U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro speaks at a San Antonio event on Wednesday night.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, said he believes Gov. Greg Abbott lied when he said he was "misled" by local authorities about how quickly police responded to last week's Uvalde school shooting.
In comments to the Current
, Castro called a Justice Department review
of the law enforcement response a "step in the right direction." The congressman, who last week asked the FBI to investigate the incident, added that the Texas Department of Safety is "compromised" when it comes to reviewing how it was handled.
In a press conference the day after the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, Abbott — who's facing reelection in November — praised law enforcement for their quick response and "amazing courage." In a line widely mocked
on social media, the Republican governor declared the incident, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers, "could have been worse" without the response of police.
However, after reports surfaced that officers lingered outside the school
as frantic parents begged them to breach the building, Abbott backtracked during a May 27 press event
, saying that he was "misled" about the response.
Castro doubts that assertion.
"If the claim from Greg Abbott and [DPS Director] Steve McCraw is that they were lied to, I want to know whether they didn't talk to the DPS troopers who were on-site, including those who were waiting right outside the door," Castro said. "It just doesn't add up."
Abbott's office was unavailable for immediate comment.
As many as 19 officers waited in the hallway outside classrooms 111 and 112 at 12:03 p.m. on May 24, around half an hour after the gunman entered the school, according to a timeline of the tragedy published by the Express-News
Castro said at least two of those officers were from DPS.
"I know a lot of focus has been on the failure of Uvalde law enforcement, but the fact is, you had on-site multiple members of local, state and federal law enforcement, all of whom waited too long to go in," the congressman said.
Castro sent a letter to the FBI on May 26,
requesting the agency investigate conflicting accounts of provided by state officials about the shooting rampage. Three days later, the Justice Department said it would review the actions of law enforcement.
"It's a very positive step," Castro said. "I also wanted them to take the lead in the investigation, because I think DPS is compromised, for different reasons — partially at least."
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