UVALDE, Texas — There have been drastic shifts in the narrative surrounding the Uvalde school shooting since initial reports came out.
In the days following the murders of 21 people at Robb Elementary School, authorities have repeatedly corrected statements that were made and have delivered updated timelines of the incident.
Retired Texas Rangers Chief Tony Leal spoke to KHOU 11 about the changing story and what that could mean for the investigation. The Texas Rangers are leading the investigation into what happened.
On May 25, one day after the school massacre, Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the public thanking law enforcement who responded, acknowledging the bravery of one in particular.
“Officers with the consolidated school district, they approached the gunman and engaged with the gunman at that time,” Abbott said.
On May 27, two days later, Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw admitted mistakes were made. He walked back several statements revealing there was, in fact, no officer on campus when the shooter arrived.
“There were discussions early on that consolidated ISD for Uvalde, a resource officer had confronted the subject. That did not happen,” McCraw said.
It was the first of several retractions.
Leal says, he knew early on public officials would have to make clarifications.
“When politicians got on a stage and wanted to give a narrative of what happened, that was a grand mistake. There’s no possible way that you can know what occurred in the murder of 20-something people the next day,” Leal said.
Leal said leaders should have withheld certain details until after they interviewed witnesses and reviewed surveillance video footage.
“I think that you can give a timeframe of events. I think that you can inform the public what occurred. I think you can inform the public if you think whether or not there’s still a safety issue in those types of quick briefings that happened right after something occurred. But you cannot give the details of who responded, how they responded, what occurred because you don't know it until you conduct the investigation,” Leal said.
Leal said he is confident though that those communication missteps will not impact the capital murder case.
“It won’t impact the investigation, but it will impact the trust that the public has in the investigation,” Leal said.
Leal estimates the investigation could take approximately six months to complete.