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.
AUSTIN (Nexstar) — A Texas House committee tasked with reviewing the circumstances surrounding the Uvalde school shooting met again Monday in an hours-long hearing, once again behind closed doors.
During opening remarks before moving into a closed, executive session for witness examination, the committee chair Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, acknowledged the public’s anticipation for answers.
“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. “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.”
The committee could have a preliminary report on the shooting as soon as this weekend, a staffer from Burrows’ office told KXAN.
If released this week, the report would come amid mounting questions about law enforcement’s response to the gunman, who was alone in a classroom for more than an hour on May 24 when he was able to kill 19 children and two teachers.
Monday’s witnesses include Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco and ALERRT Assistant Director John Curnutt, according to Burrows’ office. Both Nolasco and Curnutt are testifying remotely, via Zoom.
Burrows also acknowledged the future release of a 77-minute hallway video from inside Robb Elementary School. Last week, the chairman tweeted he has requested to release that video to the public. In a letter responding to Burrows’ request, the Texas Department of Public Safety said it supports the release of that footage, but said it cannot, citing the Uvalde County District Attorney.
“It’s very different to see it for yourself, and we think that’s very important. We will continue to put pressure on the situation and consider all options and making sure that video gets out for the public to view,” Burrows said in opening remarks on Monday.
If and when it is released, the video would give the public one of the clearest pictures of exactly how law enforcement responded to the shooting, giving a better idea of what they did and did not do during those 77 minutes when the gunman was in the classroom alone.
KXAN put in a public information request to obtain the hallway video. DPS denied the request, citing the fact the investigation is ongoing. DPS said in a response letter to our request it “believes the responsive records are exempted from required public disclosure at least until the investigation is complete.”
Burrows said the footage from the hallway camera is not violent nor graphic and does not contain audio.
Late last month, the house committee heard from Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo in private. He was escorted into the chamber through a back door, out of public view, and also took no questions from reporters after his testimony.
The investigative committee was created in early June. Representatives Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, and Joe Moody, D-El Paso, as well as the Honorable Eva Guzman, a former Texas Supreme Court justice who recently ran against Attorney General Ken Paxton, were appointed to the committee.
Monday’s hearing started at 9 a.m. A live stream was be provided on the Texas House website but the majority of the meeting occurred in a private, executive session.