Jae C. Hong/AP
Victims of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde are facing serious delays in obtaining financial assistance from the state’s Victims Relief Fund, the state senator said. of Texas, Roland Gutierrez, and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin.
In a letter Sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week, Gutierrez (whose district includes Uvalde) and McLaughlin called on Abbott to remove District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee as head of the victims center after receiving “numerous disturbing reports” from the share of voters.
The shooting at Robb Elementary in May claimed the lives of 21 people, including 19 children and two teachers.
The late compensation claim is just the latest problem to emerge in the public authorities’ handling of the Uvalde shooting.
After the shooting, revelations have since emerged that law enforcement responding to the scene of the shooting got it wrong in a number of ways, including waiting over an hour to enter the classrooms targeted by the shooter. .
The investigation into what happened that day is still ongoing.
Voters report serious delays in getting money, say Gutierrez and McLaughlin
Gutierrez and McLaughlin wrote in their letter to Abbott that the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center was created “to provide information, support and resources” to residents directly affected by the mass shooting.
But voters are reporting complaints, including a significant delay in getting the money intended for them, according to Gutierrez and McLaughlin. A family risked having the electricity cut off in their home as they spent time in hospital caring for their daughter. Other families said they were offered “a meager bereavement benefit” that only covered two weeks’ wages.
“This prosecutor’s office does not have the logistical capacity to get answers, resources and results for Uvalde’s families,” Gutierrez said in a statement emailed to NPR. “The bottom line is that the mayor and I don’t believe the DA has the ability to administer these funds in a way that is both urgent and transparent. We want to take politics out of the process so we can provide aid. directly to the families of Uvalde as soon as possible.”
It’s unclear how many complaints the two officials have received, or how much funding the center has to donate. A representative from Gutierrez’s office did not provide that information.
Gutierrez and McLaughlin ask Abbott to hand over responsibility for the center to the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
Neither Abbott’s office nor Busbee responded to their claims on Wednesday, a representative for Gutierrez said.
NPR’s attempt to reach Busbee went unanswered.