Parents of children murdered in the US’s deadliest school shooting in a decade have accused police of being “unprepared” and failing to respond quickly enough.
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Witnesses to the atrocity have said that officers “had to be urged to enter” Robb Elementary School where the shooter, Salvador Ramos, killed 19 children and two teachers, The Independent reported.
Ramos, 18, “barricaded himself into a classroom” and was “inside the school for around 40 minutes” before being shot by Border Patrol agents.
Javier Cazares, whose nine-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed in the attack, told the paper that he raised the idea of entering the school with a group of parents due to the police appearing “unprepared”.
“Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he recounted saying. “More could have been done.”
Police have “defended their handling” of the situation, the Financial Times reported. At a press conference, Texas Department of Public Safety regional director Victor Escalon said that officers were faced with a “complex situation” in which they had to make “calls to help to solve this problem and stop it immediately” while also “evacuating” civilians .
However, criticism has mounted further after it emerged that one student was killed by Ramos after “police told children hiding to call out for help, alerting the gunman to her location”, The Telegraph reported.
A boy who was inside the school during the attack told local news station Kens5: “When the cops came, the cop said: ‘Yell if you need help!’ And one of the persons in my class said ‘help’. [Ramos] overheard and he came in and shot her.
“The cop barged into that classroom. [Ramos] shot at the cop and the cops started shooting. I was hiding hard and telling my friend not to talk.”