Texas Chief Said His Agency ‘Did Not Fail’ Uvalde in Shooting Response



  • On Thursday, families of Uvalde shooting victims called for Texas DPS chief Steve McCraw to resign.
  • But McCraw said his agency “did not fail” Uvalde in the police response to May’s shooting.
  • McCraw earlier said he would resign if the DPS had “any culpability” in the bungled response.

Texas’ state police chief on Thursday rejected calls for him to resign, saying his agency “did not fail” Uvalde in the haphazard law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary School shooting.

“If DPS as an institution, as an institution, failed the families, failed the school or failed the community of Uvalde, then absolutely, I need to go,” said Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, or DPS.

“But I can tell you this right now. DPS as an institution, right now, did not fail the community, plain and simple,” McCraw said.

He was addressing parents and relatives of the shooting victims at a Public Safety Commission hearing in Austin, where he was confronted on why police waited more than 70 minutes to enter the fourth-grade classroom to neutralize the shooter.

Two teachers and 19 children were killed during the attack.

Several family members called for McCraw to resign as they spoke emotionally on the podium. Republican state senator Roland Gutierrez, who joined the meeting, also called for McCraw to step down.

Responding to them, McCraw said he wouldn’t say that the DPS is “without fault.”

In a meandering 15-minute speech, he slammed various elements of law enforcement’s actions at the shooting — as he has repeatedly done in the past — and apologized for relaying incorrect information to the public in the aftermath of the attack.

“I don’t expect ever, ever forgiveness,” McCraw said.

McCraw told CNN last month that he would be “the first to resign” if his agency was shown to have “any culpability” in the bungled response to the shooting.

On October 21, the DPS fired Sgt. Juan Maldonado, the highest-ranking state trooper to initially respond to the Uvalde shooting, per The Texas Tribune. The sacking came after a DPS investigation into its officers’ conduct at the school.

Maldonado is the first Texas state trooper to be fired because of the shooting, The Tribune reported.

Brett Cross, the uncle of Uziyah Garcia, one of the killed children, challenged McCraw on his comment to CNN.

“Your officers were in there within 10 minutes, correct? Are they not representatives of your department? Therefore they failed, therefore DPS failed,” Cross said. “Therefore there is culpability. Therefore if you are a man of your word, you would retire.”

“Are you a man of your word?” Cross asked McCraw.

“Absolutely,” McCraw said.

“Then resign,” Cross said.

McCraw later appeared to incite further anger among the families when he told one of them: “I’m sorry for your loss.” 

“You did not just say that,” one woman in the crowd can be heard saying.

Several victims’ families also voiced their frustration with how local authorities failed to provide them with prompt and accurate information about the police response to the massacre. 

“Every single time, it seems like a lie after a lie, misinformation, a roadblock after roadblock. You can’t begin the healing process,” said Jesse Rizzo, an uncle of Jacklyn Cazares, a 10-year-old who was shot and killed in the school.

The DPS launched an internal review of its troopers’ actions in July, two months after the shooting occurred. According to a report by the Texas House, 91 state troopers were identified at the scene out of the 376 law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting.

The Texas DPS did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.



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