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Uvalde mayor alleges 'cover-up' in Robb Elementary School shooting investigation

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin answers questions regarding the Robb Elementary shooting at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde on July 17, 2022.
Aaron E. Martinez/American-State
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin answers questions regarding the Robb Elementary shooting on July 17, 2022.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin called on District Attorney Christina Mitchell to resign over her handling of the Robb Elementary School shooting investigation.
McLaughlin said Monday that the city of Uvalde has waited for documents, including autopsy reports, from Mitchell's office in order to conclude its own investigation more than 15 months after the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.

"Since day one, we have called for transparency from every agency that was there that day. Local, state, and federal agencies, we are all adults and need to just lay the facts on the table," Mclaughlin said in a statement. "It's been fifteen months since this tragedy, and I feel the families and our community deserve answers."
McLaughlin said the city of Uvalde has sued the DA for access to the records for a second time.

"The initial lawsuit was dismissed because of the D.A. Mitchell promising to cooperate with the City," he said. "She failed, once again, to keep her word. The city had to file suit a second time, because D.A. Mitchell continues to block the City's investigation."

Uvalde v Christina Mitchell lawsuit by Texas Public Radio on Scribd

The records in Mitchell's possession could hold the answer to whether lives of students and teachers could have been saved had law enforcement acted faster.

Three hundred and seventy six officers, including more than 90 from Texas DPS and 150 Border Patrol agents, waited for more than an hour to confront and kill the gunman.

McLaughlin alleged that Mitchell's office blocked access to the records because her lead investigator was on the scene at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022.

"Her Chief Investigator, Shayne Gilland, was onsite on May 24 at Robb School and this taints her entire inquiry into any possible criminal conduct by law enforcement," McLaughlin said.

Mitchell did not respond to TPR's request for comment. She said in a statement to the San Antonio Express-News that Gilland was on the scene but that he was not a first responder.

Mitchell told the newspaper she would not resign. She defended her investigation and labeled McLaughlin's accusations as "an attempt to make excuses as to the reason they have not completed their internal investigation when all the other law-enforcement agencies have completed their internal investigations."

Earlier this week, Mitchell told the Express-News that she planned to bring a case to a grand jury by the end of the year.

She said her office just received documents from the Texas Department of Public Safety this summer and was combing through them.

They include reports and transcripts of evidence from witnesses and survivors about the botched law enforcement response.

Mitchell said she would use the results of the DPS investigation and other medical experts to help determine whether to charge any of the responding officers.

The district attorney's office and the office of the Texas attorney general both denied TPR's requests for the documents. They cited various exemptions to open records laws.
Copyright 2023 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

Dan Katz is the news director of Texas Public Radio in San Antonio.
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