[WARNING - GRAPHIC CONTENT]: Bodycam footage released, acting police chief from day of shooting placed on leave, Uvalde mayor says

Officer Hill Bodycam - Uvalde

The mayor of Uvalde announced Sunday that the city has released bodycam videos worn by officers who responded to the fatal mass shooting that took the lives of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.

Mayor Don McLaughlin said the entire Uvalde community has already waited entirely too long for answers and transparency.

McLaughlin explained that they initially held off on releasing the videos at the direction of Uvalde’s district attorney, Christina Mitchell, but after the release of the school district’s hallway video, officials believe the body camera videos will provide further, necessary context.

McLaughlin acknowledged that Mitchell’s direction was to all agencies, including DPS, to hold all videos relating to the shooting until a final report was issued, but they believe that restriction has not been enforced.

Due to findings from the investigative report, McLaughlin said, the City has placed Lt. Mariano Pargas on administrative leave. Pargas was the acting chief of police for the City of Uvalde on the day of the shooting. The administrative leave is to investigate whether Pargas was responsible for taking command on May 24, what specific actions he took to establish that command, and whether it was even feasible given all the agencies involved and other possible policy violations.

The mayor released more information in a statement which read, in part:

“We agree with the Committee’s review of the incident, there was failure of command. However, we have further questions as to who was responsible for taking command as each agency there had senior level commanders on site. We want to know which agency took what specific actions to take command, and where did the critical breakdown occur.

“The City of Uvalde will be conducting an internal investigation regarding our police department’s actions and our policies and procedures. I have told you this would happen since day one. We are currently waiting on DPS to release UPD officers’ official statements, taken immediately after the incident, as these are critical to our own internal investigation. The City has selected Jesse Prado, an expert in the field, to conduct the internal investigation. As soon as DPS releases the reports we have requested, Mr. Prado will begin his review and assessment. That will also include a specific review of Lt. Pargas’ actions as Acting Chief of Police that Day.

“As Mayor of Uvalde, the City only has any authority over its own police force. Which is why I support the City’s decision to place Lt. Pargas on administrative leave and conduct a full internal investigation. However, it is imperative that each agency onsite at Robb School that day commits to the same process and investigates their highest ranking, onsite officers’ actions.”

WARNING: SENSITIVE CONTENT. GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

Bodycam of Officer Canales

Bodycam of Officer Jesus Mendoza

Bodycam of Officer Zamora

Bodycam of Officer Hill

Bodycam of Officer Martinez

Bodycam of Officer Justin Mendoza

Bodycam of Officer Coronado

MORE COVERAGE

Uvalde school massacre: Families receive copy of investigative report, review surveillance video as findings released to public

READ: Full report on Uvalde school shooting

Uvalde report: 400 officers but ‘egregiously poor’ decisions

TIMELINE: DPS releases log of activity, conversations of police situated outside classroom where children, teachers were being massacred


About the Authors:

Mother of two. Award-winning lover of digital storytelling, sparked by my fascination of being a fashionable gossip like my favorite "Willona Woods" character from "Good Times." On the serious side, president of the Houston Association of Black Journalists and dedicated community servant. Happy to share the news with you each and every day!

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.