UVALDE, Texas — Frustrated and angry are two of many words that described Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin at the end of Tuesday's city council meeting.
He addressed a room full of community members and media, saying he's received little to no information on how the Uvalde school shooting investigation is unfolding, despite law enforcement agencies saying he and city leaders would be briefed daily.
The comments came after McLaughlin released an emailed statement earlier in the day saying the city has been told not to release any records related to the district attorney's investigation and information that has been released has not come from the city.
"We are just in the dark like you are and we are tired of it," McLaughlin said.
The mayor said four agencies have control of all the surveillance and body camera videos related to the tragic mass shooting on May 24:
- Uvalde District Attorney's Office
- Texas Department of Public Safety
- State legislature
McLaughlin said he and other city leaders have not been told anything about the investigation since May 25, a day after the shooting that took the lives of 21 people.
Since then, he said he has listened to several press conferences from Texas DPS officials where they either "lied" or "mislead" the public to protect their own.
McLaughlin said there is an agenda in place and "it's not to present a full report," which is why he is demanding transparency for his community.
"The gloves are off," he said. "As we know it (information about the investigation), we will share it. We are not going to hold back anymore."
McLaughlin said he and his team thought they were doing the right thing by not releasing information to the public due to the formal investigation, but that's going to change.
"They can go to Austin and have public deals and talk about it and different things and not share a damn thing with this city or anybody in this community and that's wrong," he said.
Watch the full statement from McLaughlin below:
During a special hearing Tuesday into the investigation of the Uvalde school shooting, Texas DPS said police officers with rifles stood and waited in a hallway for over an hour before they finally stormed the classroom and killed the gunman, putting an end to the attack that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
DPS Director Col. Steve McCraw said officers never checked a classroom door to see if it was locked. As it turned out, the classroom door could not be locked from the inside.
“I have great reasons to believe it was never secured,” McCraw said of the door. ”How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”
The public safety chief presented a timeline that said three officers with two rifles entered the building less than three minutes after the gunman, an 18-year-old with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. Several more officers entered minutes after that.
The decision by police to hold back went against much of what law enforcement has learned in the past two decades since the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado that left 13 dead in 1999, McCraw said.
“You don’t wait for a SWAT team. You have one officer, that’s enough,” he said. He also said officers did not need to wait for shields to enter the classroom. The first shield arrived less than 20 minutes after the shooter entered, according to McCraw.
Also, eight minutes after the shooter entered, an officer reported that police had a “hooligan” crowbar that they could use to break down the classroom door, McCraw said.