there were things that we aren’t proud about.”

Manuel Rizo, uncle of 10-year-old victim Jacklyn Cazares, who has been part of a group of family members calling for McCraw’s resignation, told The Texas Newsroom that his refusal to step down is “confusing.”

“I don’t understand how he can say DPS didn’t fail the community, yet he said they should’ve taken [the shooter] out within 10 minutes,” he said. “So, it’s contradicting, but we are used to it. We are used to hearing that.”

Tracy Walder, a former CIA officer and FBI special agent, told KERA that the lack of transparency from DPS is problematic. Most information that has become public has been released through family members or news reports — not DPS officials.

“I don’t know that we’ve had a school shooting, a mass shooting, such as this where the investigation has been so muddled and confused,” she said. “When you are in a position that your job is to protect the community and protect the citizens of the city, the state, the school, whatever it is, and people don’t have trust in you to do that, that represents a significant problem.”

McCaw said the actions of all responding officers are still being investigated and that he believes a final report will be given to the district attorney by the end of the year, according to CNHI News.

Last week, DPS fired Juan Maldonado, one of the responding sergeants, and six other officers are currently under investigation. Earlier this month, Uvalde CISD suspended its entire police department. The department’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, was fired by CISD’s board of trustees back in August.

About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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