AUSTIN, TX– Texas Governor Greg Abbott said again on Thursday that he was initially misled about the police response to the Uvalde school massacre, calling the newly leaked video of the incident “shocking”. officers hesitating for over an hour and not what he was told when he originally hired the officers. for a quick and courageous confrontation.
“None of the information in this video was shared with me that day,” Abbott told reporters in Houston when asked about his reaction to the video released this week. “And so it was shocking.”
Multiple inaccurate and contradictory statements made by officials since the May 24 tragedy at Robb Elementary School have deepened grief and anger over a gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers. Seven weeks later, there remains an incomplete account of why heavily armed police waited so long to act and who was responsible.
A nearly 80-minute school surveillance video released this week by the Austin American-Statesman highlighted the baffling inaction of law enforcement as the massacre unfolded. Abbott said Thursday it was “disgusting to see what happened.”
A day after the attack, Abbott praised the police, saying at the time that the officers “showed incredible courage in running towards the shots” and that it was “a fact that through their rapid response”, lives had been saved. Two days later, Abbott said he had been misled at an initial briefing and was “livid”.
Abbott did not specify who provided the misinformation. Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said in an email on Thursday that it came from a briefing during which “various accounts were turned” by a law enforcement room and officials. His office did not provide names.
At a Uvalde City Council meeting in June, Mayor Don McLaughlin said the briefing that preceded Abbott’s inaccurate remarks was given by Victor Escalon, a regional commander with the Texas Department of Public Safety. . McLaughlin has been increasingly critical of state police since the shooting, accusing DPS leaders of downplaying their own soldiers’ involvement and blaming local officers.
Department officials do not dispute that Escalon conducted the briefing, but said it was based on information provided by local law enforcement. Agency spokesman Travis Considine said those in the room included McLaughlin, Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo and Uvalde Police officials, from the local sheriff’s department and border patrol. All “were present at the briefing and had the opportunity to clarify anything they felt was inaccurate,” Considine said in an email Thursday.
Considine said it wasn’t until the Texas Rangers, a division of the Department of Public Safety, began their investigation that discrepancies emerged.
A commission of inquiry led by Texas lawmakers is set to release its findings on Sunday into the slow response from law enforcement after interviewing more than 40 witnesses over the past few weeks. The US Department of Justice and the Texas Rangers have also launched separate investigations which are ongoing.
“The families of the victims deserve to know what happened. And they will know what happened,” Abbott said.
Associated Press writer Jake Bleiberg in Dallas contributed to this report.