AUSTIN (KXAN) — Members of the Texas House committee investigating the May 24 massacre will release their initial findings and video from the hallway of Robb Elementary School to the community, and then to the public Sunday.
Here’s how we got here, and what you can expect to be released:
Back and forth over video release
District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee first instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety not to release the video from inside Robb Elementary, according to a letter DPS sent to the committee chair, Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock).
Advocates of the video release said it would help show what officers did for more than an hour while they waited to confront the shooter who was inside conjoined classrooms. A timeline of the shooting can be found here.
July 11: Texas lawmakers announce video, report release plan
On Monday, Burrows announced a committee’s plan to release hallway video from Robb Elementary, first to the community and then to the media and public. That process was scheduled for Sunday. It would be paired with the committee releasing its initial findings.
“We feel strongly that members of the Uvalde community should have the opportunity to see the video and hear from us before they are made public,” Burrows said then.
It was the same day the committee, which has been tasked with reviewing the circumstances surrounding the shooting, met in an hours-long, closed door meeting.
“There needs to be a balance between getting some information out to the families, to Uvalde and to the public and also being thorough and accurate,” he said Monday. “We will continue to look today to see if we have enough information to get at least a preliminary report out there sooner than later so that people can start getting some information and seeing what it is that we are discovering.”
July 12: Video leaked to the Austin American-Statesman
The full 77-minute leaked video was released by the Austin American-Statesman a day after Burrows announced the committee’s release plan. It included video from the hallway, outside the school and body camera video.
After the video was published, Burrows wrote on social media: “The committee is aware a portion of the hallway video has been made public. While I am glad that a small portion is now available for the public, I do believe watching the entire segment of law enforcement’s response, or lack thereof, is also important.”
He wrote on Twitter after the leak he was “disappointed” the families could not see the video first. A source close to the committee said the video it intended to release this weekend was “clean, unedited” hallway video without audio that lasted 77 minutes.
July 13: Rep. Moody identifies officer in video
The video shows one of the officers checking his phone, an image that was picked up by people on social media and some news outlets. Texas State Rep. Joe Moody identified him as married to teacher Eva Mireles, who contacted him from her classroom after she had been shot.
Rep. Joe Moody highlighted a New York Post article that called out the officer as checking his phone and shared this response on Twitter:
“I’d not planned to speak publicly until the report was released, but I couldn’t say nothing seeing this man, who’s lost everything, maligned as if he was indifferent or actively malicious. Context matters.”
He continued, “To those who haven’t bothered to read even the news that’s been reported in your rush to judgment, he attempted to engage but was removed from the building and disarmed. We’ll have much to say about the police response, but no criticism of this officer.”
Reactions pour in from families of victims, community and law enforcement agencies
After the video was released online, reactions came flooding in. From law enforcement agencies and former law enforcement officers, from family members of victims and from people around the country. You can find a list of them here:
- Father who lost only child in Uvalde shooting reacts to leaked surveillance video
- TMPA: Leaked Uvalde video still doesn’t tell full story
- Q&A: School security expert responds to leaked Uvalde hallway video
- Columbine lessons ignored in Uvalde, former Austin police chief says
Alfred Garza III, the father of Amerie Jo, said the release of the video caught him off guard and did upset him, since he was expecting a private viewing with other families on Sunday before it was publicly released.
“It’s a double-edged sword,” Garza said. “I was anticipating for stuff like this to happen. I kind of hate it, that bits and pieces are coming out, because I would like to see the puzzle as a whole without pieces missing. Because when stuff like this comes out, kind of everybody draws their own conclusions as to why this happened.”
Meanwhile, Kevin Lawrence, the executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association, said the school shooting video leaked to and published by the Austin American-Statesman doesn’t answer a pivotal question.
“When [officers] start drawing fire, they retreat. You see them retreat, and they lose momentum at that point,” said Lawrence. “What the video and the ALERRT report can’t provide us is the why. Exactly what was the rationale, the decision-making process? Was there a decision-making process at all? Or was it just chaos? All that’s going to have to play out through statements and interviews, and so on and so forth with everybody involved.”