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President Biden, first lady Jill Biden pray with Uvalde, visit with families of shooting victims

The president spent several hours meeting with community and religious leaders, as well as victims' families, after a gunman killed 21 people there on Tuesday.

UVALDE, Texas — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden departed Uvalde shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday, after meeting with grieving families and honoring the victims of Tuesday’s mass school shooting in which 19 children and two teachers were killed. 

Air Force One landed at San Antonio's JBSA-Kelly Air Field just after 10 a.m. Sunday, then the president and first lady rode Marine One to Uvalde.

The visit allowed the Bidens to “grieve with the community that lost 21 lives in the horrific” shooting at Robb Elementary School, the White House said in an earlier statement about the trip.

Late Sunday morning, the president and first lady visited the memorial site at Robb Elementary School to pay their respects. The couple placed a bouquet of flowers among the hundreds already brought to the school.

They also walked past displays showing photos of each of the victims. The first lady placed her hand on each photo as they viewed them. Onlookers chanted "Do something" as Biden walked back to his motorcade. Before leaving, he looked into the crowd and said, "We will."

The Bidens then left the memorial site to attend Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde.

Following the service, they were scheduled to meet privately with the families of the shooting victims.

Later on Sunday afternoon, the president met with first responders before departing Uvalde to return to San Antonio. From there, at about 6:45 p.m., the Bidens boarded Air Force One for their return trip to Delaware.

Biden spoke about the Uvalde shooting on Tuesday. Drawing upon his personal experience about the pain of losing a child, he called on the country to tighten gun laws in response to the shooting.

’“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

As Biden was visiting Uvalde on Sunday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will conduct a critical incident review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde that killed 21 people Tuesday.

"This assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent," the department said in a news release. "The Justice Department will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”

RELATED: Police inaction moves to center of Uvalde shooting probe

The actions — or more notably, the inaction — of a school district police chief and other law enforcement officers have moved swiftly to the center of the investigation into the school shooting.

The delay in confronting the shooter, who was inside the school for more than an hour, could lead to discipline, lawsuits and even criminal charges against police.

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