Uvalde under surveillance: what we know about the key figures related to the response to fire

Title: Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (appointed by Governor Greg Abbott)

His connection to the massacre: McCraw heads the state agency charged with investigating law enforcement’s response to the Uvalde shooting. His agency includes the Texas Rangers, an investigative branch of the Texas DPS.

McCraw called the police response “a dismal failure and contrary to everything we have learned in the two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

He identified the incident commander as the school district police chief and criticized the chief’s decision not to immediately break into the classroom door. Officers waited in or around a hallway for more than an hour after the shooting began.

“It was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said. “There is no excuse for this.”

Why he is under surveillance: The Mayor of Uvalde criticized McCraw for blaming the Uvalde Schools Police Chief when officers from McCraw’s own agency were also on the scene.

DPS did not directly respond to McLaughlin’s criticism of McCraw. In a July 5 statement, the DPS said it was “committed to working with multiple law enforcement agencies to get the answers we are all looking for” and said “it’s always about a very active and ongoing investigation”.

The 376 responders came from a range of agencies, according to a Texas House Investigative Committee report. Of them, 149 belonged to the US Border Patrol, 91 to the Texas Department of Public Safety and 14 to the Department of Homeland Security.

“Every agency in that hallway will have to share the blame,” McLaughlin, the mayor, told CNN on July 5.

A changing schedule for the arrival of DPS personnel on the scene raises serious questions about the department’s reliability, the head of Texas’ largest police union told CNN. He called on an “independent outside source” to probe the initial response.

“I don’t know if we can trust (DPS) to conduct an internal investigation,” said Charley Wilkison, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which represents some law enforcement officers in Uvalde. “I would say that DPS was quick to wash their hands, point fingers and make sure the general public, especially elected officials, knew they were spotless, above reproach and that this was ‘a local problem.’

The last: While in June the DPS director called the response an “abject failure,” a DPS soldier was on the scene outside Robb Elementary just 2 minutes and 28 seconds after the shooter entered, CNN was the first to report on August 2. The soldier was seen on police body camera video provided to CNN by McLaughlin.

Earlier, McCraw said a soldier entered the hallway at 11:42 a.m., nine minutes after the shooter entered the school. Uvalde police body camera video, first reported by CNN, showed a DPS soldier at the school’s west entrance at 11:37:51 a.m. — about five minutes earlier than expected .

The DPS investigation into the shooting will include an internal review of the actions taken by each DPS officer at the scene to determine whether any of them should be referred to an inspector general for investigation, McCraw said Aug. 4. The DPS director said he has yet to review video from all 34 body cameras – noting that he may need to correct that number in the future – but he has seen snippets of it.

McCraw will not publicly release any details of the investigation, as requested by an Uvalde County prosecutor, he said, noting the case could take years.

Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis/Getty Images