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Justice Department to review police response to Uvalde school shooting

“At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will critically review incidents of law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24” , DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.

Someone should be selected in the coming days, two sources familiar with the process told CNN.

The Department of Justice has traditionally relied on individuals outside the DOJ with law enforcement expertise and on-the-ground experience of mass casualty events to form the team that conducts reviews of such incidents.

Texas officials and law enforcement came under intense scrutiny for how officers responded to the shooting.

The massacre, the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012, was followed by conflicting official accounts of how it unfolded. Police’s late confrontation with the mass shooter has deepened anger among parents, with some saying a quicker response could have saved children’s lives.

CNN reported that law enforcement’s response to Uvalde went against commonly taught active shooter protocol, established after the 1999 Columbine school shooting, to stop the shooter as quickly as possible and even avoid helping the injured. While the shooter was in adjoining classrooms, a group of 19 law enforcement officers stood outside the school classroom for about 50 minutes waiting for the keys to the room. room and tactical gear, CNN reported.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said on Friday he demanded a full account of what happened in the school shooting, saying he was initially ‘misled’ about some information he had. provided to law enforcement officials investigating the attack.

“I expect law enforcement officials to lead the investigations … they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty,” the Republican governor said at a news conference in Uvalde.

The Justice Department’s review aims “to provide an independent account of the actions and responses of law enforcement that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare and to respond to active shooting events,” said DOJ spokesperson Conley.

“The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Policing,” he added. “As with previous Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. The Justice Department will release a report of its findings at the end of its exam.”

The DOJ announcement came the same day 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 young victims and first responders during their visit to Texas.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaking to graduates at Harvard’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, spoke briefly about the massacre, saying, “As we gather today to celebrate this important milestone in your life, we also hold on to an enormous amount of grief over yet another mass shooting at another school in our country.”

“An unspeakable act of violence has devastated families and an entire community in Uvalde, Texas. I know I speak for all of us here as our hearts are broken,” Garland said.

This story has been updated with additional reports and developments.

CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez, Whitney Wild, Eric Levenson, Virginia Langmaid, Shimon Prokupecz, Nora Neus, Kevin Liptak, Arlette Saenz and Devan Cole contributed to this report.

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