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Texas state senator sues Department of Public Safety over access to Uvalde records

Brandon Bell/Getty Images, FILE

(UVALDE, Texas) — A state senator who represents Uvalde, Texas, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Texas Department of Public Safety, seeking access to the agency’s records of its sweeping investigation into the police response to last month’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.

Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) is accusing the DPS, the state’s top law-enforcement agency, of unlawfully denying his records requests.

“From the very start, the response to this awful gun tragedy has been full of misinformation and outright lies from out government,” Gutierrez said in the eight-page complaint, filed in Travis County state court in the state’s capital of Austin.

DPS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.

On Tuesday, DPS Director Steven McCraw testified for more than three hours before a state Senate panel investigating the police response the massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead. He said the investigation has determined that the law-enforcement response led by the local school district’s police chief was an “abject failure.”

Enough officers and equipment had arrived on the scene within three minutes to “neutralize” the shooter, McCraw testified, but instead officers did not breach the door to the classroom containing the shooter for one hour and 14 minutes.

McCraw’s testimony marked the first time in nearly four weeks that anyone in law enforcement publicly laid out details of the various investigations into the mass shooting, probes that are examining everything from the killer’s motives and planning to police actions that directly contradicted first-response protocols that mandate officers rush in to protect civilians from an active shooter.

For weeks, all official information has been laid out only behind closed doors, and law enforcement officials have not responded to requests for information from families of the victims and news media.

According to the lawsuit, Gutierrez filed his public records request on May 31 but has yet to receive a response. Texas state law requires a response to records requests within 10 days, or the seeking out of an attorney general decision, according to the complaint.

During Tuesday’s state Senate hearing, Gutierrez delivered an impassioned plea for “common sense gun solutions” and for the ongoing investigation to be conducted in the open.

“We live in a democracy. In a democracy, things need to be transparent,” he said. “As to the laws and the things, that we need to change.”

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