‘This week is a tough week’: Uvalde prepares to observe one-year mark of Robb Elementary tragedy

Uvalde leaders hold news conference Monday to ask media, visitors to give residents space, privacy to reflect on shooting

UVALDE, Texas – Two days away from the one-year mark of the Robb Elementary tragedy, leaders in Uvalde on Monday said the community is preparing for a difficult week.

“This week is a tough week. We can’t even imagine the pain that the families are feeling,” Mayor Don McLaughlin said at a news conference at the SSGT. Willie De Leon Civic Center.

McLaughlin said city and police officials will not be granting media interviews after Monday and asked news organizations to show compassion and privacy to the families and citizens.

“This is not about us. This is about these families and these survivors and it’s their time and it’s our time to reflect on the memories of these children that lost their lives that day and the two teachers,” McLaughlin said.

The mayor added that there was nothing new to report on the investigation into the shooting.

“We realize that you still don’t have all the answers that you need. And it frustrates all of us. For that I apologize,” McLaughlin said.

In December, McLaughlin filed a lawsuit against the Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell for blocking the independent investigation into the actions of the Uvalde Police Department on May 24, 2022.

Two days away from the one-year mark of the Robb Elementary tragedy, leaders in Uvalde on Monday said the community is preparing for a difficult week.

Monday, it was revealed that the investigation is now moving forward.

”I may be a little bit old-fashioned because I still believe in due process. We have to do this right and that’s the right way to do it, and it’s taken way too long and the mayors expressed that frustration and we all have, too. But we’ve got to see this through,” Uvalde City Manager Vince DiPiazza said.

As of now, there is still no timeline as to when the DA’s investigation will be done.

Several families of the Robb victims have been allowed in and will continue to be let inside of the school to see classrooms 111 and 112 where the shooting took place.

Uvalde CISD interim superintendent Gary Patterson was asked about the planned demolition of the school.

“When everybody is cleared that building, we’re waiting for one more party to clear it, when that’s cleared then we can begin the plans for the demotion,” Patterson said.

Patterson was pressed on what is taking so long in that demolition, he said litigation “from the district attorney.”

The mayor asked for visitors to stay away from the community this week in an effort to allow Uvalde to grieve appropriately.

However, in a contradicting statement, Lives Robbed, a nonprofit started by several of the families, invited the world to remember their loved ones.

Berlinda Arreola, Amerie Jo Garza’s step-grandmother, addressed the contradicting statements.

“The families do have something going on prior to the vigil, which will be here and a mural walk. And that is what they were trying to keep private for our sake,” Arreola said.

No city activities will take place this week and the city council will not hold its weekly meeting to allow residents a chance to reflect on what happened and grieve in private.

“We haven’t had it as tough as these families but it’s been a tough year, and it’s been a trying year for everyone here involved. So my hope is that maybe God will come in and open hearts and let some healing begin in the community,” McLaughlin said.

At 5:30 p.m. at the Uvalde County Fairplex will be hosting a vigil with religious leaders and city officials. The vigil will be open to the public.

There will be a public vigil and a butterfly release to honor the victims at 7:30 p.m. at the Uvalde Memorial Park’s amphitheater.

On Wednesday, KSAT will air “One Year In: Uvalde,” a special tribute honoring victims’ legacies and highlighting their families’ unwavering pursuit of change and accountability.

The in-depth report will air at 9 p.m. on KSAT 12, KSAT.com, KSAT’s YouTube channel and KSAT Plus. You can download the free KSAT Plus streaming app on your TV or phone here.

About the Authors:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.