Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he was “livid” about being “misled” on initial reports of the immediate police response to the school massacre in Uvalde.
But Abbott, at a press conference in Uvalde, rejected any calls for increased gun control measures — such as background checks — in response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, where 19 children and two teachers were slaughtered.
Abbott and other officials earlier this week said a school resource officer confronted the killer as he entered campus, a claim that law enforcement later retracted. There were also conflicting timelines about how long law enforcement agents waited before entering the school to stop the gunman.
The governor said investigators need to “get to the very seconds of exactly what happened with 100 percent accuracy and explain it to the public and most importantly to the victims who have been devastated.”
Abbott insisted officials will get to the bottom of why responding police didn’t take more aggressive action to “eliminate” the killer.
“There will be ongoing investigations that detail exactly who knew what when, who was in charge and what strategy (was used), why that particular strategy was employed, why were other strategies not employed,” Abbott said.
“Bottom line would be, why did they not choose the strategy that would have been best to get in there to eliminate the killer and to rescue the children.”
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, seated next to Abbott, conceded he’s been left as dumbfounded as the governor by the changing stories of law enforcement.
“I’ve been just as confused as you are because … I got the same information that the governor got,” McLaughlin said.
Abbott also said at the conference he wouldn’t press for any additional restrictions on guns in his state.
In arguing against background checks, Abbott selectively pointed at the Santa Fe High School shooting of 2018 when “the killer took the gun from his parent” and the Sutherland Springs church shooting of 2017, when “there was a background check that was done, it was done in a flawed way allowing the killer to get a gun.”
“Anyone who suggests, ‘Well, maybe we should focus on background checks instead of mental health,’ I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he said.
And in rejecting limits on who could buy high-powered weapons, the governor cited the state’s nearly 150 year history of gun ownership.
“Every since Texas has been a state, an 18-year-old has had the ability to buy a long gun, a rifle,” he said.
“And since that time, it seems like it’s only been in the past decade or two we’ve had school shootings. So for a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles and we didn’t have school shootings.”