Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw appeared to be choking back tears when, in the middle of a contentious press briefing, someone paused to ask him how he was doing.
McCraw presented the timeline of events that took place on Tuesday, when a gunman entered through a door that someone had left propped open at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. He then barricaded himself in a classroom — where he killed 19 students and two teachers — before law enforcement was able to take him down.
He then took a series of questions, most of which were critical of the on-scene commander’s decision to wait for tactical assistance before having officers attempt to breach the classroom and engage the shooter.
But amid the criticisms and the difficult questions, one reporter paused to ask McCraw how he was handling the situation — and he clearly struggled to keep ahold of his emotion.
"What is on your heart how are you doing?" one reporter asks.
"Thanks a lot. Forget how I am doing, it’s about the parents," TX DPS Chief Steven McCraw chokes back tears as he answers. "Forget about me." pic.twitter.com/0B1wggVieg
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) May 27, 2022
“While this may be the most unpopular question here today, what is on your heart? How are you doing?” one CNN reporter asked. “You’ve been shaking the whole time you’re up there.”
McCraw stepped back from the mic, sniffing and covering his mouth, struggling to keep his emotions in check before he stepped forward again to answer.
“Yeah, thanks a lot,” he said, shuffling some papers at the podium. His voice cracked as he answered, “You know, forget how I am doing, it’s about the parents of those children. Forget about me.”
“Don’t worry about me, or officers and stuff like that, we take an oath to uphold the law and protect people. Anytime something tragic like this happens, we want to know why it happened and if we could do better next time, that’s the bottom line,” McCraw continued. “Call it like it is. It is tragic, quite frankly. There shouldn’t have been anybody killed. Ideally, we’d have been able to prevent it before it — identify this guy as a suspect and address it before he even thought about attacking on the 24th.”
McCraw also addressed a number of criticisms during the Friday press conference, saying that local law enforcement officers were wrong to treat the situation as a “barricaded suspect” scenario rather than an “active shooter” scenario — and that delaying entry into the school while waiting for tactical teams to arrive was the wrong decision.