Angeli Rose Gómez, a mother who confronted the Police in Uvalde (Texas) and risked her life to rescue her children from the shooting at Robb Elementary School, tells Efe that the authorities “failed” the 21 victims and denounces who has suffered “harassment” by police officers.

On May 24, Gómez was working in the field collecting onions like every day when he was told that there was a shooting at his children’s school, ages 8 and 9.

“My mom called me and said ‘There’s shooting here at Robb School. I don’t know where the shooter is but there’s shooting. You have to come,'” he says.

He does not remember how, but he assures that he ran through the fields and drove his car at more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour to the entrance of the school in Uvalde.

“Immediately the policemen who were there approached me and told me that I couldn’t park in that place, so I replied ‘Why are you talking to me here, why aren’t you going into the school, what are you doing to save the kids?'” she recalls.

Instead of answering her, the officers handcuffed her and told her that they would not release her until she calmed down.

“I knew the only way I was going to be released was to tell them I was going to cooperate, and they released me three or five minutes later,” he says.

She could only think about the safety of her children. When she was freed from the handcuffs and, in the midst of the confusion, she saw an open school door and ran into the class of one of her children, and together with the teacher managed to get the whole group out.

“Then I went back and got to my second son’s room. At first the teacher didn’t want to open the door for me and the police tried to get me out, but I told them I wouldn’t leave if they didn’t evacuate the whole class as well, and that’s when they started get them out,” he says.

All this happened during the armed raid by Salvador Ramos, 18, who shot dead 19 children and two teachers, and injured 17 others.

“They failed us; the police failed us all,” he says.

She assures that once her children were out, she stayed in the place looking for a niece, and witnessed how other parents begged the police on their knees to come in and save their children.

“Some parents, like me, were threatened with handcuffing, another with pepper spray. They treated us as if we were the shooters, the criminals, while they did nothing to the real murderer,” he narrates.

She is convinced that lives would have been saved if the agents had entered quickly.

“What hurts the most is that many parents were outside the school begging the police, not knowing that some of their children were being killed at the time,” says Gomez.

Parents have blamed the decision to wait so long on Pete Arredondo, local police chief, currently suspended from his duties.

“From the beginning they lied to us and I think they continue to lie to us; they keep changing the version of events over and over again,” he says.

He relates that hours after the shooting many parents were desperate because they had no news of their children. Some had been told that perhaps the children were in hospitals in other cities, others that perhaps they left school on their own.

“Many parents turned to social networks and television asking for cooperation (…). All this while the police themselves knew that the children were dead,” he laments.

The grief of the parents and the community caused them to organize to demand a state change in the laws that allowed an 18-year-old to freely purchase an AR15-style semi-automatic weapon.

Gómez is part of the newly formed Fierce Madres group of Latina mothers, already made up of more than 1,000 people, many of them relatives of the deceased.

He considers a first step the federal law recently signed by President Joe Biden that strengthens background checks on gun buyers up to 21 years old.

However, she is convinced that changes are required at the state level, especially in Texas, where the purchase and carrying of firearms is favored.

Gómez and other parents ask that Robb Elementary not be demolished while the facts are fully investigated, and above all that there be an independent investigation.

She claims that her criticism has made her a target of the authorities, who in her opinion want to silence her.

“They continue to harass me. There are constantly patrols stopping or passing near my house, and sometimes they have stopped me on the street to check my car for no reason,” he denounces.

He maintains that on social networks he has received strong criticism and messages that tell him “There are no police here to help you, just as you say there were none at school.”

Despite this, he affirms that he will not stop fighting since, although his children survived, they continue to be very afraid and do not want to leave the house alone.

“No child has to be afraid to go out; they don’t have to be afraid to go to school,” he concludes.

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