Emilia “Amy” Marin attended a briefing on the shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 27, three days after the rampage that killed 19 students and two teachers.
She listened live as Colonel Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told dozens of reporters and millions of viewers watching live that a “teacher” had kicked open the door with a rock, allowing the attacker to enter the school through a door. that was supposed to close automatically.
“He’s lying. That’s a lie,” Marin told her daughter, who was watching with her.
Although unnamed at the time, Marin was the woman McCraw was talking about. Marin was an after-school program coordinator at the time of the Robb shooting.
Months later, Marin is still waiting to hear how and why the false accusation was broadcast to the nation.
“Nobody’s going to point the finger at me because they know what I’ve done,” Marin told ABC News correspondent John Quiñones. “I knew what I did from day one.”
Three days later, DPS retracted that statement, but only after many in the community blamed Marin for the attack. In the months that followed, community members and state politicians criticized DPS for that mistake.
“They’re either incompetent or they’re dishonest,” Don Flanary, Marin’s attorney, said of the department. “Neither is acceptable.”
DPS has not offered an explanation of how the mistake was made or the route taken to reach McCraw. DPS officials declined to answer questions for this report about the origin of the error and referred ABC News to the agency’s previous statements and apology.
In an earlier statement to ABC News, DPS spokesman Travis Considine explained: “Early in the investigation, DPS reported that an unidentified teacher at Robb Elementary School used a rock to open the door that the shooter used to enter the building. of the school. It was later established that the same teacher removed the stone from the gate before the attacker arrived and closed the door, not knowing that the door was open.”
Considine said, “DPS corrected this error in public announcements and testimony and apologizes to the teacher and her family for the additional grief it has caused an already terrible situation.”
McCraw testified during a State Public Safety Commission hearing last week. “At the time, that was exactly the information we had. It was wrong,” he said. “I take responsibility for it.”
Security camera footage obtained by ABC News shows Marin placing the rock in the doorway only to turn around and kick it away minutes later. She closed the door behind her.
“If you’re an investigator, you’re sitting there watching that video and you saw me walk out,” Marin told ABC News. “Why didn’t you just sit there and watch the whole video to see if I ran back in?”
“Obviously I should have apologized a lot sooner,” McCraw said at that public safety meeting. “I said the teacher pushed the rock or put the rock in the door. I said that on Friday and didn’t correct it until the next week.”
During last week’s hearing, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, said Marin was deeply traumatized by the assertion that her actions gave a killer access to Robb Elementary.
“She was haunted by this in her hometown,” Gutierrez told ABC News.
“And that was because (DPS) defamed him,” he said. “They slandered him.”
Gutierrez told the commission that the simple mistake explanation was unconvincing and hard to believe because, in the first days after the school shooting, he said he personally watched as a team of DPS investigators looked into near surveillance camera footage.
In an interview with ABC News, Gutierrez elaborated, saying he saw 10 troopers in DPS-branded cowboy hats closely examining the video captured that day. Although he couldn’t say exactly which videos he saw them reviewing, he watched as they reviewed the footage, repeatedly rewinding, fast-forwarding, and slowing down parts of the video. He said the detailed analysis of the evidence he testified to contradicts the information McCraw was given before the conference Marin attended with her daughter on May 27.
“It defies logic that these people didn’t know the truth about what Amy Marin did or didn’t do,” Gutierrez said. “When they charged Amy Marin, they knew she absolutely did the right thing and yet they let her feel the pain of that charge for five days, and she will never be the same.”
Marin told ABC News that an FBI agent and a Texas Ranger interviewed her before McCraw went on television with his inaccurate statements about her actions. She told cops at the time what happened on the day of the shooting, including closing the door behind her.
“They had the video and the FBI and the Rangers had already interviewed her and confirmed with her that she took the rock out,” Flanary said. “No sense.”
Jesse Rizo, the uncle of Jackie Cazares, who was among the students killed at Robb, confronted McCraw at the hearing.
“Your officers either lied to you or you painted a picture that was favorable to your department,” Rizo told McCraw.
Marin has decided to take action in the wake of this tragedy and has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the gun used in the Robb shooting. She is also considering other legal options.
It is expected that significant additional information about the investigation will be revealed after the criminal investigation is completed by the end of 2022.
Uvalde:365 is an ongoing ABC News series reported by Uvalde and focused on the Texas community and how it develops in the shadow of tragedy.