Uvalde Mayor Rants About 'Bulls*** Leaks' as More Videos of Shooting Emerge

Uvalde's mayor Don McLaughlin said he's tired of "bulls**t leaks" after more footage of the deadly school shooting of May 24 emerged revealing the response of local officers and authorities to the attack.

A 77-minute hallway surveillance video was leaked from the investigations into the shooting and released by the Austin American-Statesman on July 12, which contained footage showing officers waiting in the Robb Elementary School corridors while the gunman can be heard firing multiple shots.

At no point in the footage can the several officers deployed in the corridors be seen taking proactive action and their behavior has been strongly criticized.

McLaughlin condemned the leak of the video, whose release by media was also chastised by investigation committee chairman Rep. Dustin Burrows, who said he was planning to give families of the victims the opportunity to see the footage privately before its public release.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin speaks during a press conference about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 27, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. McLaughlin has criticized the leaking of footage from the shooting. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

On Sunday, McLaughlin released body camera footage from city police officers deployed at the school on May 24 showing officers being more proactive and pulling children out of the school, hoping to offer a different narrative of the law enforcement's response to the attack.

The official account of what happened on the day of the shooting has changed several times in the aftermath of the attack, from the initial report that the shooting lasted about 40 minutes to what we know now—more than an hour passed before local, state and federal law enforcement confronted the gunman.

Questioned by a reporter about the claims that Uvalde law enforcement tried to manipulate the narrative around the shooting, McLaughlin responded that Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), was the one who should be answering.

"Why don't you see Colonel McCraw and ask him," McLaughlin said. "Why don't you go see the Chief of Staff for the Governor and ask him, face to face? And then ask Colonel McCraw and the other DPS officer what the meeting was about. The meeting was about Colonel McCraw," McLaughlin said, mentioning a meeting he said he called with the head of Texas DPS and the state governor after the attack.

McLaughlin said he told McCraw on that occasion that he would have released whatever information he had about what happened on the day of the shooting.

"We didn't ask him to change the narrative, we didn't ask him to support the narrative or anything," the mayor said.

"We're tired of the bull**** leaks, we're tired of the bull**** stories, and we're tired that you say no law enforcement officer cooperated," McLaughlin continued, calling any such claim "a lie."

Already on June 21, the mayor had accused McCraw of leaking information around the shooting to "distance his own troopers and rangers from the response."

McCraw has blamed Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo for the failures in law enforcement's response to the attack, but a report released on Sunday by the Texas House committee investigating the shooting clearly puts the blame beyond local officers.

The report found that local, state and federal officers were all responsible for "systemic failures and egregious poor decision making" during the shooting. According to investigators, many officers were unsure who exactly was in charge —Arredondo himself, who is now on administrative leave, said he didn't know he was the incident commander.

The damning new report blames both local and federal officers for the inadequate response to the attack that left 19 children and two adults dead.

McLaughlin said he agreed with the report's finding, admitting there was a failure of command during the shooting.

"We have further questions as to who was responsible for taking command as each agency there had senior level commanders on site... We want to know which agency took what specific actions to take command, and where did the critical breakdown occur," the mayor said commenting on the report on Sunday.

McLaughlin said the city is conducting an internal investigation into the shooting and has placed Lt. Mariano Pargas, the city's acting chief of police on May 24, on administrative leave while they investigate whether he should have taken command of the officers' response on the day of the shooting.