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Uvalde DA fights release of DPS evidence during Thursday court hearing

District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee said it could take years to release evidence because of an ongoing investigation.

HOUSTON — On Thursday, the Uvalde District Attorney spoke publicly for the first time since the Texas Rangers launched an investigation into the Robb Elementary School shooting.

During a court hearing in Austin, DA Christina Mitchell Busbee said it could take years to release evidence because of an ongoing investigation.

Busbee is fighting a lawsuit by Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, to force the Texas Department of Public Safety to release body camera video, radio transmissions and other evidence from the May 24 shooting.

She told the court on Thursday that releasing the information could traumatize the victims’ families.

Busbee also revealed she is reviewing officers’ actions at the school and is worried a public release could harm any investigation.

“(Those under investigation) would start to lawyer up,” Busbee said during the live-streamed hearing. “If a re-interview was needed, their stories might change because they’re trying to protect their own interests at that time.”

Gutierrez disagreed.

“It’s astounding to me that she would say those victims would be re-traumatized by getting this information,” Gutierrez said. “There’s not a family out there that’s told me they don’t want information. I don’t want any imagery of children in the classroom. I want to know why DPS troopers were milling around like it was a Sunday afternoon.”

DPS Director Steven McCraw also testified. He revealed there were at least 34 body-worn cameras at the school that day.

Both McCraw and Busbee said they had not yet reviewed all of the video evidence.

McCraw said all officers will undergo criminal scrutiny by Busbee’s office.

“The law enforcement response was an abject failure, and I believe that when one fails, we all fail, plain and simple,” McCraw said.

An attorney for the victims’ families told the court that publicly releasing the information could help those families decide whether to file civil lawsuits before the statute of limitations runs out.

Judge Catherine Mauzy could rule as soon as next week.

KHOU 11 News is part of a coalition of local, national and state media also filing suit, asking a judge to order DPS to release records.

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