AUSTIN, Texas — As the investigation into last month's deadly mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school continues, we're learning more about how clued in Gov. Greg Abbott was about law enforcement's response.
After a briefing by area law enforcement and others involved with the investigation, Abbott went on camera the day after the shooting to praise officers for their prompt response in engaging and killing the gunman.
Later, it would be revealed that the shooter was barricaded for more than 70 minutes while several trapped students called 911 for help.
KVUE's news partners at the Austin American-Statesman report that according to several people in the briefing room behind the stage where Abbott held his news conference, as well as Abbott's own handwritten notes, the governor was not told about the delay in engaging the gunman.
In his notes, Abbott did not record a rush to confront and kill the shooter, the Statesman reports.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) and two other people who took part in Abbott's pre-news conference briefing told the Statesman that the briefing was conducted by three members of law enforcement. The first was a Uvalde police officer "who, overcome, could not finish his presentation and required medical attention." Another was Pete Arredondo, the Uvalde school district's police chief, and the third was Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The Statesman reports that multiple participants said Escalon provided the most extensive briefing to Abbott, including that Uvalde officers had "engaged" the gunman. DPS officials told the Statesman that Escalon received that preliminary information from Arredondo and acknowledged that the report to Abbott was based on Arredondo's statements alone.
Arredondo did not mention the delay during the briefing or in his conversation with Escalon, sources told the Statesman.
Renae Eze, spokesperson for Abbott, said the governor's words and notes reflected the details presented to him during the briefing.
"And as the governor has also said, he is livid that he was misled about the actual response to the shooting, as different accounts were spun during the briefing," Eze said in a written statement to the Statesman. "The investigations being conducted by the Texas Rangers and the FBI are ongoing, and we look forward to the full results being shared with the victims' families and the public, who deserve the full truth of what happened that tragic day."
To learn more, read the Statesman's full report.
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