Texas committee still trying to question Uvalde policeby Associated Press · The Columbian
UVALDE, Texas — Police in Uvalde still haven’t committed to speaking to a Texas House committee investigating the May 24 massacre at an elementary school and the law enforcement response that day, the lawmaker leading the probe said Friday.
Republican state Rep. Dustin Burrows said his committee was in conversations with the Uvalde Police Department and hoped to announce soon whether members of the force will appear as witnesses.
It came a day after comments by Burrows raised uncertainty about whether Uvalde police would cooperate, saying Thursday there was a question of whether the local officers would “visit with us voluntarily” about the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in which 19 children and two teachers were killed.
He went even further Thursday night on social media, tweeting: “Most have fully cooperated and want to help determine the facts for the Uvalde community and all Texans. Burrows said he did not understand why Uvalde police “would not want the same.”
The police department didn’t immediately reply to messages left Friday seeking comment.
Weeks after one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history, law enforcement officials have stopped providing updates about what they’ve learned about the shooting and the police response. Their silence comes after authorities gave conflicting and incorrect accounts in the days after the shooting, sometimes withdrawing statements hours after making them.
Officials also haven’t released records sought under public information laws to media outlets, including The Associated Press, often citing broad exemptions and the ongoing investigation. It has raised concerns about whether such records will be released, even to victims’ families.
The state House committee has interviewed more than a dozen witnesses behind closed doors as of Friday, including state police, school staff and school district police. The list of witnesses provided by the committee so far has not included Pete Arrendondo, the Uvalde school district police chief, who has faced criticism over his actions during the attack.
Burrows defended the committee interviewing witnesses in private and not revealing their findings so far, saying its members want an accurate account before issuing a report.
“One person’s truth may be different than another person’s truth,” Burrows said Friday.
Since the shooting, Republican leaders in Texas have called for more mental health funding but not new gun restrictions. Authorities say the 18-year-old gunman used and AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. Police did not confront he gunman for more than an hour, even as anguished parents outside the school urged officers to go in.