The Justice Department announced on Sunday that it will investigate law enforcement’s response to the school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, an unusual federal probe triggered by doubts about officials’ shifting and at times contradicting information, which has infuriated a grieving community.
The review will be performed in a fair, objective, and independent manner, according to department spokesperson Anthony Coley, and the conclusions would be made public. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were in Uvalde on Tuesday, paying their respects at a memorial for the 19 pupils and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday.
The review’s purpose, according to Coley, is to “to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and response that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events,”
The department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services is in charge of the investigation. It was unclear how the investigation would be conducted if law enforcement officers would be forced to collaborate, or when the investigation would be completed.
Such an investigation is uncommon, and most after-action reports resulting from mass shootings are usually completed by local law enforcement authorities or independent organizations. After 14 people were killed in a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, in 2015, and after the mass shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in US history, which left 49 people dead and 53 injured, the Justice Department conducted similar investigations.
On Friday, authorities disclosed that despite several 911 calls from kids and teachers, the school district’s police chief had directed more than a dozen policemen to wait in a school hallway. This added to the frustration, anger, and questions about police reaction. Officials stated the perpetrator was thought to be locked within neighboring classrooms and that the attack was no longer underway.
The news added to the anguish and prompted further questions about whether more lives were lost as a result of authorities’ failure to act quickly enough to stop the gunman, who was eventually killed by Border Patrol tactical officers.
Biden hasn’t spoken anything about the police response to the incident in public.