The mother who saved her children during the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting has a message to police officers who she blames for their inaction and for holding back parents: "Turn in your badge."
Angeli-Rose Gomez, placed in handcuffs outside Robb Elementary School on May 24 before hopping a fence and pulling her two sons out of the building herself, spoke with Fox News Digital last week — before a scathing 77-page report was released Sunday noting "systemic failures and egregiously poor decision-making" on behalf of law enforcement responding to the active shooting situation.
Despite a robust response of at least 376 law enforcement officers, the new report notes a chaotic and uncoordinated scene, stressing how police officials prioritized their own safety over the lives of students and teachers and waited more than an hour to confront 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos.
"Message to the cops: turn in your badge, this isn’t the job for you, you aren’t willing to protect and serve. If you can’t own up to your job, turn in your badge. You let everyone down," Gomez told Fox News Digital. "All need to turn in their badge. All the cops mistreating us outside need to be punished. If they would’ve just left all the parents would’ve done way more than they would’ve done."
"I don’t know where I got that bravery," she added. "I just kept thinking I am not going to stand here and wait for my kids to die and wait for them to tell me hours later that my kid is dead."
Her remarks came in response to last week’s release of surveillance and body camera footage showing how officers – heavily armed and equipped with body armor, helmets, and some protective shields – walked back and forth in the hallway, as others trained their weapons or spoke on the phone or sent text messages or reviewed floor plans – all while never attempting to enter any classrooms.
After the gunman had already opened fire outside the school, prompting several 911 calls from inside and outside the building, the surveillance footage shows Ramos had walked inside and peered around a corner. As he proceeded toward classrooms 111 and 112, a boy exiting a bathroom noticed the gunman standing by a classroom door and firing a barrage of bullets. The boy runs back into the bathroom, as the gunman enters a classroom, and children are heard screaming as the gunfire continues.
"Everything has been rough now that the video has been released. Feel like we are back at square one with the fact that cops didn’t do anything like I had always been saying. It is just horrific," Gomez told Fox News Digital last week. "My one son who was at recess during the shooting, he is now seeing him [the shooter] in the actual view — seeing who he was, sees him walk around the school, seeing how cops didn’t help his friends and how they ran away. It is just unforgiving."
"I just keep thinking about how my kids weren’t going to get saved. I am just so grateful that I could get my sons," the mother continued. "Now seeing the video, I know my sons would’ve been screaming inside and they [cops] wouldn’t have done anything. Devastating they didn’t do anything."
The shooting claimed the lives of 19 children and two adults.
"I don’t know how they just didn’t react the way I did and the other parents. I don’t know how they couldn’t do anything," Gomez said of officers inside the building. "Horrible just seeing them standing there, one getting hand sanitizer, another on his phone. Other police officers being held back."
The footage also contradicted initial claims by police officials that officers were waiting for equipment.
"Just shows that they’ve been lying to us from the start — at first said they didn’t have the right equipment. I just don’t understand, how they were mistreating us outside, holding us back, tased us, but they didn’t do anything like that to the shooter," Gomez said, noting how parents gathered outside. "I’m like what the hell, we had so many parents willing to go in, and they were standing in the hallway hiding. I didn’t see any cops crying or getting outraged. No sympathy, no sign of them trying to save the kids."
"This is what everyone has been saying, cops didn’t do anything and now there is proof," the mother added. "Some families were mad about the video being released, but we all wanted answers, what happened to you all wanting to know? Now there is evidence cops didn’t help."
Gomez also alleged that she has been harassed by police after speaking out after the shooting.
"And I had cops come and park, or they’d follow me, but I don’t know why anyone is upset with me, I just wanted to save my kids. I didn’t kill anyone. I am just devastated," she said. "We saw it first before the media, and I am happy it was released. This is what we needed to know that they didn’t save them."
Sunday’s report released by a Texas House of Representatives committee pointed out that two officers with the Uvalde Police Department arrived at classrooms 111 and 112 just minutes after the gunman began opening fire. The gunman fired at the officers, who were grazed by fragments of bullets, and quickly retreated without ever returning fire. One of them then exited the building altogether.
According to the report, failures expanded beyond just law enforcement, as the committee says "a culture of complacency" rendered most safeguards meant to deter any intruder useless.
Teachers often propped interior and exterior doors open or doors were left unlocked partially due to a shortage of keys.
"We need new leadership, feels like they’re trying to cover everything up. Too many lies. Everything was a lie from the beginning," Gomez told Fox News Digital. "Why is the school being opened in a month? We don’t even have security at the school yet. The shooter could’ve done so much more damage."
The mother expressed frustration with the school district and city in the aftermath of the shooting.
"Only one school with an indoor gym — the high school, so our little kids playing recess outside can be shot from the street now?" Gomez said. "It’s just horrific, I don’t know how they think we’re going to trust them to put our kids back on the bus."
"The city also took down all the stuff at the plaza that memorialized our kids and the city council said they asked parents, but they didn’t," she said. "We wanted that there for people not to forget what happened, and they took it all down. I feel like they’re taking everything away like they want to get over it."
Gomez stressed that many parents and teachers are hesitant to return come the new school year.
"We have kids in summer school and recently there was an immigrant speed chase near the school and the kids had to hide under their desks and once again the kids had to endure going under the table again worrying about a shooting," she said. "It is sad to know things are not ready. Parents are agreeing to not enroll kids this year, and we have teachers not willing to go back either."