Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
TEXAS – As family members of the 19 students shot to death in a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, and loved ones of the two teachers who also died in the massacre, were trying to come to terms with the horrific tragedy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was raising funds for his campaign.
the same Abbott revealed he stopped by a campaign fundraiser following the deadly Uvalde school shooting and “let people know” that he could not stay, although one newspaper reports that he was there for almost three hours.
The Dallas Morning News reported that campaign finance reports and flight tracking records show that Abbott arrived in Huntsville at 4:52 p.m. on May 24, hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School, and was then driven about 2 miles to a local supporter’s house until 7:47 p.m.
An 18-year-old shooter entered the school at 11:33 am that day but it was not until 12:50 pm that police stormed the classroom where he was hiding and killed him. Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steve McCraw called law enforcement’s slow and chaotic response to the shooting an “abject failure.”
McCraw has said that three minutes after the shooter entered the school, enough officers and firepower had been deployed to stop him. Nineteen students and two teachers were killed in the attack.
When Abbott was asked at a news conference in Uvalde the day after the shooting why he hadn’t canceled the fundraiser, he said he had been in Abilene when he heard about the attack.
“On the way back to Austin, I stopped and told people I couldn’t stay, I had to go,” Abbott said. “And I wanted them to know what happened and to come back to Austin so that I could continue my collaboration with Texas law enforcement to make sure that all needs were met here in the Uvalde area.”
“The day after the tragedy, the governor traveled to Uvalde and met with police and local authorities,” he said. “The governor’s description of his movements that day is accurate.”
The day after the shooting, Abbott praised what he said was a quick response from law enforcement officers who “showed incredible courage running into the gunfire.” However, he later said that he had been “deceived” and that he was “furious” about it.
According to a campaign finance report, Abbott may have raised as much as $50,000 in the Huntsville fundraiser, the newspaper said.
Abbott faces Democratic opponent Beto O’Rourke in November.