The inquiry comes at the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin after reports indicate that law enforcement waited during crucial minutes before taking out the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers while barricaded in a classroom Tuesday.
“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 department said in a statement Sunday.
The review will be “fair, transparent, and independent” and conducted similar to previous reviews of mass shootings, the department said.
Law enforcement’s response has come under scrutiny for the length of time it took to stop the shooter, as officials work to piece together a timeline of police’s response.
Federal agents previously said that they ignored orders from local law enforcement at the scene and instead took matters into their own hands after waiting approximately 30 minutes to lead a “stack” formation outside the school, officials told NBC News. A member of BORTAC, or the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, has been credited with fatally shooting the gunman, identified as Salvador Ramos, who reportedly was hiding in a closet at the time.
At least 19 officers were reportedly held up outside the school for nearly an hour before entering based on guidance from Peter Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, Steven McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at a press conference Friday.
The orders were based on the belief that there was not an active threat, as they thought the shooter might be barricaded alone in the classroom, which was the “wrong decision,” McCraw noted.
The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review, the statement noted.