Five officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety who responded to the Uvalde school shooting in May are facing a formal investigation into their actions that day, the agency disclosed Tuesday.
Two of the five officers have been suspended with pay. The other three remain on duty, pending the results of the investigation.
The inspector general’s office is specifically investigating whether any of the five officers violated policy that governs how active shooters are to be confronted.
More than 370 law enforcement officers from 23 different agencies responded to Robb Elementary School that day, 91 of them from DPS.
After initially encountering gunfire inside the school, officers withdrew from the building and waited more than an hour to shoot the gunman. In the meantime, wounded children and teachers were stuck inside, calling 911 and pleading for help.
The gunman ultimately killed 19 children and two teachers.
Separately Tuesday, DPS released a letter clarifying how officers are to respond to active shooters, and instructing them to engage with the assailant “until he is neutralized.”
“DPS Officers responding to an active shooter at a school will be authorized to overcome any delay to neutralizing an attacker,” Texas DPS director Steven McCraw wrote. “When a subject fires a weapon at a school he remains an active shooter until he is neutralized and is not to be treated as a ‘barricaded subject.’”
McCraw called the law enforcement response to the Robb Elementary shooting an “abject failure.”
Pete Arredondo, the police chief of the Uvalde school district, was fired last month over the bungled response. Arredondo has disputed the criticism, which his attorney has characterized as a “public lynching.”
In the immediate aftermath of the violence, Uvalde officials and police issued misleading and false statements about their response, then refused to release public records that would clarify the matter, forcing The Associated Press and other news organizations to file suit.