This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — A week after a deadly elementary school shooting killed 21 people, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a disaster declaration for the community of Uvalde.
By issuing a state of disaster for the town, a news release from the governor’s office stated this “will accelerate all available state and local resources to assist the Uvalde community, as well as suspend regulations that would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the aftermath of the tragic shooting.”
For example, the Texas Division of Emergency Management can now keep running a family resource center set up last week at the Uvalde County Fairplex, which helps to connect victims’ families with mental health services and other resources.
“The community of Uvalde has been left devastated by last week’s senseless act of violence at Robb Elementary School and should not have to encounter any difficulty in receiving the support needed to heal,” Abbott said. “This disaster declaration frees up the many resources available through the State of Texas and local jurisdictions to continue providing much needed support to all who were impacted and work in the community unencumbered by regulations unnecessary to respond to this tragedy. All of Texas stands with Uvalde, and we are prepared to provide support through all available means.”
Loved ones began holding funerals this week for some of the 19 children and two adults slain in the school on May 24.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced over the weekend that it would review the law enforcement response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School, which experts saw as an unusual federal look back prompted by questions about the shifting, contradictory information from authorities that have enraged a community in shock and sorrow.
During a briefing at the end of last week, Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the commander at the scene — Pete Arredondo — made the “wrong decision” not to breach a classroom sooner, believing the gunman was barricaded inside and children weren’t at risk. McCraw said at least 19 officers waited more than an hour to get inside the classroom after following the 18-year-old shooter into the school building. He said they finally used a janitor’s keys to gain access to the room and kill the gunman.
Abbott previously said “all options are on the table” when asked if he has considered calling a special legislative session in the shooting’s aftermath. On Saturday, the Texas Senate Democratic Caucus sent a letter to the governor, urging him to call a special session to address gun violence.