Texas state senator sues Department of Public Safety for access to Uvalde records

A state senator who represents Uvalde, Texas, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety, seeking access to the agency’s records on its thorough investigation into the police response to last month’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) accuses the DPS, the state’s top law enforcement agency, of illegally denying his requests for records.

“From the outset, the response to this terrible gun tragedy has been replete with misinformation and outright lies by our government,” Gutierrez said in the eight-page lawsuit, filed in US state court. Travis County, in the state capital, Austin.

DPS officials did not immediately respond to an ABC News request for comment.

On Tuesday, DPS Director Steven McCraw testified for more than three hours before a state Senate panel investigating the police response to the massacre that killed 19 and two teachers. He said the investigation determined that the law enforcement response led by the local school district police chief was a “dismal failure.”

Enough officers and equipment had arrived on the scene within three minutes to “neutralize” the shooter, McCraw said, but instead officers did not force open the door to the classroom containing the shooter for one hour and 14 minutes.

McCraw’s testimony marked the first time in nearly four weeks that anyone in law enforcement has publicly exposed the details of the various investigations into the mass shooting, investigations that examine everything from the killer’s motives and the planning to police actions that directly contradict the first response protocols that warrant officers rush to protect civilians from an active shooter.

Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents the district where Uvalde is located, asks questions of Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw during the hearing of the Texas Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans regarding the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas on the first day of the hearing, June 21, 2022, at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas.

Sara Diggins/American Statesman via USA Today Network

For weeks, all official information was presented only behind closed doors, and law enforcement officials did not respond to requests for information from victims’ families and the media.

According to the lawsuit, Gutierrez filed his request for public records on May 31 but has yet to receive a response. Texas state law requires a response to requests for registration within 10 days, or seeking a decision from the attorney general, depending on the complaint.

At Tuesday’s Senate hearing, Gutierrez made an impassioned plea for “common sense gun solutions” and for the ongoing investigation to be brought to light.

“We live in a democracy. In a democracy, things have to be transparent,” he said. “As for laws and things, which we must change.”

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