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DOJ to Investigate Police Response to Mass Shooting at Texas Elementary School

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department announced on Sunday that it would investigate law enforcement’s handling of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

“At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The shooting claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers before law enforcement officers confronted the shooter and killed him. 

Police have faced widespread criticism over their failure to act promptly to stop the 18-year-old shooter, who had barricaded himself in a classroom full of children. 

More than an hour had passed before the shooter was killed.

FBI Reports 61 ‘Active Shooter’ Incidents in 2021, Highest on Record

Via FBI

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. had 61 “active shooter” incidents in 2021, a 52.5% jump from the previous year and the highest number on record, according to a new FBI report.

The shootings occurred in more than 30 states and resulted in 103 deaths and 140 injuries, which don’t include the shooter. Of those killed, two were law enforcement officers.  

In 2020, there were 40 “active shooter” incidents and 30 in both 2018 and 2019. 

The shooters ranged in age from 12 to 67. 

Of the 61 attackers, 30 were apprehended by law enforcement, 11 committed suicide, and 14 were killed by law enforcement. 

Happy Memorial Day from ticklethewire.com

How One Border Patrol Agent Rescued Students with His Barber’s Shotgun

Border Patrol Agent Jacob Albarado, via Facebook

By Steve Neavling

Jacob Albarado, an off-duty CBP agent, was getting his hair cut when he received a frantic text message from his wife. 

“There’s an active shooter,” she wrote. “Help.”

Albarado grabbed a shotgun from his barber and rushed to the Robb Elementary School, where 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos was opening fire, The New York Times reports.

Albarado’s wife and 8-year-old daughter were in the school. 

As a tactical team was preparing to enter the school, Albarado and several other officers slipped into a wing of the building where his wife and daughter were. 

While searching for his daughter, he began “clearing all the classes in her wing.”

After finding his daughter, Jayda, they hugged but he continued rescuing students. 

“I did what I was trained to do,” Albarado said.

Later, in a Facebook post, Albarado said the shooter had killed one of his daughters’ teammates and friends.

“I’m so angry, saddened and grateful all at once. Only time will heal their pain and hopefully changes will be made at all schools in the U.S. and teachers will be trained & allowed to carry in order to protect themselves and students,” he wrote.

Another Border Patrol agent is credited with shooting the gunman. He was shot and hospitalized.

DOJ Won’t Charge FBI Agents for Mishandling Probe of Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar is charged with child pornography.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has decided it won’t pursue charges against two FBI agents for mishandling the sex-abuse investigation into Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor. 

In a statement Thursday, the DOJ said it “is adhering to its prior decision not to bring federal criminal charges” after a “careful re-review” of the allegations against the agents.

“This does not in any way reflect a view that the investigation of Nassar was handled as it should have been, nor in any way reflect approval or disregard of the conduct of the former agents,” the Justice Department said. “While the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General has outlined serious concerns about the former agents’ conduct during the Nassar investigation, and also described how evidence shows that during interviews in the years after the events in question both former agents appear to have provided inaccurate or incomplete information to investigators, the Principles of Federal Prosecution require more to bring a federal criminal case.”

The review comes about 10 months after the Justice Department’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in a searing 119-page report that the FBI mishandled the investigation.

Horowitz also found that W. Jay Abbot, special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office, lied to investigators about the botched investigation and his personal conflicts in the case. 

Abbott retired in January 2018, and Agent Michael Langeman was fired for his role in the investigation. 

According to the report, Nassar sexually abused at least 70 young athletes between 2015 and August 2016. Nassar is effectively serving a life sentence in prison. 

In September, FBI Director Christopher Wray apologized for the bureau’s “totally unacceptable” fails in the Nassar case.

“I’m sorry that so many people let you down again and again,” Wray said to the victims while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am especially sorry that there were people at the F.B.I. who had their own chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed, and that is inexcusable. It never should have happened, and we are doing everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”

ATF Nominee Dettelbach Makes Case for Leading the Agency

Steve Dettelbach testifies before a Senate committee. Photo: U.S. Senate

By Steve Neavling

President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF, Steve Dettelbach, pledged to leave politics out of the job during a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday, just two days after a mass shooting at an elementary school shooting in Texas. 

“Politics can play no role in law enforcement. None at all,” he said, according to CNN.

“I worked under Republican administrations, and I worked under Democratic administrations as a federal prosecutor and I have lived that credo and I vow to continue to do it because people need to have confidence that people in law enforcement’s only agenda is to enforce the law – and if you’re at the ATF to catch the bad guys and protect the public,” he added.

In his opening remarks, Dettelbach addressed the rise in violent crime. 

“We face many threats to public safety, both new and old,” Dettelbach said in opening remarks. “Violent crime is increasing, firearms violence and mass shootings are increasing, hate crimes and religious violence are increasing, as is violent extremism. If confirmed, I promise to do everything I can to enforce the law, to respect the Constitution of the United States and to partner with law enforcement to protect the safety and the rights of innocent and law-abiding Americans.”

Dettelbach called the school shooting “unimaginable.”

The ATF has been without a permanent leader since ATF Director B. Todd Jones led the agency from 2011 to 2015. 

After the hearing, the White House said in a statement that it’s critical that the Senate approve Dettelbach to head the ATF. 

“After being vacant for seven years, it’s never been more important to have a tough, experienced, leader like Steve Dettelbach at the helm of ATF to support the agents risking their lives on the front lines every day to protectthe American people. And as we saw with the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo – where ATF agents have played a key role in the investigations – and with daily gun violence plaguing too many of our communities, now is the time to provide ATF the leadership it needs to redouble its work to enforce our gun laws and make our communities safer.”

Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as attorney for the U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio, a position he held from 2009 to 2016. He launched an unsuccessful campaign to serve as attorney general in Ohio in 2018. Since then, he has worked in the private sector for BakerHostetler. 

Heads of FBI, Homeland Security Issue Statements Following School Shooting in Texas

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued statements Wednesday following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

Here is Wray’s statement:

“Yesterday we got the news we all dread. Parents received calls that are too devastating to even fathom. And a community, really the whole nation, was shaken by another horrific mass shooting. This time—once again—at an elementary school full of young children just days away from finishing the school year.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the entire community in Uvalde. I know you’re experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma. The entire FBI family feels your heartbreak and stands with you. There will certainly be more we learn about this heinous attack in the days ahead, and I know the American people—and especially the people of Uvalde—are looking for answers.

“I want to acknowledge the heroism of all law enforcement who responded immediately to the scene. For our part, the FBI will continue to work around the clock with the Texas Department of Public Safety; the Uvalde Police Department; and our other state, local, and federal partners to assist in any way we can. We’re dedicating the full resources of the FBI San Antonio Field Office and a host of other FBI Divisions to helping the Texas DPS and Uvalde PD, which have the lead in the investigation.

“On top of that, we’ve deployed national resources, including investigative and analytical support, evidence response and laboratory personnel, victim services professionals to assist families of the victims, and crisis management and behavioral analysis units.

“We’re absolutely heartbroken about yesterday’s tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the Uvalde community as we begin to try to move forward.”

Here is Mayorkas’ statement:

“No words can come close to comforting the families of those lost in Uvalde yesterday. We at the Department of Homeland Security are horrified by this callous act of violence. We grieve for the families and loved ones of the children and teachers lost, and with the people of the community of Uvalde. We are hopeful for the full and fast recovery of those who suffered injuries.

“We are grateful for the courageous members of our Border Patrol, many of whom are part of the Uvalde and surrounding communities, who immediately responded to the scene along with local and state law enforcement. Without hesitation, they put themselves between the shooter and students to end the bloodshed and administer medical aid. Without question, their heroism yesterday saved lives. A Border Patrol Agent was injured in the crossfire yesterday and we know the loss and trauma from this tragedy will continue to impact many other CBP families for a long time to come.

“The Department will continue coordinating with federal, state, and local partners and offering our full support to the Uvalde community. As we pray for the families and loved ones and recognize the bravery of frontline law enforcement personnel, we must redouble our collective efforts to make our communities safer.”

Two FBI Agents Named Executive Assistant Directors of FBI Branches

Larissa L. Knapp

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray appointed two agents to serve as executive assistant directors of separate branches. 

Robert Brown was named executive assistant director of the Science and Technology Branch. He had been serving as assistant director of the Operations Technology Division. 

Larissa L. Knapp was named executive assistant director of the National Security Branch, where she will oversee all national security investigative and intelligence operations. Knapp had been serving as executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch. 

Knapp began working for the FBI in 1997 as a special agent in the New York Field Office. Since then, she has held several leadership positions, including deputy assistant director of the Intelligence Operations Branch in the Directorate of Intelligence in 2017, special agent in charge of the Counterterrorism Division in 2018 and assistant director of the Security Division in 2020. 

Knapp received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Union College in New York and a juris doctor from Hamline University in Minnesota. 

Robert Brown

Brown joined the bureau in 2002 and was assigned to the Miami Field Office, where he investigated organized crime. 

In 2011, Brown led the Raleigh Resident Agency of the Charlotte Field Office in North Carolina. In 2014, he served as assistant special director in charge of the Columbia Field Office in South Carolina. In 2016, he was promoted to section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters in 2016. 

A year later, Brown was named deputy assistant director for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, and in 2018, he became special agent in charge of the Louisville Field Office in Kentucky. 

Brown graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. In addition, he received a master’s degree in public administration from Norwich University. 

He served as a deputy sheriff for nine year before joining the bureau.