AUSTIN, Texas — A three-person committee from the Texas House investigating the May 24 shooting in Uvalde held a hearing on the tragedy Thursday.
House Speaker Dade Phelan established the committee, consisting of Rep. Dustin Burrows, Rep. Joe Moody and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, on June 3. Committee members will examine evidence from the shooting and hold discussions with Texas Department of Public Safety members.
On Thursday, the House committee heard from law enforcement officials, including the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Interviews with DPS officials were conducted in private.
No decisions were made on Thursday and the committee will begin examining physical evidence from the Robb Elementary school shooting.
The committee began the day by saying they would do everything in their power to get the answers Uvalde and the families of the victims of the school shooting, deserve. The chair of the committee, Rep. Burrows, said he acknowledged the public's interest in the instigation. He said it was their goal to have a non-partisan investigation and to work as quickly, but as thoroughly, as possible.
Their vice chair, Rep. Moody, shared his feelings on gun violence – reminiscing on when the columbine school shooting happened when he was in high school, and how that affected him.
"Failing to tackle these issues because they're difficult or politically uncomfortable is cowardly and morally wrong. We have a duty to do what we can because our children's ... our children's lives are on the line," he said.
The testimonies from the DPS are intended to determine the facts and circumstances surrounding the school shooting. DPS Director Steven McCraw was one official who testified. Days after the shooting, McCraw said "wrong decisions" were made by law enforcement who responded to the incident.
There is no timeline on when the investigation will be completed. The investigative committee will meet again next week to continue the interviews.
“The fact we still do not have an accurate picture of what exactly happened in Uvalde is an outrage,” Phelan previously said in a statement. “Every day, we receive new information that conflicts with previous reports, making it not only difficult for authorities to figure out next steps, but for the grieving families of the victims to receive closure. I established this investigative committee for the dedicated purpose of gathering as much information and evidence as possible to help inform the House’s response to this tragedy and deliver desperately needed answers to the people of Uvalde and the State of Texas.”
The committee is allowed to subpoena as well as "conduct depositions and initiate discovery," a June 3 press release said, and their meetings will be held away from the public eye during the executive session.
The Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, leaving 21 people dead and others injured.
Law enforcement has received backlash for their actions that day, including waiting for an extended period of time before entering the classroom where the shooter was located. In a May 27 conference, McCraw said officers believed they were dealing with a barricaded individual rather than an active shooter.
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