(UVALDE, Texas) — Plans are moving forward to demolish the site of the school shooting last year in Uvalde, Texas, officials said Monday.
The leaders of the small Texas community also said they’re close to finalizing an agreement that would allow city investigators access to police records to determine whether or not any law enforcement officers should be fired or disciplined for the failed response to the shooting on May 24, 2022, at Robb Elementary.
“We don’t have all the answers,” Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said. “For that, I apologize.”
McLaughlin made his comments during a news conference that kicked off a week of commemorations to mark one year since the massacre. The site of the second-deadliest school shooting in American history took place at Robb Elementary, where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
The city manager, Vince DiPiazza, said the city’s leadership wants to conduct its investigation through proper channels, emphasizing that “we don’t want any backtracking. We don’t want any do-overs.”
“The city has been pushing; [the city] has not had access to the material but has reached an agreement with the judge to look over both parties,” DiPiazza said.
ABC News and other media outlets have broadcast and published evidence and recordings obtained through the criminal investigation being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The city, however, has yet to be given access to the records, which, it has long argued, it needs in order to properly investigate police actions.
The final release to clear the way for the school’s demolition needs to come from District Attorney Christina Mitchell, according to interim schools Superintendent Gary Patterson. The school board trustees decided in early June 2022 to demolish the elementary school, yet plans have yet to be announced. At the news conference Monday, Patterson said he hopes the process can move forward by this summer.
The district attorney’s office did not respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
“These families have had nothing but pure hell for a year,” McLaughlin said. “I wish I had a playbook.”
The mayor asked the community and media to show compassion and privacy for the families. For the last two weeks, families of some of the victims visited the school and walked the building and property where their children took their last breaths, as promised months ago by the school district.
Some families of victims say they want the school demolished, including Jerry Mata, who lost his 10-year-old daughter Tess.
A new elementary school, yet to be named, is scheduled to open by fall 2024. More than 75% of the $60 million has been raised for school construction, according to the Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation. The foundation says it continues to raise funds.
The mayor said that amid the continued grief, “together we will move forward.”
Uvalde:365 is a continuing ABC News series reported from Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it forges on in the shadow of tragedy.
Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.