Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw is being sued by more than 25 survivors of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. McCraw is one of 19 defendants in a $27 billion class action lawsuit for psychological damages.
Other defendants in the lawsuit filed this week include local lawmakers and senior law enforcement, many of whom are currently facing federal lawsuits by other gunshot survivors and a victim’s mother. This is the first case to be named after McCraw and Texas DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon for their role in the police response during the massacre that killed 21 people.
“People get hurt, their kids get hurt,” Charles Bonner, the case’s attorney general, said at a news conference Wednesday. “They don’t know what to do and there is no one helping them.”
The federal lawsuit, filed in Del Rio, Texas, is the first class action lawsuit filed after the massacre to seek a specified amount of compensation. This is the third federal lawsuit to arise from the tragedy and the second by a group of survivors. The plaintiffs were students, teachers and school bus drivers at Robb Elementary School on the day of the shooting. Lawyers say they want to add more plaintiffs to the complaint.
“This $27 Billion lawsuit is to let our children know that we value their lives,” Bonner said. “We must have enough money to get their attention.”
The victims’ families confronted McCraw at a public safety hearing in Austin in October and urged him to step down.
“If you keep your word, you will resign,” said Brett Cross, father of 10-year-old Robb Elementary School victim Uziyah Garcia.
McCraw said that as an institution, DPS did not fail during the shoot.
DPS did not respond to requests for comment on this case.
Bonner said he met with many of the surviving families at a church in Uvalde earlier this week and heard their stories.
He said many children who witnessed the shooting have changed since then. Some have trouble sleeping, some have started to wet themselves, and many can no longer be alone.
He added that teachers who lock students in classrooms and lockers are also traumatized.
“Their brains are now permanently scarred,” Bonner said. “The brain is a physical organ, just like a leg or knee, and is now permanently injured.”