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FRONTLINE: After Uvalde: Guns, Grief & Texas Politics

A couple outside of Robb Elementary School before the start of the new school year following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Aug. 31, 2022.
Courtesy of REUTERS/Nuri Vallbona
A couple outside of Robb Elementary School before the start of the new school year following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Aug. 31, 2022.

Editor's Note: Extremely sensitive content in this film description below:

Premieres Tuesday, May 30, 2023 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV / PBS App / FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel + Encore Thursday, June 1 at 10 p.m. on KPBS 2

It was one of the deadliest school shootings in America: In May 2022, an 18-year-old legally bought two AR-style weapons, walked into his old fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire in a massacre that killed 19 children and two adults.

One year later, in a FRONTLINE documentary with Futuro Investigates and The Texas Tribune, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa probes lingering questions about why this tragedy happened and explores how some of the Robb Elementary school families have responded.


“For the last year, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about these families and about Uvalde,” Hinojosa says in the documentary, “After Uvalde: Guns, Grief & Texas Politics.” “I need to know: What does a place like Uvalde do after a horrific tragedy like this?”

FRONTLINE: "After Uvalde" - Preview

The documentary tells the story of how some families have channeled their grief into a push to raise the purchase age of assault-style weapons in Texas from 18 to 21.

Hinojosa also explores the Robb Elementary school families’ outrage over the police response, in which armed officers waited for more than an hour to take down the shooter. Gladys Gonzalez, whose daughter Caitlyne was at the school that day, says: “There's just a part of her that has become obsessed in wanting to understand what happened.”

In collaboration with The Texas Tribune, whose reporters have reviewed hours of investigative footage from that day, Hinojosa explores the role of the shooter’s AR-15 weapons in the police’s hesitancy to confront him. The officers on the scene, Texas Tribune reporter Zach Despart tells her, knew their gear wouldn’t protect them against an AR-15: “They are well aware that these types of rounds, because of their high velocity, will penetrate their normal body armor.

RELATED: “He has a battle rifle”: Police feared Uvalde gunman’s AR-15

“He has a battle rifle:” Police feared Uvalde gunman’s AR-15

Dr. Roy Guerrero, Uvalde’s only pediatrician, describes the horror of what he saw in the hospital after the shooting: “That's truly when I realize the caliber of what these weapons can do to a child's body,” he tells Hinojosa. “So imagine a child who's decapitated. That’s it. What else do I have to tell you?”

Through Hinojosa’s reporting and interviews with politicians on both sides of the gun debate, the joint documentary illustrates how gun reform has been a deeply polarizing issue in Texas for decades, and how efforts to find common ground remain at a political standstill.

One year after the Robb Elementary school tragedy, “After Uvalde: Guns, Grief & Texas Politics” is a profound and powerful look at where the fight over assault-style rifles stands in Texas, and a grieving community’s efforts to heal.

Filmmaker Quotes:

“We’re proud to tell this complex story alongside our partners Futuro Investigates, The Texas Tribune, and Maria Hinojosa — whose reporting on the horrors of what happened in Uvalde and its lasting impact on the community has been critically important," says Raney Aronson-Rath, editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE.

“The Texas Tribune has been deeply honored to collaborate with FRONTLINE and Futuro Investigates on coverage of the Uvalde tragedy. María Hinojosa and her colleagues have brought care, insight, empathy and understanding to the tragic story of what happened at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022. Their work will stand as a testament to what went wrong and how our nation can and must do better,” said Sewell Chan, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune.

“We have been thrilled to work on our partnership with the talented journalists of FRONTLINE and The Texas Tribune,” said Peniley Ramírez, executive producer of Futuro Investigates. “Our diverse team deeply understands underreported issues affecting Latino communities. We produced a revealing, humane, and critically important story addressing the United States' key issues today: violence, guns, mental health and politics.”

Following the premiere of the joint investigation, on Friday, June 2, Futuro Media will air a special episode of the award-winning show Latino USA, partly based on the reporting for the documentary film. The audio version of the story, “Uvalde Rising” will explore how Caitlyne Gonzales becomes a new leader in her community while the town of Uvalde fights for more mental health resources.

Watch On Your Schedule:

Premieres Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at 10/9c on KPBS TV, and on FRONTLINE’s YouTube channel. It will also be available to stream starting at 7/6c the night of its release at and in the PBS App.


A FRONTLINE production with Futuro Investigates, a division of Futuro Media. The director is Amy Bucher. The producer and co-director is Heidi Burke. The writers are Amy Bucher and Heidi Burke. The correspondent is Maria Hinojosa. The documentary includes reporting from Texas Tribune reporters Uriel J. García, Jinitzail Hernández, Zach Despart and reporter for the ProPublica-Texas Tribune Investigative Initiative, Perla Trevizo. The editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune is Sewell Chan. The executive producers of Futuro Investigates are Peniley Ramírez and Maria Hinojosa. The president of Futuro Media is Julio Ricardo Varela. The editor-in-chief and executive producer of FRONTLINE is Raney Aronson-Rath.