UVALDE, Texas — A special legislative committee tasked with investigating the Robb Elementary School shooting interviewed school staff and witnesses Thursday in Uvalde.
For the first time, they heard from people like Mandy Gutierrez, the school principal.
“I’m just concerned for my families and my kids,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez is one of several Robb Elementary and Uvalde Consolidated School District employees expected to give their account of what happened on May 24, 2022.
“It was brave of you to be here and be standing before us and giving us the opportunity to ask you questions that we may learn from these experiences,” Chairman Dustin Burrows said.
The committee is tasked with listening to testimony, collecting information, and determining whether first responders followed protocol.
Associate professor of civil procedure at Southern University Law Center, Shandrea Williams, says the investigative process will also help lawmakers create new laws.
“We're going to look at what is the effect of ensuring that there are safety measures in place. So, that might mean that we need to hire more police or hire more guards,” Williams said.
While many people have voiced their frustrations over the fact that the interviews are being held in executive session, Williams says it is standard procedure.
“It's commonplace, it's reasonable. And it can be used in the long run, to ensure that everything is accurate, and there are no biases that are involved,” Williams said.
Williams added, that holding the hearings in Uvalde, where the shooting happened, is significant.
“Having it there, feeling the emotion, recognizing that everything took place there, it's the best place to have it to get an understanding of the empathy and the self-awareness of everyone who has been affected by this,” Williams said.
There is no word on how long the committee’s investigation will take, but Chairman Burrows said members are committed to being thorough and transparent.
Also serving on the committee are Vice Chair Joe Moody, a Democrat state representative from El Paso, and former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman.