A mother of two children at Robb Elementary School ran into the school to rescue her kids, despite receiving threats from law enforcement officers waiting outside the building.
In an interview with CBS News, Angeli Gomez told the story of how she was initially held back and handcuffed by a U.S. marshal when she tried to enter the school. According to Gomez, the marshal who handcuffed her said they were going to arrest her because she was being “very uncooperative.” Gomez then responded, “Well, you’re going to have to arrest me, because I’m going in there.”
Gomez says that after Uvalde police officers told the marshal to release her, she immediately ran for the school, jumping the surrounding fence and entering the building. Once inside, she located the classroom of one of her sons. She was then able to safely bring him outside of the school, where law enforcement officers were still waiting.
When Gomez tried to go back into the school to get her other son, she was stopped by officers for a second time. She says after protesting with them about their lack of action, she was eventually able to slip away and re-enter the building. There, she found her second son and brought him to safety outside.
Gomez wasn’t the only Uvalde parent who attempted to push back against law enforcement’s slow-moving response that day. According to witnesses at the scene, a crowd of hundreds formed outside the school, with many trying to enter the building being restrained. One man who was there, Miguel Palacios, said some parents started trying to tear down the chain-link fence surrounding the school.
“The parents were on one side of the fence, the Border Patrol and police were on the other side of the fence, and they were trying to tear it open,” he said.
Since the shooting took place, calls have grown for accountability for the law enforcement officers who took so long in confronting the gunman. Much of the scrutiny has come to rest on Pete Arredondo, the chief of the school district’s police department, whose decision it was to wait nearly an hour for backup instead of charging the shooter immediately.
Regarding Arredondo’s decision, the chief of the Texas state police said it was the “wrong decision, period.”