The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Sunday stated it would investigate the law enforcement response to the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Specifically, the DOJ will focus on police response time.
On May 24, 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos opened fire at the Robb Elementary School, killing 19 students aged 9 to 11 and two teachers and injuring 17 others. After an hour of the shooting, the police responded, killing Ramos. Timelines from the shooting show multiple unanswered 911 requests by students. A lieutenant with the Texas Department of Public Safety said they were slow in engaging the gunman because of fears “they could’ve been shot.”
The DOJ’s investigation—a Critical Incident Review—is a consequence of a request by Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin and will be conducted with the DOJ’s Office of Community Oriented Policing. As per the DOJ, the review aims to publish a report providing “an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses” on the day of the shooting and “best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events.” It will not focus on gun reform or the gunman’s motives.
The shooting rekindled conversations about the sale of AR-15s since Ramos had legally obtained the AR-15 used in the shooting. Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Governor Greg Abbott for the governorship of Texas, interrupted a press conference by Abbott regarding the shooting, demanding action. O’Rourke has also called for more gun control and criticized Abbott’s law easing permit requirements. Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger said he was open to banning AR-15 rifles, indicating there is a conversation in the party about reform.
Gun control will continue to be a contentious topic not only in Texas’s gubernatorial election but also in this year’s midterm elections.