Handwritten notes Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde reportedly shed new light on his erroneous comments about the police response — and raise questions about who allegedly “misled” him about the officers’ performance.
Abbott, who initially praised police for their “quick response” to the massacre, later said he was “livid” after being “misled” into saying responding officers had “engaged with the gunman” outside the school before he entered the building.
The governor’s notes — obtained by KTRK — contain bulleted points he used the day after the May 24 shooting that say Independent School District police “approached gunman + engaged” and “Border Patrol, ISD officers, Police, Sheriffs + DPS converged on classroom.”
The nine pages of scribbled notes do not spell out who told Abbott that cops confronted shooter Salvador Ramos outside the building, though he had written the word “mayor” at the top of the sheets, according to the Texas Tribune.
Mayor Steve McLaughlin declined to comment to the news outlet about what he discussed with the governor ahead of the media briefing.
Abbott was grilled after his first press conference on whether he knew about police deciding to not breach the door to the classroom where Ramos slaughtered 19 children and two teachers.
It took cops about an hour to get inside the classroom — and only after they got a key from a janitor to unlock the door, authorities have said.
The governor said the information police initially gave him about the response time was inaccurate, leading him to release flawed details to the public.
“The reason it was not worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do. They showed amazing courage by running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives,” Abbott said at first about the bloodbath.
“And it is a fact that because of their quick response, getting on the scene of being able to respond to the gunman and eliminating the gunman, they were able to save lives,” he added about the cops.
He later walked back his comments.
“I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me [by law enforcement],” Abbott said. “As everybody has learned, the information I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. I was absolutely livid about that.”
He added: “There are people who deserve answers the most, and those are the families whose lives have been destroyed. They need answers that are accurate. It is inexcusable that they may have suffered from any inaccurate information whatsoever.”
The governor’s comments came hours after Texas police admitted that they made the “wrong decision” by waiting outside the classroom.
His handwritten notes also contain references that there was no mental health history and no criminal history for the gunman — and include a list of resources, including crisis teams.
The Texas Department of Public Safety declined to release information about interviews it conducted with officers while creating a timeline of the response, KTRK said.
“Revealing the marked records would provide criminals with invaluable information concerning Department techniques used to investigate and detect activities of suspected criminal elements; how information is assessed and analyzed; how information is shared among partner law enforcement agencies and the lessons learned from the analysis of prior criminal activities” DPS told the outlet.
DPS Director Steve McCraw said the incident commander for the shooting was Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, and that it was Arredondo’s decision to wait about 77 minutes to breach the classroom door where the gunman was.
“It was the wrong decision. Period,” McCraw told reporters.
Arredondo recently disputed the claim that he was the incident commander, telling the Texas Tribune that he never gave orders and didn’t even have his police radios with him.
Meanwhile, Uvalde’s mayor on Tuesday said the city will evaluate releasing records about the shooting after the investigation is complete, Fox News reported.
“The City of Uvalde and its Police Department strive for transparency every day,” McLaughlin said in a statement.
“The Uvalde County District Attorney has requested the city to not release any City records related to the Robb Elementary School investigation. The District Attorney told us the material is still being reviewed and her investigation is ongoing,” he added.