The brother of a boy killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, denounced police officers who waited outside a locked door while a gunman shot children and teachers.
“Ridiculous, man,” Jose Mata, the older brother of 10-year old Xavier Lopez, told local news station KHOU 11. “They’re here to protect our community, and they didn’t. They were being selfish, you know?”
Xavier was among the 19 children who were killed, along with two teachers who tried to protect their students. His family described him as a “loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life” who was “very bubbly” and loved to dance.
Law enforcement’s response to the mass shooting has sparked a national outcry. On Friday, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety admitted it was the “wrong decision” for more than a dozen police officers to wait outside a the door of a classroom that held the teen gunman and a classroom full of young children. That statement was the latest among conflicting accounts given by law enforcement agencies and public officials since news of the shooting broke Tuesday.
DPS Director Col. Steven McCraw claimed that Uvalde police officers wrongly believed the gunman had barricaded himself and children weren’t at risk. But while officers waited outside the door, children inside were calling 911 begging for help and a gun was heard being fired in the background.
When a federal tactical unit arrived as backup, local police ordered them to wait before going into the room, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told reporters. Those agents waited for about half an hour and then decided to storm the room, according to the official.
Meanwhile, parents with kids inside the school were yelling at law enforcement to go inside and save their children. At least one mother said she was temporarily handcuffed before sprinting into the school to successfully retrieve her two kids. The mother said she also witnessed other frantic parents being pepper-sprayed and shocked with stun guns by cops.