A Uvalde mother said she was handcuffed and nearly arrested while imploring law enforcement to enter Robb Elementary School during Tuesday’s shooting, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Angeli Rose Gomez told the newspaper she and many other parents were waiting outside the Texas school, encouraging law enforcement to act, as a gunman raged inside. As her calls grew more urgent, she said, U.S. Marshals handcuffed her and told her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.
She persuaded local Uvalde police officers she knew to free her, before jumping the school fence, running inside to grab her two children and sprinting out with them.
“The police were doing nothing,” Gomez said. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
A spokesperson for the U.S. Marshals told HuffPost in a statement its deputy marshals “never arrested or placed anyone in handcuffs while securing the crime scene perimeter.”
“Our deputy marshals maintained order and peace in the midst of the grief-stricken community that was gathering around the school,” the statement said. “Our hearts are heavy with sorrow and sadness at this horrific crime. We send our condolences to all the victims and families affected by this awful tragedy.”
Gomez said she also saw a father get pepper sprayed and another get tackled to the ground by police at the frantic scene.
Once law enforcement had shot and killed the gunman, Gomez described seeing police use a taser on a father who was approaching a bus to pick up his child.
“They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us. That’s how it felt,” she said.
The shooter, armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle, killed 19 children and two teachers before he was taken down by a responding Border Patrol officer.
The police response has drawn increasing scrutiny as more details and timelines of the attack emerge. Multiple videos circulating on social media show parents pleading with police to do something as they waited outside the building.
“There’s a f**king shooting at the school and these f**king cops are telling everybody to leave, dude, while everybody’s here trying to pick up their f**king kids,” a man can be heard saying in a livestream he filmed on the scene. “They’re just all f**king parking outside, man ― they need to go in there... The cops ain’t doing s**t but standing outside.”
Another video shows a chaotic scene outside the school, with some people shouting at police while others are heard crying and screaming. Officers can be seen restraining a man on the pavement, while another stands in front of them with a taser and a woman is screaming “he’s a parent!”
Authorities faced questions and backlash Thursday over how much time elapsed before law enforcement burst into the classroom to put an end to the rampage.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said Wednesday that after the shooter opened fire on a school security officer, a full 40 minutes to an hour passed before a U.S. Border Patrol team fatally shot the gunman. A different spokesperson said they were still working to confirm the timeline.