Garland gave more details on Wednesday into the review that the Department of Justice is conducting into the Uvalde police response. The review is expected to examine police policies, tactics, and training, as well as how strictly each was followed during the shooting.
“We will be assessing what happened that day,” Garland said, according to The Associated Press (AP). “We will be doing site visits to the school, we will be conducting interviews of an extremely wide variety of stakeholders, witnesses, families, law enforcement, government officials, school officials, and we will be reviewing the resources that were made available in the aftermath.”
An 18-year-old gunman attacked Robb Elementary School on May 24, killing 19 children and two teachers before a team of U.S. Border Patrol officers entered the classroom that the gunman was in and killed him. The attack lasted for over an hour as law enforcement held off engaging the gunman directly after drawing an initial burst of fire.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Uvalde police, especially Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, have taken heat from locals and the friends and families of the victims for their delayed response. Arredondo served as on-site commander during the attack.
At one point, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said that Arredondo had stopped cooperating with Texas authorities’ own investigation into the attack, according to The AP. Arredondo told CNN that he was cooperating and that he has been “in contact with DPS everyday,” however.
The Department of Justice launched the investigation into the Uvalde police in response to a request from Uvalde’s mayor, Don McLaughlin, according to The AP. Though such department investigations are rare, they do typically follow events such as mass shootings like the one at Robb Elementary. McLaughlin praised the government’s decision to investigate and promised full cooperation from the city of Uvalde.
“This assessment and the findings are of the utmost importance to the victims and their families, the community of Uvalde, and the Country,” McLaughlin said in a statement, reported The AP. “The city will fully cooperate with the Department of Justice and will assist with coordinating as necessary with other local entities as needed for this review.”
The team Garland named is made up primarily of current and former law enforcement officials, some of whom have experience responding to and investigating mass shootings. The experts named by Garland are former Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel; former Virginia Tech Deputy Chief Gene Deisinger; former Coral Gables, Florida, Director of Public Safety Frank Fernandez; FBI Unit Chief Albert Guarnieri; former Pennsylvania State Police Major Mark Lomax; McElroy Media Group CEO Laura McElroy; Orange County, Florida, Sheriff John Mina; Vibrant Emotional Health executive April Naturale; and former Aurora, Illinois, Police Chief Kristen Ziman.