Judge Catherine Mauzy of Travis County’s 419th Civil District Court found Wednesday that Gutierrez had incorrectly submitted the inquiries under the Texas Government Code.
By dismissing the request on that ground, Mauzy avoided resolving whether the senator or the public has a right to view the documents under the Texas Public Information Act.
“It has been over 70 days since the massacre at Robb Elementary, and the State of Texas has completely failed to provide the community of Uvalde with timely and truthful answers,” Gutierrez said in a news release after Mauzy’s decision.
“It is very disturbing that the Department of Public Safety has continued to fail to disclose even the most benign information to the public. You shouldn’t need a lawsuit to be honest and transparent with people about what occurred.”
The senator indicated he would resubmit the request to comply with Mauzy’s order. He also accused Gov. Greg Abbott and state police of seeking to “paint a narrative that absolves the Texas Department of Public Safety of responsibility for the horrid response to the Uvalde shooting.”
DPS reportedly offered to allow Gutierrez to view the information as part of his role as a senator, as long as he would not release the documents to the public. Both DPS and District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee contend they are keeping certain information under wraps to avoid compromising the investigation and any criminal charges that might follow.
Previously, Gutierrez and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin called on Abbott to remove Busbee from managing state resources intended to help the victims of the shooting. They accused Busbee of failing to disburse benefits in a timely manner, among other complaints.
Nineteen students and two teachers died in the shooting, which spurred Congress to enact new gun laws and appropriate billions for school safety and mental health.
Gutierrez and other Democratic state lawmakers held a news conference at the Texas Capitol in June repeating their calls for a special session of the Legislature to debate gun control measures.
Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) convened a special Texas House committee to investigate the tragedy. The three-member panel — including Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso), and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman — published a preliminary report last month that detailed lackluster security at the school and “egregiously poor decision making” on the part of law enforcement.
In testimony before the Texas Senate in June, DPS Director Steven McCraw also criticized the police response to the shooting, calling their actions an “abject failure.”
State troopers were among nearly 400 law enforcement personnel that responded to the shooting, including federal agents, police officers, and deputy sheriffs. It took almost an hour and a half before a tactical team of border guards killed the 18-year-old perpetrator.
A copy of Mauzy’s decision can be found below.
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Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."