'Why Did It Take Over 1h To Go in?': Uvalde PD Flooded With Angry Messages

Cowards. Liars. Absolute failure and disgrace.

These are the words of outraged citizens who have expressed their frustration at the Uvalde Police Department on social media after the timeline of the officers' response to the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday revealed gaps and unexplained delays.

Initial reports of the police response to the shooting—in which 19 children and two teachers were killed—said two school district police officers tried to stop shooter Salvador Ramos from entering the school but they were shot by the teen. Border Patrol officers were then reported to have reached the scene within minutes after being alerted that a gunman had entered the primary school.

But on Thursday, a state official said Ramos walked freely inside the school. "He walked in unobstructed initially," Victor Escalon, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said, declaring there was not a "readily available, armed" officer on the school campus when the gunman walked in wearing full body armor and embracing a rifle.

Ramos entered the school at 11:40 a.m., and officers reportedly arrived on the scene by 11:45 a.m. The gunman was then taken down by an officer at 1 p.m.

"Why did it take over 1h to go in? How many lives could have been saved," writes a Wilmington resident on the Facebook profile of Uvalde Police Department.

The same question is being asked over and over on social media, with people reacting with harsh criticism to footage showing police officers tasing panicked parents outside the school rather than rushing in and rescuing the children.

Uvalde school shooting
Gabriella Uriegas, a soccer teammate of Tess Mata who died in the shooting, cries while holding her mother Geneva Uriegas as they visit a makeshift memorial outside the Uvalde County Courthouse in Texas on May 26, 2022.Texas police faced angry questions May 26, 2022 over why it took an hour to neutralize the gunman who murdered 19 small children and two teachers in Uvalde, as video emerged of desperate parents begging officers to storm the school. CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

Videos have emerged of parents trying to enter the classroom once it appeared obvious that police wouldn't, but were stopped by the officers. Parents begging to be let in to the school to rescue their children were handcuffed, tackled and pepper sprayed.

"Why did the Uvalde police department stand around for an hour arguing with parents whose kids were being murdered?," asks a California resident on Facebook. "Not an ounce of courage among those who did not confront the gunman—you'll have to live with your cowardice," he adds.

"If it wasn't for social media and phones with recording technology, the police would have had us all believe they stormed into that school upon arrival and heroically saved dozens of children. That is literally what they told us. They blatantly lied to the public," a San Antonio resident writes.

Escalon said two Uvalde police officers tried to get into the classroom where the gunman was shooting. "They take rounds, they move back, get cover," he said. Failing to enter the classroom, the two officers called to bring in additional help and focused on evacuating the students and teachers in other classrooms.

Talking with CNN on Thursday, Texas Department of Public Safety Lieutenant Chris Olivarez said officers waited for back up for fears "they could've been shot."

A Uvalde police officer interviewed by KENS 5 said some officers took their own kids out of the school. According to a long-standing practice that became standard procedure after Columbine in 1999, officers responding to a school shooting are urged to confront an active shooter immediately to prevent loss of life.

Questioned about the delay in stopping the shooter at a police briefing on Thursday, Escalon was not able to answer why it took more than one hour for officers to breach the classroom. "Give us time," he said, adding that he will have to question all responding officers. Newsweek has contacted the Uvalde Police Department and the Texas State Police for comment.

But the raw emotions people are feeling in the aftermath of the deadliest school shooting in more than 10 years would hardly be appeased by a call for patience.

On social media, comments criticizing the Uvalde Police Department are multiplying.

"There are many things I could do for 40 minutes—even things I hate. But what I could never do, is listen to 19 children get gunned down inside a school, while standing outside doing nothing," writes a Twitter user.

"If you're a police officer, your JOB is to go in. Your JOB is to rush in. If you can't do that, find another job," someone tweets.

Another Facebook user calls the Uvalde Police Department "the absolute most cowardly example of law enforcement in the history of the country."

On Facebook, "Uvalde police did nothing" is currently a popular topic. On Twitter, the hashtag #UvaldePoliceCowards has emerged.

Most importantly, the grief stricken families of the 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives at the hands of Ramos are raising the same question: Why did it take so long for police to go in and stop the shooter?

The answer will come after the Texas State Police probe into law enforcement's response to the Uvalde shooting is concluded.

Uvalde shooting police Texas
Victor Escalon, Regional Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety South, gives a press conference in Uvalde, Texas on May 26, 2022, two days after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary school. Escalon said the gunman entered the school unobstructed. ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images