The Justice Department has announced that it is conducting a review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review to determine whether law enforcement in Uvalde, Texas, followed proper procedures during the response to a mass shooting on May 24, DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.
A person is expected to be chosen in the next few days, two sources familiar with the process tell CNN.
The Justice Department has traditionally relied on individuals outside the DOJ with law enforcement expertise and on-the-ground experience with mass-casualty events to conduct reviews into such incidents.
The Department of Homeland Security has previously conducted after-action reviews following mass shootings at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center in California in December 2015 and at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016.
Law Enforcement Under Intense Scrutiny
The Texas officials and law enforcement have come under intense scrutiny for their handling of the shooting.
The massacre, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, has been followed by conflicting official accounts of how it unfolded. The delayed police confrontation with the mass shooter has compounded parents’ anger, with some saying a quicker response could have saved children’s lives.
After the Columbine school shooting of 1999, law enforcement agencies began training their officers to stop active shooters as quickly as possible and even bypass helping injured victims. However, CNN has reported that the response by law enforcement in Uvalde ran contrary to these tactics while the gunman was inside an adjoining classroom. While the gunman was inside, a group of 19 law enforcement officers stood outside the classroom for roughly 50 minutes as they waited for room keys and tactical equipment.
In a Friday interview, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he is demanding a full accounting of what happened during the school shooting, saying that he had been misled by law enforcement officials leading the investigation into the attack.
At a news conference in Uvalde, Gov. Rick Perry said: “My expectation is that law enforcement leaders will get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty.”
The Justice Department is conducting a review of law enforcement actions and responses that day in an effort to provide an independent account of the incident and identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders be prepared for future active shooter events.
The Justice Department will conduct an after-action review of the response to a mass shooting, the department’s top civil rights official said Monday. The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. 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.
Joe Biden Visited Uvalde
The Department of Justice announced on April 10 that it would investigate the circumstances surrounding the high school shooting in Texas. The announcement came the same day that President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Uvalde, where they visited a makeshift memorial to the 21 victims outside Robb Elementary School. The President and first lady also met with family members of the young victims and first responders during their visit to Texas.
Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke briefly about the massacre at Sunday’s Harvard commencement ceremony, telling graduates: “As we gather today to celebrate this milestone in your life, we are also holding on to an enormous amount of grief because of yet another mass shooting at another school in our country.”
In Uvalde, Texas, an unspeakable act of violence has devastated families and an entire community. Garland said he felt the tragedy was too awful to be described with mere words.