AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The city of Uvalde sued the local prosecutor’s office Thursday seeking access to records and other investigative materials on the May shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead, a move that highlights ongoing tensions over the slow police response and information flow on the rampage.
The lawsuit filed in Uvalde County against District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee says the lack of access on the May 24 massacre is affecting an independent investigator’s ability to look for policy violations by local responding officers and determine whether internal disciplinary actions are needed. Busbee is conducting a criminal investigation into the shooting, which will include examining a report she is awaiting from the Texas Department of Public Safety. The state’s police chief said it would come by the end of the year.
“The Uvalde community has waited entirely too long for answers and transparency with regard to the Robb Elementary shooting incident,” Uvalde city officials said in a statement.
An employee at the Uvalde District Attorney’s Office declined to comment Thursday when reached by phone.
The only information that has been available to an independent investigation agency for the city’s review is from city witnesses, “much of which was provided to the City subject to a non-disclosure agreement and criminal investigation privilege,” the lawsuit says. Busbee has cited the criminal investigation — which she told city officials would be done by November — when asked for additional records, the lawsuit says.
The independent investigator, Jesse Prado, would be subject to a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement if provided the information, which the lawsuit says has already been handed over to other agencies conducting similar reviews and would not be available to anyone from the city, according to a statement by city officials.
Nearly 400 law enforcement officials rushed to the school the day of the shooting, according to a legislative investigate report, but all of them waited more than 70 minutes to enter a fourth-grade classroom to confront the gunman.
Two officers have been fired because of their actions at the scene and others have resigned or been placed on leave. In October, Col. Steve McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, acknowledged mistakes by officers when confronted for the first time by families of the Uvalde victims over false and shifting accounts from law enforcement and lack of transparency in the available information. McCraw defended his agency, and said they “did not fail” Uvalde.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin has previously lashed out at the response to the shooting by state officers and expressed frustration at the lack of information available regarding one of the worst school shootings in state history.
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