5 DPS officers under investigation for response to Uvalde school shooting; DPS director admits failures

Two of the Texas DPS officers who were part of the response at the Uvalde mass school shooting have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

An internal DPS committee reviewing the actions of troopers who were there has referred the cases of those two troopers and three others to the office of inspector general for a formal investigation.

And in an email obtained by FOX 4 reveals that Colonel Steve McGraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told his department that they failed during their response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

In a statement, DPS says in part, "five DPS law enforcement officers have now been referred to the Office of Inspector General where a formal investigation into their actions that day will take place. Thus far, two of those five officers have been suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the OIG investigation."

In the email, shared with FOX 4 by State Senator Roland Gutierrez (D-Uvalde), Col. McGraw says, "Every agency that responded that day shares in this failure, including DPS."

McGraw went on to criticize Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo for deciding to treat the shooter as a "barricaded person" but says his troopers should have acted anyway.

RELATED: Uvalde students return to classroom for first time since shooting on Tuesday

Hundreds of officers from multiple agencies waited for more than an hour before taking down the gunman. It’s a decision McCraw said was wrong. 

Director and Colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven C. McCraw attends a press conference outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. - (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

The inspector general's office will look to see if the officers violated any policy in the response to the shooting. 

"DPS and other agencies must also be held accountable for their actions or inactions. It is clear from the evidence law enforcement should have treated this situation as an active shooter event," said McGraw in the July email.

He went on to say, "When a subject fires a weapon at a school he remains an active shooter until he is neutralized and is not to be treated as a "barricaded subject". We will provide proper training and guidelines for recognizing and overcoming poor command decisions at an active shooter scene."

Gutierrez says victims' families want to see accountability across the board. 

"I think that every law enforcement agency that was out there should be held accountable," he said. "Certainly, Steve McCraw who had 91 officers who was there in the first 2 mins, 38 seconds. Twelve of them in the hallway."

So far, the only person who has been punished in the wake of the shooting was Pete Arredondo. The former Uvalde CISD police chief was fired by the school board last month.

The July email from McCraw also said, "the ongoing criminal investigation by the Texas Rangers includes the examination of the actions of every law enforcement officer who responded to the scene. That investigation remains ongoing until the district attorney in Uvalde is satisfied that she has enough information to assess whether there is criminal culpability by any of the responding officers."

A Texas House report on the shooting says 376 law enforcement officers arrived at the shooting scene in Uvalde on May 24. Ninety-one of them were members of state police.

Uvalde police first confronted the shooter at 11:35 a.m. on the day of the shooting. Officers eventually breached the classroom and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m.

RELATED: 16 Uvalde fourth graders waited an hour with wounded teacher

Col. McGraw called the response to the shooting an "abject failure" while testifying to a Texas Senate Committee in June, but he faced criticism from some for laying the majority of the blame at the feet of Uvalde officers, when state and federal officers were also on scene.