US Marshals have denied handcuffing a desperate parent at the scene of the Texas school shooting who pleaded with them to run inside and confront the shooter.
Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the atrocity at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with the 18-year-old gunman managing to remain inside the building for around an hour.
A mother of two children at the school, Angeli Rose Gomez, told the Wall Street Journal she drove 40 miles to the school and begged officers to enter sooner to stop the killer, Salvador Ramos.
She claimed that after a few minutes, a US Marshall placed her in handcuffs, claiming she was intervening in an active investigation.
“The police were doing nothing,” she told the paper. “They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
Ms Gomez said she managed to talk herself out of the handcuffs and then jumped over the school fence to rescue her two children.
But in a statement, US Marshals denied placing anyone in handcuffs at the scene.
“Deputy marshals never arrested or placed anyone in handcuffs while securing the crime scene perimeter," the agency said in a statement.
“Our deputy marshals maintained order and peace in the midst of the grief-stricken community that was gathering around the school. Our hearts are heavy with sorrow and sadness at this horrific crime."
They said in their statement that the first marshals who arrived went to confront the gunman and give first aid to victims while other marshals secured the perimeter around the school.
Authorities had earlier claimed the attacker was confronted and shot by an officer.
Two responding officers entered the school four minutes after his entry but took cover after Ramos fired multiple rounds at them, officials have now said.
Questions are now being raised over whether the police response was in line with guidance issued since the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, which says the first officers on scene should do whatever they can to disarm an attacker without waiting for backup.