AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, KXAN received a copy of a letter sent to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from a law firm representing the city of Uvalde. The letter was regarding the distribution of information from open records requests made surrounding the May 24 mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
In the letter, the law firm, Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal & Zech, P.C., requested Paxton decide if the requested information is exempt from disclosure under the Public Information Act.
The law firm said the city of Uvalde claimed, “the requested information is not information that is collected, assembled or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by a governmental body or for a governmental body or is excepted from disclosure.”
KXAN requested the 911 recordings and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) report, as well as 911 transcriptions of calls made surrounding the shooting.
On Thursday, the law firm responded to KXAN acknowledging the open records request, but the requested information was not provided — only an explanation and copy of the letter sent to Paxton were given.
After the school shooting and the gunman’s death in Uvalde, some transparency advocates worried police may try to use Texas’ “Dead Suspect Loophole” to keep significant details about what really happened away from the public and even victims’ families.
For years, KXAN investigators have explored Texas law enforcement’s widespread use of the open records measure known as the “Dead Suspect Loophole.” Lawmakers have repeatedly sought to close the loophole, which allows police to withhold information in closed criminal cases that don’t go through the court process — even when a suspect dies in police custody.
In the letter to Paxton, the law firm made a list of 52 items it believed should be excluded from open records requests surrounding the school shooting.