SAN ANTONIO — Gov. Greg Abbott spent nearly three hours at a fundraiser after the shooting at Robb Elementary, according to flight records first obtained by the Dallas Morning News.
A day after the tragedy, Abbott told reporters he stopped at the event on the way from a wildfire in Abilene to Austin "and let people know I could not stay - that I needed to go."
"I wanted them to know what happened and get back to Austin so I could continue my collaboration with Texas law enforcement to make sure all the needs were being met in the Uvalde area," he continued.
But Abbott remained at the event for nearly three hours. The dinner took place in Huntsville, which is more than 150 miles east of the state's capital.
Abbott departed Abilene for Huntsville in a private plane loaned to his campaign at 4:11 p.m. At the time, KENS 5 reported at least 14 people were dead inside the school.
Abbot's plane landed at 4:52 p.m. The governor did not depart Huntsville for Austin until 7:47 p.m.
In an exclusive interview with KENS 5 Friday, Abbott defended the move. He said he wanted to let the event's attendees "know what was going on in Uvalde, and then I took questions about that."
"I was in contact constantly with either my office or the Texas Department of Public Safety, making sure we were getting all the information that needed to be obtained," he continued.
Abbott added that his campaign shut down after the shooting. His staff did not resume political messaging on social media until June 12.
The Dallas Morning News reported Abbott raised as much as $50,000 at the event on May 24.