UVALDE, Texas — More details are coming out about the time that elapsed between when a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and when police said the mass shooting ended.
Onlookers said they had to urge police to enter the school.
“Go in there! Go in there!” one woman yelled at officers shortly after the situation began, Juan Carranza said, according to The Associated Press.
Carranza said the officers did not listen and did not enter the school.
Javier Cazares went to the building where his daughter, Jacklyn, was in fourth grade. Police were still gathering outside when he arrived.
He said he and other people who were outside the building were considering putting their own lives in danger and rushing the school.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” Cazares said, according to the AP. “More could have been done.”
“They were unprepared,” Cazares said.
Another parent, Angeli Rose Gomez, told The Wall Street Journal, “the police were doing nothing. They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Gomez drove 40 minutes after learning about the shooting.
She was one of the parents who told the police to go in, first politely then urgently. She ended up in handcuffs and federal marshals told her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation, the Journal reported.
Gomez was eventually released after she spoke with a local officer she knew. She said a father was tackled and thrown to the ground and another parent was pepper-sprayed.
Eventually, Gomez jumped the school fence, ran inside and grabbed her children, running from the school with them, the newspaper reported.
Video of the encounter between parents and bystanders and the police was shared on Facebook. Warning, the nearly hour-long video is filled with profanity and will be shocking and uncomfortable to watch for viewers.
Jacklyn was one of 19 students who were killed in Tuesday’s rampage. Two teachers were also killed. The gunman has been identified as Salvador Ramos, 18.
Officials said that Ramos “encountered” a school district security officer but there are conflicting reports on whether the shooter and the officer exchanged gunfire before Ramos entered the building. Officials clarified that statement Thursday afternoon saying that a resource officer was not available on campus and the “encounter” did not happen.
The gunman then ran to a classroom, where he shot students and teachers.
Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said it was 40 minutes to an hour from when the gunman “encountered” the security officer and when a tactical team shot him, the AP reported. But that statement has now been disproven.
McCraw also told CNN, “It’s going to be within, like 40 minutes or something, (within) an hour.”
“The bottom line is law enforcement was there,” McCraw said, according to the AP. “They did engage immediately. They did contain (Ramos) in the classroom.’
Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district covers Uvalde, told CNN that Ramos was in a 30-minute standoff with officers.
“And then (the shooting) stops, and he barricades himself in. That’s where there’s kind of a lull in the action,” Gonzales told CNN. “All of it, I understand, lasted about an hour, but this is where there’s kind of a 30-minute lull. They feel as if they’ve got him barricaded in. The rest of the students in the school are now leaving.”
Raul Ortiz, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol, said there was no delay.
“They didn’t hesitate. They came up with a plan. They entered that classroom and they took care of the situation as quickly as they possibly could,” Ortiz told CNN.
Despite the assurances, Carranza said officers should have been in the school sooner, the AP reported.
“There were more of them. There was just one of him,” Carranza said.
Officials are now saying they are going to investigate the response by officers “amid conflicting witness statements,” a reporter with the Statesman and KVUE has discovered.
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