Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
The Department of Justice announced on Sunday that they would be reviewing law enforcement’s response to the Uvalde, Texas school shooting that took the lives of 19 elementary school children and two teachers.
A spokesperson for the Justice Department said in a statement that a request for a review came from Uvalde’s mayor, who is reportedly looking for answers as to why law enforcement refused to engage the shooter.
“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,” spokesman Anthony Coley said in a 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,” DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said, adding the department would publish a report at the conclusion of the review.
“As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent,” he added. “The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”
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. Read more about it here. https://t.co/ELK53ML6Yk
— Anthony Coley (@AnthonyColeyDOJ) May 29, 2022
According to a report by Fox News, Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said teachers and children repeatedly called 911 asking for help as the shooter, Salvador Ramos, carried out his attack. According to The Hill, local police have been under intense pressure from the media and private citizens speaking out in the aftermath of the shooting, and McCraw admitted that it was wrong for officers to wait almost an hour after shots were fired to confront the shooter.
“From the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. There’s no excuse for that,” McCraw said, though he did not call out the chief of police, Peter Arredondo, by name.
Lydia Torres, a neighbor of Arredondo, told the New York Post: “Pete [Pedro] Arredondo is a coward. He didn’t do his job. He failed the children. He is hiding in his home, requesting the PD [police department] patrol the area and guard his home day and night. He should come out and speak up.”
Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez (D) who represents the Uvalde area said, according to The Guardian, that he spoke to a mother of one of the children killed and believes that the errors in judgment with regard to the shooting likely contributed to more deaths: “The first responder that they eventually talked to said that their child likely bled out,” Gutierrez told CNN on Sunday morning. “In that span of 30 or 40 minutes extra, that little girl might have lived.”
“So many things went wrong, here,” he added, although he said responsibility should not be on one police officer. At the end of the day, everybody failed, we failed these children,” he said.
Criticism for the actions of local police has been bipartisan with Texas Republican congressman Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal, telling CNN that “the fact that it took border patrol an hour later to come in and actually do the job for the police is pretty embarrassing. It does seem clear protocols weren’t followed,” Crenshaw added. “So, let’s let the investigation play out, but it’s hard not to see how someone doesn’t get fired for this, for these very, very bad calls.”
Florida congresswoman and former Orlando police chief Val Demings (D-FL) spoke out demanding a “complete investigation,” telling CBS, “We have more questions than answers.”
Videos have emerged since the shooting of parents begging officers to let them in to save their own children after it was apparent the officers were standing down. Some reported that they were threatened with the use of stun guns and handcuffed to keep them from entering the building.
According to Fox News, A Critical Incident Review is relatively rare as most after-action reports after a mass shooting are compiled by local law enforcement agencies or outside groups.