Americans were shocked last week after a gunman massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas.
However, that shock turned to outrage following reports that law enforcement officers simply stood by as the carnage unfolded. Now the Department of Justice (DOJ) says it wants answers.
Police waited outside as killings took place
That’s according to a statement put out on Sunday by DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley, who declared that the department will be reviewing what happened at Robb Elementary School.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Coley explained.
He went on to say that the investigation “will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing.”
“As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent,” Coley stressed, adding, “The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”
Report: Federal agents enter school despite being told to wait by local authorities
The Washington Examiner reported that nearly 20 local police officers set up a perimeter around the school and waited for nearly an hour.
As they stayed outside, the gunman killed 19 fourth graders in a classroom. Their families will never know how many could have been saved if police had not hesitated to go inside and stop the gunman.
The paper noted that Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw later criticized that move at a press conference, calling it the “wrong decision.”
“There was no excuse for that,” NBC News quoted McCraw as saying. “There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done, with one exception, is that the incident commander inside believed he needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that time.”
According to NBC News, the violence didn’t stop until federal agents entered the building and killed the shooter despite being told by local authorities to wait.