Uvalde DA makes rare comments on investigation
Written by Samira Said and Laura Romero ABC News on July 2, 2022
(UVALDE, Texas) — The district attorney investigating the May 24 massacre that killed two teachers and 19 students in Uvalde, Texas, revealed Friday that she has been meeting with the families of victims to update them on the ongoing investigation.
“We’re trying to make sure that they’re getting the resources that they need,” District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee, the top prosecutor in Uvalde, said in an interview at her downtown office. “And then I am telling them where I am in the investigation, and so those conversations have been ongoing.”
Busbee declined to tell ABC News which families she has spoken with and did not provide an update on the investigation of the shooting. Her comments came the day after some in the public tore into the DA and other leaders for keeping them in the dark about the ongoing probe into the Robb Elementary School shooting.
“I want the Texas Rangers and the FBI to have time to do their job to give me a complete and thorough investigation,” Busbee told ABC News. “This is a very complicated matter and so I’m allowing them time to do their job. And once the investigation is complete it will be submitted to me and then I will do my job.”
Police have said the shooter was killed by law enforcement, but the ongoing investigation is looking at, among other things, any communications the killer might have had prior to the massacre and the bungled response of police who, authorities have said, did not follow proper procedures in waiting over an hour to stop the rampage.
Complaints about Busbee and other agencies were at times impassioned during a special city council meeting Thursday evening.
“Come here, show your face,” said Tina Quintanilla-Taylor, whose daughter survived the shooting. “We’re here showing our face because we lost somebody or somebody’s suffering. Enough is enough.”
“We have questions,” Quintanilla-Taylor added. “We want answers. We demand answers. We’re not here just to sit around, we are demanding answers. Show your face, answer our questions.”
“No one should have much power,” Irma Garcia’s sister, Velma Lisa Duran, said of the district attorney at the meeting.
In response to the accusation by families of victims that she is covering for the police who are currently under investigation for their response to the shooting, Busbee told ABC News that she is going to put out a statement “at some point.”
As she continued during the interview, Busbee said, “I would hope that everybody in this community knows that if…” and then she paused out of concern she was about to say too much.
“I’m going to stop right there because I’m getting into the things that I’m going to put in a written statement at some point,” Busbee added.
The families complained the district attorney has dodged their questions and has refused to release evidence including 911 calls and surveillance footage. During the council meeting, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin showed a letter from Busbee, explaining that the DA formally instructed city officials that “any release of records to that incident at this time would interfere with said ongoing investigation.”
“All questions relating to body cam videos and other Robb Elementary School investigative records should be directed to the Uvalde County District Attorney and the Texas Department of Public Safety/Texas Rangers,” McLaughlin said in a statement released last week.
“Anyone who suggests the City of Uvalde is withholding information without legitimate and legal reasons is wrong and is spreading misinformation,” the statement said. “There are specific legal reasons the City cannot release information at this time.”
Busbee declined to comment on whether McLaughlin has been briefed on the investigation.
Uvalde:365 is a continuing ABC News series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it forges on in the shadow of tragedy.
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