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Uvalde families demand answers from City Council during heated hearing


(UVALDE, Texas) — More than one month since the massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, families of victims demanded answers from city leaders during a special council meeting on Thursday.

Frustrated by the lack of information from the ongoing state investigation, families turned to the council for answers — but they got none.

“We’re not trying to hide anything from you,” said Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin on Thursday. “We don’t have anything.”

After returning from discussing the shooting behind closed doors, McLaughlin told the assembled family members and media that they had no more information to share than they did two hours earlier when they went behind closed doors.

But families pressed the mayor for details and complained about the lack of transparency.

“We’re looking for some answers that nobody seems to be getting and it’s just making Uvalde PD and everybody else look even more guilty,” said Berlinda Arreola, grandmother of Amerie Jo Garza, one of the students who died.

“Look at this as a dad, as a parent,” said Garza’s dad who was also at the meeting. “What if it was your kid?”

“You’re in charge of this city,” one parent yelled.

During the meeting, the sister of Irma Garcia, one of the fourth-grade teachers who died, demanded answers from the mayor and blamed the Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee for how the investigation has been handled.

The families complained the district attorney has dodged their questions and has refused to release evidence including 911 calls and surveillance footage.

“No one should have much power,” Irma Garcia’s sister, Velma Lisa Duran, said of the district attorney.

“My sister was obliterated,” Duran added before breaking down in tears. “I couldn’t hug her. I couldn’t say my last goodbye.”

In response to the family’s complains and demands for more information, McLaughlin showed the room two letters he says he received in response to his requests for information. One, from Busbee, said, “any release of records to that incident at this time would interfere with said ongoing investigation” referring to the school shooting.

The other letter McLaughlin showed during the meeting was from the Texas Department of Public Safety saying, “release of records related to that incident at this time would interfere with the ongoing investigation.”

The anger in the room was met with frustration from the mayor as well. He told the parents that the issue was beyond his reach, and that he has tried to get answers.

McLaughlin added that if they didn’t have confidence in him, he would step down.

Notably, embattled Police Chief Pete Arredondo was a no-show — his third absence at a meeting since he was sworn in as councilman last month.

Last week, Arredondo was placed on administrative leave by the school district.

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.

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