US Justice Department plans report on Texas school shooting in 6 months

2 months ago 31

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - US Justice Department officials said on Wednesday (June 8) that they planned to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and expedited investigation into the law enforcement response to the school massacre last month in Uvalde, Texas.

The department hopes to produce a report in six months that would identify mistakes and help small departments confront mass shooters, officials said privately - underscoring the urgency of clarifying an increasingly confusing picture of the attack and its aftermath.

Over the past week, Attorney-General Merrick Garland and his top aides have been working out a plan to quickly collect and analyse information after the department was criticised for taking more than a year to release a similar report on the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016.

The department has tapped a few law enforcement officials from around the country with experience in mass shootings to oversee the review.

They include Mr Gene Deisinger, a former deputy chief at Virginia Tech; Mr Albert Guarnieri, an FBI unit chief; Mr Frank Fernandez, the retired public safety director of Coral Gables, Florida; and Ms Kristen Ziman, a former police chief of Aurora, Illinois.

"The independence, transparency and expertise of the Justice Department can go a long way" in helping to understand what happened and why, Mr Garland said, introducing the members of the new team during a meeting in his office.

"We will be assessing what happened that day," Mr Garland said. "We will be making site visits at the school. We will be conducting interviews with an extremely wide variety of stakeholders, witnesses, families, law enforcement, government officials, school officials, and we will be reviewing the resources" that were available to respond to the attack.

Mr Garland and the associate attorney-general, Ms Vanita Gupta, who oversees the division undertaking the effort, emphasised that the inquiry was not a criminal investigation but an attempt to create a minute-by-minute narrative of the events at Robb Elementary School.

It was meant to offer an impartial accounting that cut through conflicting news reports and statements by those involved in the response to one of the deadliest school shootings in the country's history.

In the past, the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services Office, which performs non-criminal fact-finding investigations intended...

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