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Parents and bystanders outside Texas school say they urged police to run inside

A frustrated group of parents and onlookers outside Robb Elementary School said they were yelling for police to enter the building to stop a gunman who killed 21 people.
/ Source: TODAY

Parents and local bystanders said they pleaded with police outside to charge into Robb Elementary School to stop an active shooter on Tuesday and even considered going into the building themselves.

Statements by frustrated parents have conflicted with the description of the events by law enforcement and school officials. Authorities have not yet provided a firm timeline of the events.

The alleged gunman killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday in a shooting spree inside the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, officials said. Ramos, who was inside the building for at least 40 minutes, was then shot and killed by members of a tactical team who breached a classroom after he had locked the door.

Javier Cazares, whose daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the massacre, said he raced to the school after learning about the shooting and saw police gathered outside.

He told The Associated Press and later confirmed with NBC News that he brought up the idea of rushing into the school with several other bystanders in an attempt to stop the gunman.

"Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he said.

“More could have been done," he added. "They were unprepared."

Video footage also appears to show frustrated parents and others yelling for police to go inside.

“Get in! What is the f--- deal?” one woman can be heard yelling.

“The cops aren’t doing s--- except standing outside,” a man says. “You know they’re little kids, right? Little kids, they don’t know how to defend themselves.”

It’s not clear whether officers were inside the building at the time the video was filmed or exactly when the video was shot.

Juan Carranza, 24, who was at the scene, told The Associated Press that he heard nearby women shouting to officers, “Go in there! Go in there!” He believes the officers should have run into the building sooner.

“There were more of them," he said. "There was just one of him."

Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw said Wednesday in a news conference that the shooter was inside the school for up to an hour before authorities were able to breach the classroom.

“It’s going to be within, like, 40 minutes, within an hour,” McCraw said.

Law enforcement officials said Thursday they have not established a timeline yet on the sequence of events during the attack, but McCraw said at the news conference that law enforcement "did engage immediately."

"They did contain him in the classroom," he said. "They put a tactical stack together in a very orderly way and of course breached and assaulted the individual.” 

Officers with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District “engaged” with the shooter as he made his way to the west side of the campus, but did not fire at him, McCraw said Wednesday. Ramos was then able to make it into the school.

Uvalde City Councilmember Everardo Zamora disputed the criticism of the law enforcement response, saying on TODAY Thursday that some officers were already inside of the school when people outside accused the police of not taking action.

“They were already in there," Zamora said. "I seen them running in there."

NBC News reached out to the Texas Department of Public Safety seeking comment on parents and bystanders criticizing police over their response to the shooting.

No motive for the attack has been shared by police. The alleged shooter had no criminal history and no known history of mental illness. He bought multiple guns and 375 rounds of ammunition days after his 18th birthday, McCraw said Wednesday.