UVALDE, Texas — A letter has been sent to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's office asking him to remove the person in charge of the Uvalde victim assistance center that was established after the devastating mass shooting that took the lives of 21 people.
The letter was written by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez. They said numerous complaints have been made about the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center, including failing to provide victims' families with the necessary resources.
"In the past month, we have heard numerous troubling reports from our constituents about the UTRC and the District Attorney, including failure to timely deliver victim's compensation resources to those in need," the letter read. "One Uvalde family was in danger of having their power cut off in their home at the same time they were praying and caring for their daughter in the hospital. Other families have been offered a meager bereavement benefit for only two weeks of pay. This, simply, is insufficient."
Read the full letter in the tweet below:
District Attorney Christina Mitchell Busbee was selected to oversee the center.
McLaughlin and Gutierrez are asking Abbott to replace Busbee with the Texas Department of Emergency Management, which Gutierrez said is a more qualified organization to provide the necessary services for the community.
In an interview with KHOU 11, Gutierrez said he hasn’t heard from the Governor’s Office since the massacre and is hoping the letter posted to Twitter leads to change.
"If nobody in the Governor’s Office is responding, we have to take it upon ourselves to be blunt about it and say we need help down here," Gutierrez said. "We have to be able to try to get families the help that they need."
Gutierrez says he also has concerns over conflicts of interest. Currently, District Attorney Busbee is not only heading up victim’s services, but she’s also leading the investigation into the massacre.
"Those things are directly in conflict," Gutierrez said. "There wasn’t a whole lot of thought process on behalf of the Governor’s Office when he did this."
A week after the Robb Elementary School shooting, the Governor's Public Safety Office made an initial $5 million investment to establish the long-term Uvalde Together Resiliency Center, which serves as a hub for services for families impacted by the mass shooting.
The center provides services such as:
- Crisis counseling
- Ongoing mental health resources
- Behavioral health care for survivors, first responders and community members
- Assistance with insurance claims
Gov. Abbott's office gave KHOU 11 the following statement regarding the center:
"The initial $5 million investment for the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center was made to Uvalde County. The Governor will support whoever local officials designate as project director of the UTRC. Governor Abbott and his office will continue working with state and local leaders to support the Uvalde community and provide all available resources as they heal."
KHOU 11 has reached out to Busbee's office and has yet to hear back.
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