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Justice Dept. to release report on law enforcement response to Uvalde school shooting

A memorial of flowers is placed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022, five days after a mass shooting left 19 children and two adults dead. On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department is expected to release its report detailing how law enforcement responded to the mass shooting and why it took 77 minutes to confront the killer. File Photo by Jon Farina/UPI
A memorial of flowers is placed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022, five days after a mass shooting left 19 children and two adults dead. On Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department is expected to release its report detailing how law enforcement responded to the mass shooting and why it took 77 minutes to confront the killer. File Photo by Jon Farina/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department will release its report Thursday evaluating how law enforcement responded to the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers.

Uvalde school district Superintendent Ashley Chohlis announced the report's impending release on Monday, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

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The Department of Justice's critical incident review will provide a comprehensive account of how more than 370 officers from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies responded to Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, during the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, and what they did or failed to do to protect students and staff.

Uvalde families and Texas state officials have blasted police for taking 77 minutes to confront the killer. A SWAT team from the U.S. Border Patrol eventually shot and killed the lone gunman, identified as former student Salvador Ramos.

According to police, Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother and stole her truck before driving it into a ditch near Robb Elementary, where he jumped a perimeter fence and entered the school through an unlocked side door. Armed with an AR-15-style rifle, he shot teachers and students inside a fourth-grade classroom.

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In a 77-page report two months after the shooting, a Texas House committee called the law enforcement response "chaotic" and "uncoordinated."

"The group was devoid of clear leadership, basic communications and sufficient urgency to take down the gunman," the committee report said.

Five months after the shooting, the Uvalde school district suspended its police force and requested more Texas Department of Public Safety troopers be stationed on school grounds.

At least five officers have lost their jobs over the response, including two Texas Department of Public Safety officers and Uvalde's school police chief.

The Justice Department report to be released Thursday was produced by the Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services -- or COPS -- which is made up of former local, state and federal law enforcement officials.

"The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses; identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events; and provide a roadmap for community safety and engagement before, during and after such incidents," the Justice Department said in a 2022 news release.

"Nothing can undo the pain that has been inflicted on the loved ones of the victims, the survivors and the entire community of Uvalde," Attorney General Merrick Garland said when the critical incident review was announced nearly two years ago.

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"But the Justice Department can and will use its expertise and independence to assess what happened and to provide guidance moving forward."

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