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KIII joins media coalition seeking greater transparency from Uvalde city officials

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin got a letter from KIII's parent company TEGNA and a media coalition seeking more information about the shooting that killed 21.

UVALDE, Texas — A six-paragraph letter outlines options for the city of Uvalde to release more information about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24.

KIII's parent company TEGNA joins a media coalition of local and national media trying to gain more insight into the multi-casualty incident and the response by city and state officials.

Nineteen elementary school students died and two teachers at the hands of a gunman who had more than an hour to kill the victims.

The letter, sent to Mayor Don McLaughlin, is a request and not a lawsuit or list of demands.

"We share your commitment to ensuring that all facts about this incident come to light," the letter said. "We also share the concerns you recently expressed regarding the limited information that has emerged so far and your desire to present the public with a more comprehensive portrait of events on that day."

KIII and the media coalition are trying to answer the cries of the Uvalde community for additional layers of information to get to the truth. Historically, law enforcement agencies have withheld information during an investigation until its conclusion. In recent years, as indicated in the letter to McLaughlin, agencies have become more transparent and released pieces of information to inform the public better.

"We write to make you aware of provisions in the law that allow yourself and other City of Uvalde officials to release additional information to public," the letter said. "The Texas Public Information Act does not require City officials to await the conclusion or any state or federal investigation in order to make information public."

The letter quotes Berlinda Irene Arreola, the grandmother of Robb Elementary victim Amerie Jo Garza: "We need to get down to the bottom of everything that has happened and find out the truth."

In an interview with our sister station KENS 5 following the Robb Elementary tragedy, Dan Jewiss, the lead detective for the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, said investigators have to understand what happened. They also have to prepare this case for the public.

"At the forefront of everything that they're doing is what is best for the victims and the victims' families," Jewiss said.

Right after the May 24 shooting, Uvalde and Sandy Hook got compared. Twenty children and six adults got killed in the December 2012 mass killing by a lone gunman.

Jewiss said Connecticut investigators consulted with a psychologist who told them how crucial it was to keep the families informed early on.

"Because if we don't, their mind will actually fill in possibly worse things than we could provide," Jewiss said.

The media coalition includes CBS, NBC, CNN, and ABC news. It also includes Heart Newspapers like the San Antonio Express-News. The Dallas Morning News, New York Times, the Texas Tribune, Univision, and The Wall Street Journal is also in the coalition.

At least 11 TEGNA media properties are a part of the coalition including KIII-TV, KENS-TV in San Antonio, WFAA-TV in Dallas, KHOU-TV in Houston, and KVUE-TV in Austin. 

See the full letter below: 

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