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UVALDE, Texas – A city resident who arrived outside Robb Elementary School while law enforcement was responding to Tuesday’s shooting expressed frustration after learning police did not immediately enter the classroom.
“If you assume that you have a barricaded subject—you cannot assume that,” Uvalde resident Laura de la Cruz told Fox News while holding back tears. “You know it’s a school, you know children are in there, you know the time, you know kids are in those classrooms.”
Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said police didn’t immediately engage the shooter because “the on-scene commander at the time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject.”
“There were plenty of officers to do what needed to be done, with one exception, is that the incident commander inside believed he needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that time,” McCraw said. He also said waiting was the “wrong decision.”
In response to the officials comments, de la Cruz told Fox News: “You go, you get fired at, you fire back and keep charging,”
“There were 19 people on site to one shooter. One goes, if you get killed, the next one goes. You just keep going,” she continued. “You got to out blast this guy.”
For over 45 minutes, 19 police officers waited in the hallway outside the fourth-grade classroom where Salvador Ramos had barricaded himself in, according to McCraw. The gunman ultimately shot and killed 19 children and two teachers.
“That’s what this community expects you to do, to take a bullet for us,” de la Cruz, who said she knew some victims killed, told Fox News.
Another Uvalde resident, Elizabeth, said: “That’s what they’re paid to do, you took the job.”
De la Cruz said the community was “mourning” and “grieving,” but now also “angry.”
De la Cruz was leaving lunch Tuesday when she heard sirens and saw police cars go by. The Uvalde local said she went to the scene “while it was happening.”
De la Cruz described watching officers hold back Robb Elementary School parents.
“They were keeping people back,” de La Cruz said. “Keeping people at bay like they couldn’t come in. They were not allowed through.”
“These guys had vests, tactical weapon vests, and they had their guns, and they did nothing but hold people back,” she contiunued.
One Robb Elementary mother told The Wall Street Journal she was handcuffed for impeding an investigation after urging police to enter the school. She said she saw a father get Tased for trying to collect his child off a bus.
“Nobody knew the status of what was going on,” de la Cruz told Fox News, noting that she saw parents crying. “I assumed that the shooter was already done, but apparently not.”