The Texas Department of Public Safety said Monday it would review the state police response to the shooting at Uvalde Elementary School.
It is the first time the department has said it would assess its own response to the May 24 massacre, for which law enforcement has come under harsh criticism. A lone gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at the school, while it took officers more than an hour to confront and kill him.
The department told The Associated Press that its investigation would “specifically determine whether any violations of policy, law or doctrine occurred” in its officers’ response. The internal review was launched last week.
The state police investigation comes on the heels of an 80-page preliminary report, issued by a Texas House investigative committee, which found that “extremely poor decision-making” by law enforcement at Robb Elementary School was to blame for one of the worst school shootings in American history.
Nearly 400 law enforcement officers gathered in and out of the school for more than an hour, about 90 of them state troopers, before entering the classroom to arrest the 18-year-old gunman.
An officer with the Uvalde Police Department told investigators he was aware of 911 calls from inside the classroom, pleading with officers to respond, and yet no one attempted to enter.
Other officers previously said they did not enter the classroom because they assumed the door was locked and they did not have the key. The report found that the door was unlikely to be locked.
On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) called the House report’s findings “beyond disturbing” and said it raises “serious concerns about the response that day.”
That’s a sharp change in tone for Abbott, who, a day after the shooting, praised the officers, telling Texans “it could have been worse.”
“The reality is that as horrible as it happened, it could have been worse,” Abbott said at the time. “The reason it wasn’t worse is because law enforcement officials did what they do: They showed incredible courage running into the gunfire for the sole purpose of trying to save lives.”