The Justice Department said it would review law enforcement’s response to the shooting in Texas, as US President Joe Biden visits bereaved families after the country’s worst school attack in a decade.
The President and First Lady Jill Biden visited a memorial at the school in Uvalde, Texas, before attending a church service and meeting with survivors and first responders after landing in the state this evening.
They spoke with Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) and Mandy Gutierrez, principal of Robb Elementary School.
It comes as investigators seek to determine how critical errors were made in the fire response who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School.
Anthony Coley, a spokesman for the Department of Justice, said he would conduct a “critical review of the incident” of law enforcement’s response to the shooting at the request of the mayor of Uvalde.
He said: “The purpose of the review is to provide an independent account of the actions and responses of law enforcement that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to assist the first responders to prepare for and respond to active fire events.
“The Department of Justice will release a report with its findings upon completion of its review.”
He added that the review would be conducted in a fair, impartial and independent manner and that the findings would be made public.
Some have called on the FBI to investigate police actions following a ruling allowing the shooter, Salvador Ramos, to remain in a classroom for nearly an hour while officers waited in the hallway and the children in the room were making panicked calls to 911 for help.
Karen Finney, Democratic strategist and spokesperson for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, said Mr Biden must “stay focused on the pain and grief of families and the community and understand that this has all been compounded by the fact that we still don’t know exactly what happened”.
She added: “The more we learn, the more it seems the children have been underserved.”
Police say the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, entered the school last week with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle after earlier killing his grandmother in the house they shared.
Official accounts of how the police responded to the shooting have backfired, with calls growing for an independent investigation.
Mr Biden, a Democrat, has repeatedly called for major changes to US gun laws but has been powerless to stop the mass shootings or convince Republicans that tougher controls could stem the carnage .
Instructor who teaches police how to deal with gunmen says Uvalde officers showed flaws in leadership and mindset
Is America Too Deeply Divided to Address Its Gun Problem?
Julian Moreno, who attended Sunday services at Primera Iglesia Bautista where he previously served as a pastor, said police had made “a huge mistake” but he didn’t hold it against them.
Her great-granddaughter was among those killed in Tuesday’s shooting.
He said: “I feel sorry for them because they have to live with this mistake of staying away.”
The visit to Texas is Mr. Biden’s third trip as president to a mass shooting site.
Earlier this month, he traveled to Buffalo, New York, after a shooting that left 10 black people dead at a supermarket.
Vice President Kamala Harris called for a ban on assault weapons during a trip to Buffalo this weekend, saying that following two consecutive mass shootings, these weapons are “a weapon of war “which “has no place in a civil society”.
You Can Read Also