State Senator from San Antonio, Uvalde mayor say state isn't aiding school-shooting families

The elected officials said one family almost had its power cut off while its child was in the hospital, while others only got 'meager' bereavement benefits.

click to enlarge Members of law enforcement lay flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School. - Joseph Guillen
Joseph Guillen
Members of law enforcement lay flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio and Uvalde's Mayor Don McLaughin have told Gov. Greg Abbott that families of the victims in the Robb Elementary School shooting aren't receiving resources promised by the state.

In a Monday letter, Gutierrez and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin asked the governor to remove Uvalde District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee from her role overseeing benefits and compensation for the families. Instead, they want the Texas Division of Emergency Management to take over.

In their letter, the elected officials said one family almost had its power cut off while its child was in the hospital, while others received the "meager" bereavement benefit of just two weeks' pay as they dealt with the deaths of their children.

“These families cannot begin to heal unless they are given time to grieve free from financial worry," Gutierrez and McLaughlin wrote. "There is no worse pain imaginable than losing a child. This pain is made all the more severe because of the way these children were killed and injured. In short, the State of Texas ought to use every available resource in law to make these families whole.”

Busbee was unavailable for immediate comment.

About a month ago, the governor's Public Safety Office made an initial $5 million allocation of funds to establish a long-term care center to help Uvalde families recover from the tragedy. The state put Busbee in charge of overseeing victims' compensation as part of that effort.

Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, has been an outspoken critic of law enforcement's handling of the school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Last month, he sued the Texas Department of Public Safety, alleging it had broken state law by refusing to hand over public documents about the response. 

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