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DOJ team is reviewing 13,000 pieces of evidence and talked to more than 200 people in their ongoing probe of Uvalde school shooting response

<i>Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News</i><br/>Students run to safety after escaping from a window at Robb Elementary School on May 24.
Pete Luna/Uvalde Leader-News
Students run to safety after escaping from a window at Robb Elementary School on May 24.

By Shimon Prokupecz, Hannah Rabinowitz and Rachel Clarke, CNN

The Justice Department team tasked with reviewing the botched law enforcement response to the deadly rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is analyzing 13,000 pieces of evidence connected to the massacre ahead of a report it is expected to publish, the department said Wednesday.

Team members have also interviewed more than 200 people, including law enforcement officers and other first responders, family members, school personnel and witnesses.

The department announced the team in charge of the federal review in June, just days after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers, remaining in the school for more than an hour while police waited nearby.

No date has yet been set for a release of the review’s findings, though it will likely come in the “coming months,” the department said. The probe will provide an independent account of the response, identify lessons learned and provide a road map for the future, it added. It is not a criminal or civil investigation.

On Wednesday, US Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta traveled to Uvalde to update families on the review, the department said.

Gupta spoke with Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, who asked for the federal review last year, and later briefed families and community members on the progress of the department’s review.

McLaughlin requested the Critical Incident Review into the May 24, 2022, mass shooting following conflicting accounts from law enforcement officials on how the events of the day unfolded and growing outrage and questions about the police response to the massacre.

Communication failures and a lack of leadership in the chaotic response have since been blamed for why it took authorities 77 minutes to stop the gunman who holed up in two conjoining classrooms — despite a massive turnout from school, city, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies.

McLaughlin, the mayor, has previously told CNN he was shut out from county and state investigations and has questioned whether there could be a “cover-up.”

Since the Justice Department’s probe into the horror began, a team from its office of Community Oriented Policing Services has visited Uvalde nine times, spending a total of 30 days there, according to the department.

Those team members have walked through the school hallways, where officers stood even as children trapped with the gunman called 911 for help, and are working with subject matter experts, the statement said.

The evidence collected is said to include videos and photos as well as interview transcripts and training materials.

“Extensive, detailed reviews such as this one take time, and the Department is committed to taking that time to provide an accurate and detailed examination of the events, as well as guidance to other agencies and communities moving forward,” the justice department said in its statement.

“The Department will make its full findings and recommendations publicly available at the completion of the review, which is expected in the coming months,” it added.

The Justice Department also told families it will offer extra support ahead of the one-year mark of the massacre next month, including trauma therapy for those affected and assistance around large gatherings.

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