Per Wall Street Journal: Frantic Uvalde Parents Handcuffed and Tased By Police While Outside of School (UPDATE ADDED)
[guest post by Dana]
The Wall Street Journal reports that parents who were waiting outside of Robb Elementary School while there was an active shooter inside, claim that they begged the police who were standing around to take action. This is absolutely damning. First, what happened outside of the school (Note: I’m going to quote heavily from the report because it is so mind-boggling awful):
The gunman behind the mass shooting at an elementary school here lingered outside the building for 12 minutes firing shots before walking into the school and barricading in a classroom where he killed 19 children and two teachers, authorities said…
Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said he couldn’t say why no one stopped the deceased gunman, 18 year-old Salvador Ramos, from entering the school during that time Tuesday. Most of the shots Ramos fired came during the first several minutes when he entered the school, Mr. Escalon said.
DPS officials previously said an armed school officer confronted Ramos as he arrived at the school. Mr. Escalon said Thursday that information was incorrect and no one encountered Ramos as he arrived at the school. “There was not an officer readily available and armed,” Mr. Escalon said.
According to Escalon, here is the timetable of events. Note that a 911 call was placed just two minutes after the gunman began shooting at witnesses outside of the school:
Ramos shot his grandmother Tuesday morning and then used her truck to drive to Robb Elementary School, crashing the truck into a nearby ditch at 11:28 a.m…The gunman then began shooting at people at a funeral home across the street, prompting a 911 call reporting a gunman at the school at 11:30. Ramos then climbed a fence onto school grounds and began firing before walking inside, unimpeded, at 11:40. The first police arrived on the scene at 11:44 and exchanged gunfire with Ramos, who barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom. There, he killed the students and teachers.
It was at 12:40 – an hour later – that a Border Tactical Team got inside the school and killed the shooter.
With regard to the frantic parents outside of the school gates – who knew the shooter was inside with possibly their children this is the account from the Journal based on videos and parent/witness statements:
Videos circulated on social media showing parents confronting police outside the building while Ramos was barricaded in the classroom.
“The police were doing nothing,” said Angeli Rose Gomez, who after learning about the shooting drove 40 miles to Robb Elementary School, where her children are in second and third grade. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Ms. Gomez, a farm supervisor, said that she was one of numerous parents who began encouraging—first politely, and then with more urgency—police and other law enforcement to enter the school. After a few minutes, she said, federal marshals approached her and put her in handcuffs, telling her she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.
Ms. Gomez convinced local Uvalde police officers whom she knew to persuade the marshals to set her free. Around her, the scene was frantic. She said she saw a father tackled and thrown to the ground by police and a third pepper-sprayed. Once freed from her cuffs, Ms. Gomez made her distance from the crowd, jumped the school fence, and ran inside to grab her two children. She sprinted out of the school with them.
Videos circulated on social media Wednesday and Thursday of frantic family members trying to get access to Robb Elementary as the attack was unfolding, some of them yelling at police who blocked them from entering.
“Shoot him or something!” a woman’s voice can be heard yelling on a video, before a man is heard saying about the officers, “They’re all just [expletive] parked outside, dude. They need to go in there.”
After the confrontation ended with Ramos dead, school buses began to arrive to transport students from the school, according to Ms. Gomez. She said she saw police use a Taser on a local father who approached the bus to collect his child.
“They didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us. That’s how it felt,” Ms. Gomez said.
For his part, Escalon says that “Our job is to report the facts and have answers. We’re not there yet”.
Q: How is it that the police were not compelled to do more than just form a perimeter around the site while an active shooter was killing any number of individuals in real-time? Why weren’t they obligated to act?
I cannot imagine the rage of these parents. And for any who were frantically waiting outside the gates and weren’t as fortunate as Ms. Gomez to be able to rescue their children, that rage and anguish must be a hundredfold.
ADDED: In light of frantic Uvalde parents desperately trying to rescue their children while the police stood idly by, and then being restrained, handcuffed, or tased, it’s pretty sickening to learn that some police officers went into the school to…rescue their own children. While I’m thankful their children were spared, what about the parents outside the gate who loved their children just as fiercely and wanted to rescue them just as much as the police officers???
My God. It wasn’t just that cops waited 40 min to storm the school. A Texas DPS Lieutenant confirms cops stormed the school to get only their own kids and leave while the terrorist was still killing kids. Horrific. Horrific. Horrific. pic.twitter.com/tbzUe3MrXr
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) May 26, 2022
I’m going to leave you with the sight and awful sounds of anguished parents who were desperate to get to their children:
*BREAKING* Robb Elementary School shooting. Uvalde Texas. This video shows the chaos outside of the school where parents were trying to find their children.#Uvalde #RobbElementary #SchoolShooting pic.twitter.com/yx97i6Bh9w
— TheFamily'sSoup TV (@FamilysSoupTV) May 25, 2022
UPDATE: Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Chris Olivarez answered questions today from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer about why the police did not engage with the shooter. Frustratingly, the short answer is “they might have been shot”:
Blitzer asked his guest if officers at the scene made the correct choice to wait for backup before they went after the gunman.
Olivarez said officers were inside the school quickly, and they heard gunfire when they arrived. They called for reinforcements, he said. The officers in the building waited for a special tactical team to show up as they isolated the shooter to one classroom.
“Don’t current best practices, don’t they call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?” Blitzer asked him.
Olivarez said the officers who arrived at the school quickly might have been shot had they attempted to take out the gunman alone. He said,
“The active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life, but also one thing that – of course, the American people need to understand — that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots.
They are receiving gunshots. At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.
I’m left wondering how many of those children could’ve been saved and survived their gunshot wounds had the police decided that the risk was worth it instead of leaving them trapped inside with a madman and his guns.