Uvalde, Texas, mayor alleges shooting investigation 'cover-up'

The Robb Elementary School attack in May left at least 19 students and 2 teachers dead

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The mayor of Uvalde, Texas, is now accusing state law enforcement of orchestrating a "cover-up" in the Robb Elementary School shooting investigation as questions remain as to why police didn’t engage the gunman sooner. 

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin made the remark to CNN as the Texas Department of Public Safety continues to investigate the May 24 attack, which left at least 19 students and two teachers dead. 

"I think it’s a cover-up, [Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven] McCraw is covering up for maybe his agencies or maybe he told the story he told that you know ... what do they say ‘it’s always hard when you tell a lie that you have to keep telling a lie’. I’m not saying he is lying, maybe he was misled," McLaughlin said. 

"Every agency in that hallway is going to have to share the blame," he added, referencing criticism as to why responding officers didn’t engage shooter Salvador Ramos earlier than they did. "And like I said, again I’ll go back to when have you ever seen a federal or state law enforcement officer take their cues from local law enforcement." 

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Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin speaks during a news conference held by Gov. Greg Abbott days after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin speaks during a news conference held by Gov. Greg Abbott days after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27. (Reuters)

McLaughlin also said "when I got to that scene, there were 30 to 40 DPS officers already on-scene" and that "these families in this community, they deserve to know what happened." 

McCraw said in late May that responding officers didn't immediately engage the shooter because "the on-scene commander at the time" — who he identified as Uvalde schools police chief Pete Arredondo — "believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject." 

The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, the location of a May mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers.

The Robb Elementary School sign is seen covered in flowers and gifts on June 17, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas, the location of a May mass shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

"A decision was made on the scene — I wasn’t there — that this was a barricaded subject situation, there was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject," he continued. "At that point, that was the decision, that was the thought process."  

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McCraw later said "from the benefit of hindsight from where I am sitting now, that of course it was not the right decision, it was a wrong decision, period, there was no excuse for that." 

Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S., May 24, 2022. 

Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo speaks at a press conference following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, U.S., May 24, 2022.  (Mikala Compton/USA TODAY NETWORK via REUTERS)

But Arredondo said in June that he never considered himself the incident commander on-scene.