The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Sunday that the police response to the Uvalde school shooting will be investigated.
The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing to review the “actions and responses” of the Uvalde Police Department during the shooting at Robb Elementary School, according to a DOJ statement.
“At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said, according to the statement.” The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events.”
Department of Justice will conduct a review. An independent review of the police response. pic.twitter.com/ihfn4WOanQ
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) May 29, 2022
The department vowed to conduct a “fair, transparent, and independent” investigation and to publish a report once the review concludes. (RELATED: Police Official Says Uvalde Shooter Did Not Confront Armed Guard, Appears To Have Entered Unlocked Door)
“As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”
The police response has come under intense criticism since officials revealed that officers waited over an hour to breach the classroom door where suspected gunman Salvador Ramos had been barricaded inside for 30-60 minutes. Officers entered the school at 11:35 a.m. but did not confront the shooter inside the classroom until around 12:50 p.m, according to The New York Times.
Texas Department of Safety director Steven McCraw told reporters Friday that 19 officers were outside the classroom awaiting special equipment for a “tactical breach” as several children repeatedly called 911 throughout the attack. McCraw added that the wait was the “wrong decision” and there is “no excuse” for it.
“With a bit of a hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision; it was the wrong decision, period,” McCraw said. “There is no excuse for that…But again, I wasn’t there,” he said. “I’m just telling you from what we know, we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can.”
Police pepper-sprayed and handcuffed parents who attempted to enter the school building to rescue their children. One mother, Angeli Rose Gomez, drove 40 miles to the school where federal marshals handcuffed her and threatened arrest if she entered the school, though officers acquainted with her convinced marshals to remove the cuffs, The Wall Street Journal reported. Gomez then rushed into the building and saved her two children.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he was “misled” by initial police officials’ reporting of the events which took place during the incident.
“I was misled. I am livid about what happened,” Abbott said. “There are people who deserve answers the most, and those are the families whose lives have been destroyed. They need answers that are accurate and it is inexcusable that they may have suffered from any inaccurate information whatsoever.”
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, Sunday where they paid their respects at the memorial site at the elementary school, attended mass and met the victims’ families.