On Sunday, the Department of Justice announced that it will be conducting a review of the delayed response from law enforcement officers during the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, last week.
According to Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley, the federal action was made at the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin. The department's Office of Community Oriented Policing will do the evaluation.
"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 said.
"As with prior Justice Department after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent and independent. The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review."
As reported by USA Today, law enforcement in Uvalde faced widespread criticism over the officer's late response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday, where 19 children and two teachers were killed. According to reports, law enforcement waited over an hour outside the school before finally entering the building and killing 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos.
The local school district's police chief, who served as the on-scene commander, waited on reinforcements because he initially believed that the gunman posed no further threat, Texas Department of Public Safety chief Steven McCraw said.
According to McCraw, the first police officers entered the school just two minutes after Ramos started firing off his weapon at 11:33 am. By 11:51 am, McCraw said 19 officers were in an outside hallway when the school district's police chief decided not to pursue the shooter.
McCraw added that the chief's lack of response was due to his belief that Ramos barricaded himself in a classroom and that the threat was over.
"With the benefit of hindsight, of course, it was the wrong decision," McCraw told reporters on Friday.
An investigation, he said, will attempt to determine how many died while the 19 officers waited outside the locked classroom as the gunman continued shooting. "There is no excuse for that."
Around 12:00 pm, students began calling 911, urging police to respond as the shooting continued inside the school. Officers ultimately breached the door at 12:50 pm.
The delayed response from officers was inconsistent with long-standing law enforcement strategies that advanced after the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. Under those protocols, first responders must immediately confront active shooters to prevent any loss of life.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Jordan Vonderhaar/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.