AUSTIN, Texas — Behind closed doors, a Texas House committee formed by Speaker Dade Phelan met with law enforcement who responded to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
During the public remarks, which lasted about six minutes before the committee went into executive session for more than four hours, State Rep. Dustin Burrows says they’ll be hearing testimony from law enforcement over the next few weeks.
"The committee was able to have a briefing from the Department of Public Safety and a thorough examination to get us acquainted, we've begun to review the physical evidence," Rep. Burrows said during his closing remarks.
The committee is being led by Republican Rep. Burrows, Democratic Rep. Joe Moody from El Paso, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.
After the first day of the hearing, Rep. Burrows says DPS was 'open' with them during their discussions but didn't provide much detail about what they discussed.
"I don't want to be part of the problem by giving a real-time accounting until we can be accurate and make sure we have a full, complete representation," Rep. Burrows said he felt they had a good opportunity to have a good examination of the facts surrounding the shooting.
Rep. Burrows said because of the quasi-judicial nature of the investigation, most of the testimony will be given in executive session.
The first witnesses giving remarks include Texas Department of Public Safety's director Steven McCraw, who last week stated the Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo was the incident commander responding to the shooting.
It was later revealed law enforcement waited for an hour outside the Robb Elementary school classroom before confronting the gunman. McCraw called that "the wrong decision, period."
“Our children’s lives are on the line—that’s why this committee is so important,” Rep. Moody stated. The representative said he sat in an El Paso town hall where the community is still recovering from a mass shooting at a Walmart there in 2019 where 23 people were killed.
“When the issues are complex and the stakes this high, we need facts first. We can’t develop sound policies on the conflicting reports we have, especially when some of them are agenda-driven narratives,” Rep. Moody said.
It’s not clear when a report of their findings could be issued, but Rep. Moody states they may produce a preliminary report to give some information to the public before their investigation is complete.
The committee will be meeting with additional witnesses next week although it's not clear if those witnesses are just law enforcement.