Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw was referring to a question about whether a specific individual would be fired for response to the Uvalde shooting, to which he said no — according to a DPS spokesperson.
AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The head of Texas’ top law enforcement agency clarified his comments after documents showed he said “no one is losing their jobs” over the response to the Uvalde school shooting massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers, according to timestamped notes from an internal Department of Public Safety captain’s meeting in August, obtained by KXAN.
On Thursday, DPS communications chief Travis Considine clarified Director Steven McCraw was responding to a question about whether one particular agency official would be fired, following the mass shooting — to which McCraw replied no. He was not referring to all 91 of the agency’s officers who responded on May 24, according to Considine.
The agency is working to investigate where the notes originated, Considine said.
McCraw told CNN Friday his remarks were specifically about about DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon, who oversees the Uvalde area.
“I reviewed his actions, and there’s nothing he could’ve done otherwise than what he did … Victor Escalon is not going to be fired, period,” McCraw told CNN.
On Tuesday, DPS revealed five of its officers are being investigated by the Office of Inspector General regarding their actions during the response to the school shooting. The agency did not respond to questions asking when the officers were suspended and have not identified them.
Two of those officers were suspended with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.
McCraw referenced the internal review process and told CNN “no one will get a pass.”
McCraw told his staff that leaders overseeing the Uvalde region “did what they are supposed to do” and “stepped up to meet the moment,” according to the meeting notes. At the same time, McCraw acknowledged the department will be changing protocol for active shooter response after criticism of law enforcement response on all levels.
“We had almost a hundred on site [sic] and more on the way. Initial information was positive for law enforcement, but some was found to be inaccurate causing confusion,” said the notes transcribed from meetings held on Aug. 15 and 16. “We are not responding to critics in the media and politics, but are relying on the facts to come out from the investigation.”
After saying DPS would wait on results from the agency’s internal investigation into their response to the shooting at Robb Elementary, the August notes outline that McCraw said “and oh, by the way, no one is losing their jobs.”
“It will however change how we respond to active shooter events, as it should,” he continued. “We should continue to our school safety program to be present on campuses when we can. Many schools are vulnerable.”
In July, DPS said an internal committee would review the actions of every trooper, special agent and Texas Ranger who responded to Robb Elementary to determine if officers violated policy or their rapid response training, according to the same email. Still, McCraw and his agency have largely blamed local Uvalde police officers for delayed action, despite DPS responders outnumbering them 2:1.
A Texas House committee investigation found after officers were initially held back by gunfire, they waited more than an hour before taking action against the gunman. More than 370 law enforcement officers responded to the massacre.
The investigation indicated the delays stemmed from confusion over who was actually in command of the scene. Last month, the school board fired embattled Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pete Arredondo over how he handled the response. Arredondo has disputed points in the state lawmakers’ report.