AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety suggested Thursday two DPS employees previously disciplined for their response to the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde will be the only employees disciplined. Law enforcement officers from multiple agencies took more than 77 minutes to enter the classroom and take down the gunman.
In September, the department announced seven DPS officials were under investigation for the response that day. Two of those who were under investigation have faced disciplinary actions and one retired. The unnamed remaining four have been cleared of wrongdoing, DPS communications director Travis Considine confirmed to Nexstar.
To date, one responding DPS officer has been terminated for the response that day — DPS trooper Sgt. Juan Maldonado.
A second DPS employee, Texas Ranger Ryan Kindell, is suspended and in the process of being terminated. However, Kindell has the ability to appeal the decision to both McCraw and then to the Public Safety Commission.
According to the Texas House investigative committee report on the school shooting, 91 of the 376 responding law enforcement officials on the scene that day were DPS employees.
Nexstar asked DPS Director Steven McCraw questions about the investigation into the shooting and accountability Thursday, after he testified to the Senate Finance Committee about budget needs and answered some questions about Uvalde.
When asked by reporters if more DPS employees will face discipline, McCraw said “no, just the two,” in reference to Maldonado and Kindell, suggesting no further DPS employees will face repercussions for their actions at Robb Elementary.
Officers from other agencies have faced scrutiny for what a Texas House report classified as a “chaotic and uncoordinated” response on May 24, in which 19 children and two teachers died.
Two Uvalde CISD officials were terminated — including Pete Arredondo, the former school police chief. The district also fired Crimson Elizondo, a former DPS trooper who was one of the seven under investigation for her response that day.
Elizondo retired from DPS and was later hired as a police officer for the Uvalde school district. After the news of Elizondo’s employment at Uvalde CISD was revealed by CNN, the district fired Elizondo and then suspended its entire police department.
McCraw said the Texas Rangers’ investigation into the shooting has been completed and handed over to the Uvalde District Attorney’s office. When asked for further specifics about the investigation, McCraw said he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
“I’m not going to discuss that, because it is an ongoing criminal investigation,” he said. “It’s an ongoing, pending criminal matter and is being reviewed by the District Attorney. And I presume at some point in time, when she makes a determination presented to a grand jury until that’s completed, the investigation is not completed. Our portion of it is completed unless she finds other areas that [she’d] like us to elaborate on.”
On Jan. 6, Uvalde DA Christina Mitchell said in an email to Nexstar “I do not anticipate receiving the completed DPS Texas Rangers investigation until the spring, at the earliest. It is not uncommon for an investigation of this magnitude to take at least a year.”
Nexstar has followed up about whether she has now received the Texas Rangers investigation from DPS, but has not heard back.
McCraw has faced pressure from families of the Uvalde victims to step down from his role as the leader of DPS. Nexstar asked the director if he plans to retire this year and he said he does not plan to any time soon.
“Unfortunately for DPS, they are stuck with me for the time being,” McCraw said. “I will be here awhile.”