The Uvalde police department has come under fire after it was revealed that the gunman that murdered 19 students and two faculty members during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, was in the building for 90 minutes before being killed.
Furious members of the public have taken to the department's Facebook page to express their ire at the department's delayed response.
In a post expressing the department's condolences, a responder shot back at the department for its inaction.
“You all sat out there and scratched your butts while forcefully blocking parents from doing the job you refused to,” the commenter wrote, receiving hundreds of likes.
Police officers arrived at the scene almost immediately and — according to Steven McCraw, the Director and Colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety — were shot at through a classroom door, with two officers receiving grazing wounds. The police reportedly fell back at that point and began treating the situation as a barricaded suspect situation rather than as an active shooter. That decision, Mr McCraw said, was "the wrong decision."
“Thank you sincerely for arriving at the scene so quickly and subsequently doing nothing to prevent the slaughter of children for close to an hour,” another angry commenter posted.
The department took further heat after reports emerged that law enforcement not only did not rush in to stop the shooter, but restrained some of the parents who were outside the building begging them to do something. Some of those parents wanted to band together and go in themselves, but law enforcement reportedly stopped them.
“The cowardly and ineffective police department in the US right now is the Uvalde police department, who would prefer tackling grieving parents to the ground over protecting a school full of children,” a commenter said in a Facebook post.
Some commenters even posted critical memes on the department's page, including a photo of the "Thin Blue Line" flag meant to support police, with a caption that reads "These colours don't run ... into schools to save dying children."
Another shows the Uvalde Police logo with the words "Kids Died, We Hide" over the image.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Mr McCraw shared that several people called 911 from inside the classroom up to 45 minutes before the gunman was killed.
At least one of those callers, a child, was killed while trying to get the police to help them.