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'Unless you're going to indict a bunch of cops, get on with it': DPS lawsuit hearing yields frustrations

A judge will make a decision on whether to make DPS release their records. That decision is expected as early as next week.

SAN ANTONIO — A heated hearing Thursday about the Uvalde school shooting.

State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, is suing the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), saying the agency ignored his request for their records.

DPS says the Uvalde County District Attorney, Christina Mitchell Busbee, ordered them not to release information. But now, Gutierrez says the D.A. claimed that statement to be false, and instead called her directive a suggestion.

RELATED: Texas senator sues DPS for records from school shooting investigation

Both Busbee and DPS Director, Steve McCraw, were in the hot seat Thursday inside a courtroom in Travis County.

"Last week, the government tried to quash or do a protective order on Steve McCraw's testimony," said Gutierrez. "The court allowed him to testify today, as you see. So we got the witnesses we wanted."

In May, Gutierrez requested official DPS records from Uvalde, calling for details about their response in the shooting.

"What is DPS hiding?" asked Gutierrez.

His public information request isn't asking for sensitive photos or what happened behind the classroom door. Gutierrez says he asked for documents like a policy manual showing how DPS works with other agencies during an active shooter situation. 

"Who told them to go in or not go in? Who told them to wait?" said Gutierrez. "We paid for 91 officers to be on the scene and do nothing but mill around like it was a Sunday afternoon."  

Gutierrez says he never received a response to his Public Information Request. Texas law allows 10 business days for DPS to respond.

So Gutierrez filed a lawsuit. For the first time Thursday morning, he cross-examined DPS Director, Steve McCraw.

RELATED: 'All options remain on the table' | Gov. Abbott hasn't yet announced special legislative session following Uvalde shooting

"Outside of the federal government, [Texas DPS] had the most officers on the ground. They had the most officers on the ground the quickest," said Gutierrez. "91 DPS troopers were there, all from Operation Lone Star. We're taxpayers in this state and we pay for this group to be there."

In a court exhibit given to KENS 5, it shows McCraw's text message to Gutierrez that says he was ordered not to provide any information about the investigation.

When Gutierrez asked who gave the order, McCraw replied, "District Attorney".

Credit: Roland Gutierrez
Text message exchange between DPS Director Steven McCraw and State Senator Roland Gutierrez.

"She ordered him not to give that information. Now we're hearing that she's not doing the investigation, he is," said Gutierrez. "Now we're hearing that she didn't order him, she suggested it."

In Busbee's first court appearance since the Uvalde shooting, she said she suggested waiting for the investigation to be complete so she can keep reviewing video and determine if anyone should face charges.

Gutierrez said Busbee was also concerned that releasing information right now could taint witness testimony and retraumatize families.

"It is disrespectful to the people of Uvalde to tell them this could take years to go to trial. The shooter is dead. Unless you're going to indict a bunch of cops, get on with it," said Gutierrez.

RELATED: Uvalde school board delays decision on Arredondo's job status for a second time

A judge will make a decision on whether to make DPS release their records. That decision is expected as early as next week.

KENS 5 reached out to Busbee, Texas DPS and Governor Abbott's office about Thursday's hearing. We're still waiting to hear back.

"These are my constituents and my constituents want answers," said Gutierrez. "They don't want me to hold back on anything and I don't intend to."

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