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Uvalde under the microscope: What we know about the key figures in connection with the shooting response

Written by Javed Iqbal

Title: Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (appointed by Governor Greg Abbott)

His connection to the massacre: McCraw heads the state agency investigating the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde. His agency includes the Texas Rangers, an investigative branch of the Texas DPS.

McCraw called the police response “a profound failure and contrary to everything we’ve learned over the past two decades since the Columbine massacre.”

He identified the incident commander as the school district’s police chief and slammed the boss’s decision not to immediately break down the classroom door. Officers waited in or around one time for more than an hour after the shooting began.

“It was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said. “There is no excuse for that.”

Why he is under scrutiny: Uvalde’s mayor criticized McCraw for pointing the blame at the Uvalde school police chief when officers from McCraw’s own agency were also on the scene.

DPS did not directly address McLaughlin’s criticism of McCraw. In a statement on July 5, DPS said it is “committed to working with multiple law enforcement agencies to get the answers we all seek” and said “this is still very much an active and ongoing investigation.”

The 376 respondents came from a number of agencies, according to a Texas House Investigative Committee Report. Among them were 149 from the US Border Patrol, 91 from the Texas Department of Public Safety and 14 from the Department of Homeland Security.

“Every agency in that corridor will have to share the blame,” McLaughlin, the mayor, told CNN on 5 July.

A shifting timeline of when DPS personnel arrived on the scene raises serious questions about the department’s credibility, the head of the largest police union in Texas told CNN. He has called for an “independent independent source” to investigate the initial response.

“I don’t know that we can trust (DPS) to do an internal investigation,” said Charley Wilkison, executive director of the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which represents some law enforcement officers in Uvalde. “I will say that DPS was quick to wash their hands, point fingers, and make sure the general public, especially the elected officials, knew they were clean, blameless, and that this was a local issue.”

The latest: While the DPS director in June called the response an “awful failure,” a DPS trooper was on the scene outside Robb Elementary just 2 minutes and 28 seconds after the gunman entered, CNN was the first to report on Aug. 2 . seen on police bodycam video provided to CNN by McLaughlin.

Earlier, McCraw said a trooper had entered the hallway at 11:42, or nine minutes after the shooter entered the school. Uvalde police bodycam video, first reported by CNN, showed a DPS trooper at the school’s west entrance at 11:37:51 a.m. — about five minutes earlier than previously acknowledged.

DPS’ investigation into the shooting will include a internal review of the actions taken by each DPS officer on the scene to determine whether someone should be referred to an inspector general for investigation, McCraw said on Aug. 4. The DPS director said he had not yet reviewed video from all 34 body cameras — and noted he may have to correct that number in the future — but he had seen footage.

McCraw would not publicly release any details of the probe in accordance with a Uvalde County district attorney’s request, he said, noting the case could take years.

Photo: Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis/Getty Images

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Javed Iqbal

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