As state authorities investigate the police response to the Ovaldi school shooting, a mother of two at Robb Elementary School described her experience of the chaos, from handcuffing to rescuing her children.
Angeli Gomez said CBS News She rushed to school at 100mph when she heard the news of an active shooter.
She said Gomez, who had just been on campus for her children’s festivities, parked her car outside the school and drove off to work, but the American field marshal approached her immediately.
She told the television network that they said she was “very uncooperative” when she tried to go after her children and the Field Marshal threatened her with arrest.
“I said, ‘Okay, you have to arrest me because I’m going there, and I’m telling you now, I don’t see any of you there. You’re standing with the snipers and you’re far away. If you all don’t go there, I’m going there.”
“Immediately put me in handcuffs.”
Ovaldi Police asked the American Infantry to release her and she immediately ran toward the school.
She jumped the fence, entered the building, and went to her son’s class. The teacher asked her if they had enough time to leave, and Gomez said yes.
Once she knew the class was safe, she ran to bring her other son to another class.
She interviewed officers who told her she was uncooperative. She told them, “You guys are doing nothing…someone give me a jacket, something,” she recalls.
When she got to her other son’s class, she said the teacher didn’t want to open the door for her.
Then the officers began to take her outside, but when the officers opened the teacher’s door, Gomez saw her son, grabbed him and took him outside, she said.
She said that during the time she was inside the school, she could hear gunshots.
Police response to the shootings came under fire as authorities released conflicting details on the timeline.
According to Stephen McCro, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the 18-year-old shooter was at the school for 80 minutes before he was killed by law enforcement officers.
During that time, he holed up in a fourth-grade classroom and killed 19 students and two of their teachers with an AR-15 rifle.
McCraw said the incident commander at the scene, Pete Arredondo, Ovaldi police chief, believed it was a hostage case rather than an active shooting case.
Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez said Arredondo did not know that children in classrooms were calling 911 for help.
Gutierrez said on Friday that Arredondo wasn’t carrying a radio The massacre unfolded.
Witnesses and parents have since told the media that they urged police officers to storm the school.
Javier Cazares, whose fourth-grader daughter, Jacqueline Cazares, was killed in the attack, told the AP that he raised the idea of storming the school with several other bystanders.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they’re supposed to,” he said. “More could have been done.”
“They were unprepared,” he added.
Gomez told CBS News that authorities were more concerned about keeping parents back than they were about going to school.
‘If anything, they were more aggressive towards the parents who were willing to go in there.’ As I told an officer, ‘I don’t need you to protect me, get away from me, I don’t need your protection.’ She said, ‘If anything, I do.’ I want you to go there with me to go protect my children.”
“They could have saved many lives…they could have done something.”
Gomez added that authorities threatened her to speak out because she was under surveillance and could be charged with obstruction of justice. She said the judge had recently shortened the probation period.
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