UVALDE, Texas — State Sen. Roland Gutierrez was emotional on Saturday as he visited the memorial site of the 21 victims of the Uvalde elementary school shooting and talked by phone to the victims’ families.
He promised them help.
"How can we ask the people that have lost a 9-year-old boy or girl to bury their children and go back to work next week," Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, said.
And he promised a thorough investigation.
"As far as the DPS investigation. I have asked for quickness and transparency. I want to know when each and every officer showed up," said Gutierrez.
Gutierrez says it wasn’t just local police who failed to go inside the classrooms as the shooter continued to fire for more than an hour.
He says at least two Texas Department of Public Safety troopers were among the 19 who stood in the hallway while children and teachers called 911 for help.
”We are a state agency with equipment with shields with anything necessary at what point does the next level of superior manpower and ammo take operational control. Those are the questions I need answered," he said.
Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) is asking for congressional hearings and for the FBI to take over the investigation.
”You have to be careful about the state government coming in and blaming the local people right away. There were also DPS troopers who were part of that group of law enforcement who also made a decision to not go in and confront the shooter,” said Castro.
Castro says he is also asking congressional leaders from both parties to begin working on gun control laws like universal background checks and raising the age limit of who can buy assault rifles.
The gunman in this case bought an AR-15 on his 18th birthday and a second one just days later.
"If they are saying, 'hey I don’t agree with this or that on guns' then let's start with the things people agree on. Let’s do the easy stuff first," said Castro.
Gutierrez wants Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session to talk about gun violence. And he’s asked the governor for $2 million to help the mental health clinic in Uvalde that only has one therapist.
"They need psychologist. They need therapists It’s a problem in all of rural Texas that needs to be addressed right now," said Gutierrez.
Gov. Abbott on Friday pledged state resources to help the families and said he was livid about the police response and being misled about the initial information that came out. He says he, too, wants answers.