SAN ANTONIO — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Friday news conference in Uvalde that he "was misled" about the initial timeline of law enforcement's response to Robb Elementary, where 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed Tuesday.
"I am livid about what happened. I was on this very stage and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards behind where we’re located right now," Abbott said, referring to a Wednesday statement he made about the mass shooting.
Abbott's Friday update at Uvalde High School came just a few hours after Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said the commander of the initial response to Tuesday's shooting made the "wrong decision" not to breach the classroom sooner when the gunman was inside.
“From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision,” McCraw said. “It was a wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that. But again, I wasn’t there, but I’m just telling you from what we know. We believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can. When there’s an active shooter, the rules change.”
Nearly 20 officers were in a hallway outside the classrooms for more than 45 minutes before Border Patrol agents used a master key to open a door and confront the gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, McCraw said.
The governor went on to say he expects legislative action to be taken in the wake of the tragedy, adding "the status quo is unacceptable." He did not, however, provide specifics about what reforms he would or wouldn't support.
More immediately, Abbott said he expects a thorough investigation into "every act by every official" involved Tuesday.
"Every act of all of those officials will be known and identified, and explained to the public. I cannot overemphasize enough: We need to get the information for the families of all these victims.”
Abbott, flanked by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, was making his first public statement in the small south Texas community since he was interrupted by former congressman and gubernatorial opponent Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday morning.
Abbott was skipping a previously planned stop at the NRA Convention in Houston, but he appeared via a pre-recorded video message Friday, saying no law could have prevented the Uvalde shooting.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents the Uvalde area, briefly interrupted Abbott, saying there's desire among Texas legislators for a special session.
"You’re getting a letter tomorrow. We’ve asked for gun control changes. I’m asking you now to bring us back in three weeks," Gutierrez said.
The senator apologized for interrupting the press conference, saying it wasn't meant to be a political stunt on his behalf.
"I’ve been here for three days with all of these elected officials. This county judge has worked his a** off. The mayor, the city council people, I don’t know how to express the loss of the families that I’ve talked to. And I know you feel it too. And we have to do something, man. Your own colleagues are telling me, calling me, and telling me an 18-year-old shouldn't have a gun. This is enough, call us back, man," Gutierrez said.
The update began with Abbott and several state agency officials running down a list of resources being made available to victims of the shooting and their families. He promised that every victim's funeral would be covered thanks to a $175,000 gift from an anonymous donor, and he ensured the community the state would help them for as long as necessary.
A 24/7 hotline has also been set up to connect Uvalde residents with free mental health resources. The number is 888-690-0799.
"Texas stands with Uvalde for the long term, helping every single person in this community to piece their lives back together, to heal as much as they can," Abbott said.