La Gaceta De Mexico - Texas police face scrutiny over 'late' massacre response

Texas police face scrutiny over 'late' massacre response
Texas police face scrutiny over 'late' massacre response / Photo: © AFP

Texas police face scrutiny over 'late' massacre response

Desperate parents scuffled with police and pleaded with them to storm the Texas school where a gunman ultimately killed 19 children and two teachers, new video showed Thursday, as questions mounted over the authorities' response to the massacre.

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In one jolty, nearly seven minute clip posted on YouTube, parents living a nightmare -- a school shooting under way with their kids inside -- are seen screaming expletives at police behind yellow tape trying to keep them away from Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde.

"It's my daughter!" one woman bellows amid chaotic scenes of moaning, crying and shoving.

In another shorter video, parents mill around what is apparently the rear of the school, and complain angrily that police are doing nothing as the worst school shooting in a decade is unfolding.

One woman, frantic about her son, yells to police, "if they've got a shot, shoot him or something. Go on."

Jacinto Cazares, whose daughter Jacklyn died in Tuesday's massacre, said he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting.

"There was at least 40 lawmen armed to the teeth but didn't do a darn thing (until) it was far too late," Cazares told ABC News Wednesday night.

"The situation could've been over quick if they had better tactical training."

Daniel Myers and his wife Matilda -- both local pastors -- told AFP they saw parents at the scene growing frantic as police appeared to wait on reinforcements before entering the school.

"Parents were desperate," said Daniel Myers, 72. "They were ready to go in. One family member, he says: 'I was in the military, just give me a gun, I'll go in. I'm not going to hesitate. I'll go in.'"

- 40 minutes -

The tight-knit Latino community was changed forever when Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old with a history of being bullied, entered the school with an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

According to the Austin Statesman, authorities are examining the police response, including what steps they took to stop the gunman.

Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw told CNN Ramos was inside for about 40 minutes before police managed to shoot and kill him.

Officials say he was confronted by a school resource officer, but was able to enter through a back door, making his way to two adjoining classrooms where he started shooting.

Hearing shots from the school, police officers at first ran inside and themselves came under gunfire.

Some police started to break windows and evacuate children and teachers, while law enforcement helped pin the shooter in place until a tactical team that included US Border Patrol agents was assembled.

Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said the force's agents "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.

- 'I have no words' -

Speaking out for the first time, Ramos's mother Adriana Reyes told ABC News her son could be aggressive when angry but was "not a monster" -- and that she was not aware he had been buying weapons.

"I had an uneasy feeling sometimes, like 'what are you up to?,'" she told ABC Wednesday evening. "We all have a rage, that some people have it more than others."

Authorities said Ramos shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before attacking the school.

"Those kids... I have no words," Reyes said through tears. "I don't know what to say about those poor kids."

The Uvalde shooting was the deadliest since 20 elementary-age children and six staff were killed at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

- 'Common sense' -

The Georgia-based gun manufacturer Daniel Defense said it was its "understanding" that Ramos used a weapon made by the company, without specifying how he obtained it.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community devastated by this evil act," the company said in a statement to AFP, promising its full cooperation with investigators.

Pressed Wednesday on how Ramos was able to obtain the murder weapon, Texas Governor Greg Abbott brushed aside suggestions tougher gun laws were needed in his state -- where attachment to the right to bear arms runs deep.

But in the shooting's wake President Joe Biden -- who will head to Uvalde in coming days -- has called on lawmakers to take on America's powerful gun lobby and enact "common sense gun reforms."

Gun control activists and lawmakers addressed reporters outside the US Capitol on Thursday, vowing no let-up in their efforts in the run-up to November's midterm elections.

"Gun violence prevention is going to be on the ballot," said the Democratic senator from Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal

The March for Our Lives -- founded by survivors of the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida -- has meanwhile called for nationwide protests on June 11 to press for gun control.