Tony Gonzales becomes first major Republican to call for DPS Director Steve McCraw to resign

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican who represents Uvalde, has called for the resignation of Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw. (Kaylee Greenlee Beal For The Texas Tribune, Kaylee Greenlee Beal For The Texas Tribune)

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U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, who represents Uvalde, on Thursday became the first major Republican to call for the resignation of Steve McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, for his agency’s response to an elementary school shooting in the city that left 19 children and two adults dead and captured the attention of a nation for its failed law enforcement response.

“DPS Director McCraw should RESIGN immediately,” Gonzales said on Twitter.

[Texas DPS chief Steve McCraw says his agency “did not fail” at Uvalde school shooting]

His comments followed a meeting of the Public Safety Commission, which oversees DPS, at which McCraw insisted the agency had not failed the city of Uvalde. Last month, McCraw said publicly that he would resign if DPS troopers who responded to the shooting had “any culpability.”

Since those comments, the agency has fired its first trooper connected to the incident, Sgt. Juan Maldonado, who was one of the first and most-senior troopers to get to the school. The agency revealed in September that at least five troopers were under investigation for their conduct that day.

Law enforcement officers waited more than an hour to confront the shooter at Robb Elementary in May, which investigators said could have cost the lives of some of the victims.

Other politicians have also called for McCraw’s resignation. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents Uvalde, has long faulted McCraw for his agency’s response. And on Wednesday night, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke called for McCraw to “immediately resign.”

Family members of Uvalde victims are also continuing to apply pressure for accountability from law enforcement. Those family members showed up to the Public Safety Commission’s Thursday meeting and called for McCraw to resign.

Gonzales has been seen as responsive to calls for more gun safety measures after the shooting. He was the only House Republican to vote for a landmark gun safety bill that passed Congress this summer. That bill was authored by fellow Texas Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, and incentivized states to pass red flag laws, closed loopholes on purchases made by those convicted of domestic violence against spouses or partners and gave local officials a 10-day window to scour databases for disqualifying information for first-time gun buyers under the age of 21.