Greg Abbott 'Put Obstacles' in Front of Uvalde Investigation: State Senator

The Texas state senator representing Uvalde is criticizing Governor Greg Abbott over his response to May's deadly school shooting and accusing the governor of creating roadblocks in the investigation of the failures made by multiple law enforcement agencies that day.

In a Monday interview with CNN, state Senator Roland Gutierrez claimed that Abbott has "done nothing but put obstacles in [the way of] this district attorney, and other people... that have just devastated this community."

"We have to get to the bottom of this but it begins at the top in Texas," Gutierrez said.

His remarks come a day after a preliminary investigative report into the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, which left 19 children and two adults dead. was released on Sunday.

The damning report, which described "an overall lackadaisical approach" by nearly 400 law enforcement officials who responded to the scene, was the first to criticize both state and federal agencies, and not just local authorities.

Greg Abbott Uvalde Shooting
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez said Governor Greg Abbott had not returned to Uvalde since three days after the May 24 school shooting. Above, Abbott speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Uvalde High School on May 27 in Uvalde. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Alongside more than three hours of newly released body camera footage from the tragedy, the report from a Texas house investigative committee found that "egregiously poor decision-making" resulted in more than an hour before officials confronted and killed the gunman.

Of the 376 responders at the scene of the shooting, 149 were from the United States Border Patrol, 14 were from the Department of Homeland Security and 91 were from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"The Department of Public Safety director has a direct report to Greg Abbott. Greg Abbott has the power—and by the way, I'm sure Greg Abbott saw those videos a long time before we all did—but he has a direct power to go and ask for accountability and direct power to go ask, 'What happened here?'" Gutierrez said on Monday.

"He has the direct power to get any kind of report that he wants," he added. "He's the governor of the state of Texas, and he has refused to step in."

In a statement shared with Newsweek, a spokesperson for Abbott criticized Gutierrez's remarks, saying they "do nothing to help the Uvalde community as they work to heal."

The governor's press secretary, Renae Eze, also said that the governor "took immediate action to address all aspects of the heinous crime committed in Uvalde," noting the $105.5 million that Abbott has announced he will transfer into school safety and mental health initiatives over the next year.

The state senator also said Abbott had not returned to Uvalde since the wake of the shooting, when he visited the south Texas town during the second press conference, which was held three days after the May 24 tragedy. Gutierrez noted that the governor's absence was also felt at the funerals of the victims as Abbott did not attend any of the services held.

Eze disputed the timeline, telling Newsweek that the governor had "been to the community multiple times since that tragic day, joining his fellow Texans to grieve and worship at events into June" and adding that Abbott remains in regular contact with local leaders in Uvalde, speaking with them on "an almost daily basis."

Last week from Houston, Abbott said the events captured on security video from Robb Elementary School was not relayed to him during his initial briefing on the attack.

"It's clear that what was shown on the video was the exact opposite of the information that I was given on the day that I went out and explained what happened during the event," he said at a Thursday news conference.

The governor was widely criticized for his initial response to the massacre when he praised the bravery of law enforcement officials at the school, who he said ran "toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives."

It was later revealed that police would wait outside the classroom for 77 minutes before storming in and killing the gunman.

Update 07/1822 1:20 p.m. ET: This story was updated with comments from Eze.