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House Democrats want to probe role Border Patrol played in Uvalde response: 'This tragedy raises questions'

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SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats revealed Thursday they want to investigate the Border Patrol over the role its agents played in the Uvalde school massacre response.

What is the background?

Members of the Border Patrol tactical unit, known as BORTAC, arrived at Robb Elementary School about an hour after the gunman began his rampage inside. Local officers told the operators to help assist with evacuating children from the school, NBC News reported.

But after local police refused to enter the school to confront the gunman, the Border Patrol agents led a group of law enforcement inside the school, where they finally confronted the killer. A BORTAC agent is credited with neutralizing the killer.

Agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations were also on scene.

What did House Dems say?

House Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking him to explain the Border Patrol's role in the Uvalde response.

"While details surrounding the horrific shooting at Robb Elementary School are still emerging, it has been reported that U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) agents and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents brought this deadly incident to an end when they contravened local law enforcement’s decision not to engage and entered the classroom and killed the shooter," the letter stated.

The Democrats claimed they "commend" the law enforcement agents who responded to end the massacre and prevented further loss of life, but they also noted what they believe is an issue that needs to be addressed.

They explained:

At the same time, this tragedy raises questions about what authorities and responsibilities DHS personnel have in such situations, what agreements are in place related to the Department’s law enforcement personnel providing support to State and local law enforcement agencies, and whether the Department intends to bolster its school security efforts beyond existing initiatives like the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s School Safety and Security resources and the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center’s work on targeted school violence.

It's not yet clear when the committee will convene for its briefing. Mayorkas has not yet responded to the letter.

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