On Thursday, a special legislative committee responsible for investigating the Robb Elementary School shooting began hearing testimonies, collecting information, and evaluating whether first responders followed procedures during the massacre. The hearings will continue next week.
The committee chairman, Texas State Rep. Dustin Burrows, stated the investigation will be an “objective and nonpartisan examination.”
On May 24, a gunman entered the building through an unlocked door and opened fire in a classroom, killing 19 children and two teachers. It was the deadliest shooting at a public school in Texas history and the second-deadliest in the country.
A tactical unit stormed the classroom door and killed the gunman after more than an hour. Law enforcement has been criticized for failing to act quickly enough.
“I’m just concerned for [the] families and my kids,” Principal Mandy Gutierrez said when asked how she felt after Thursday’s session.
“It was just an information session,” she added. “They’re going to compile a report. And when that comes out, I may have more comment at that time,” she stated outside City Hall on June 16.
The interviews are held privately in an executive session to provide a fair investigation, according to Shandrea Williams, an associate professor of civil procedure at Southern University Law Center.
“It’s commonplace; it’s reasonable,” she said. “And it can be used in the long run to ensure that everything is accurate, and there are no biases that are involved.”
Williams believes that the investigative process will aid legislators in creating new laws.
The committee does not have an official timeline on when the investigation will be complete. Still, Burrows indicated the committee might issue a preliminary report to the public before finishing its thorough inquiry.
“I would say that the most respectful thing I think we can do is to try to get some of those lingering questions answered for the people in this city,” said Burrows.