A Uvalde mother said she was handcuffed and other parents were tackled and Tasered by police while urging them to stop the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Texas law enforcement officials, who claimed that police “engaged” the gunman before he entered the school, on Thursday retracted their claim. Instead, DPS official Victor Escalon said, the 18-year-old gunman entered the building unobstructed through a side door.
Escalon said there was no school police officer on the scene at all. He added that the shooter was outside of the school for 12 minutes and shot at two bystanders and the school building before entering the school.
Escalon said two officers tried to confront the shooter but pulled back after being wounded. It was not until an hour later that a Border Patrol tactical team arrived and breached the door of the classroom where the shooter was barricaded, killing him in a shootout.
Frustrated parents said they begged police to enter the building amid the rampage.
“The police were doing nothing,” Angeli Rose Gomez, whose children attend the school, told the Journal. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Gomez heard about the shooting and drove 40 miles to the school, where police officers were gathered outside. Gomez and others insisted that law enforcement enter the building before U.S. Marshals put her in handcuffs and said she was being arrested for intervening in an active investigation.
Gomez convinced local officers that she knew to persuade the Marshals to let her go. Once free, Gomez said she climbed the school fence and ran into the school to evacuate her children.
The U.S. Marshals Service denied anyone was handcuffed.
“Our deputy marshals maintained order and peace in the midst of the grief-stricken community that was gathering around the school,” a spokesperson said.
Parents tackled, Tasered:
Gomez wasn’t the only one. Desirae Garza, whose niece America Jo Garza was killed in the shooting, said her brother Angel was handcuffed by local police after trying to reach and save his stepdaughter.
“Nobody was telling him anything,” she said. “He was trying to find out. He wanted to know where his daughter was.”
Gomez told the Journal that another father was tackled and thrown to the ground by police,
Another parent, she said, was pepper-sprayed.
After the attack, Gomez said she saw police Taser a father who approached a bus to collect his daughter after they were evacuated.
"They didn't do that to the shooter, but they did that to us,” she said. “That's how it felt.”