The Department of Justice will conduct an investigation into the botched police response to the school mass shooting at Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 schoolchildren and two adults earlier this week.
“The U.S. Department of Justice today released the following statement from spokesman Anthony Coley”…
“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,” the DOJ 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,” the press release added. “The review 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,” the DOJ statement concluded. “The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”
Uvalde’s law enforcement has already been feeling the heat — not only for failing to act to stop the shooter, but thwarting anguished parents from intervening out of desperation to try to save their loved ones.
Parents of Robb Elementary School students were arrested, and at least one was reportedly tased trying to enter the school. Angeli Rose Gomez, mother of a second grader and third grader at Robb Elementary, told The Wall Street Journal that the police were “just standing outside the fence” during the active shooter situation.
“They weren’t going in there or running anywhere,” she said.
“After a few minutes, she said, U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for actively intervening in an active investigation,” the Journal reported.
Gomez told the Journal she saw police tackle a father and take him to the ground, while another parent was pepper-sprayed. She said that she saw police use a stun gun on a father to keep him from advancing on the school.
“They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us. That’s how it felt,” she said.
Javier Cazares told Fox News that he was furious at the police’s unwillingness to act.
“Upset that police were not moving in, he raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders,” Fox News reported. His fourth-grade daughter Jacklyn Cazares was killed in the attack.
A lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety later confessed in CNN interview that the police officers refused to intervene sooner because “they could’ve been shot.”
The timeline of events shows that the Uvalde shooter was inside the school for nearly 80 minutes before law enforcement stopped his attack.
Now, it gets even worse: The police officers at the scene utterly failed to act on the training they had received at the Uvalde school itself to stop mass shooters. The documents reveal that the responding police officers have no excuse for not acting sooner to prevent the mass shooting. There were reportedly 19 police officers at the scene who waited for over an hour for a janitor to give them a key before they decided to act.
Ultimately, a veteran BORTAC border patrol agent breached the classroom with a tactical team and shot the Uvalde school shooter, a border patrol agent told Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin.
The border patrol agents’ willingness to act to stop the school shooting is quite the contrast with that of police officers at the Uvalde mass shooting scene, as documents obtained by the New York Times reveal.
“I have spent the past few days researching the training of Uvalde officers, including the tactics they were expected to use to halt school shooters,” Times correspondent Mike Baker posted on Twitter.
“The documents are jarring. Here’s a thread of our findings so far,” he said. “In the past two years, the Uvalde school district has hosted at least two active-shooter training days. One of them was just two months ago. The trainings included both classroom teachings and role-playing scenarios inside school hallways (below).”
“The Uvalde training session 2 months ago relied on guidelines that give explicit expectations for officers responding to an active shooter,” he went on. “The training is clear: Time is of the essence. The ‘first priority is to move in and confront the attacker’.”
“But how should officers confront the gunman? With a tactical team? The training says that’s probably not feasible, because the urgency is so high,” he continued. “A SINGLE OFFICER, the training says, may need to confront the suspect on their own.”
“The guidelines provide sobering clarity: The first officers may be risking their lives. But, it says, innocent lives take priority,” it went on. “A first responder unwilling to place the lives of the innocent above their own safety should consider another career field.”
“The training expectations are obviously in stark contrast to what we are seeing in Uvalde,” he noted. “Police officials have said that officers were reluctant to engage the gunman because ‘they could’ve been shot’.”
“The guidelines actually provide scenarios in which officers are shot, including one modeled after the Santa Fe High School shooting, also in Texas,” Baker added. “The scenario explains that if one officer is shot, the second ‘is expected to go on responding solo’.”
“It’s clear that officers did not follow that scenario this week,” he reported. “19 officers staged outside the classroom. 78 minutes elapsed before they entered. Children repeatedly called 911 from inside.”
“It was the wrong decision,” top officer says.
“We are continuing to scrutinize the Uvalde response,” Baker continued. “Meanwhile, here’s a look at nationwide training for active shooters.”
“If you know children are being murdered, why do you wait? Get in there,” he added.
These training documents make it absolutely clear that the police officers knew they were supposed to act immediately and at all costs to stop the mass shooter.
The Uvalde police issued a statement on the shooting tragedy via the Chief of Police Daniel Rodriguez.
The Uvalde police’s statement said that “it is important for our community to know that our Officers responded within minutes alongside Uvalde CISD Officers.” The statement also said “Responding UPD Officers sustained gun-shot wounds from the suspect” and added “Our entire department is thankful that the officers did not sustain any life threatening injuries.”
This is cold comfort for members of the Uvalde community that lost young children at Robb Elementary School. Now, the police will have to explain themselves to the Department of Justice.
"*" indicates required fields
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.