A Texas mother who said she was involved in the mass shooting at Uvalde Primary School to save her two young sons while law enforcement officers were standing outside was harassed by police and planned to take legal action, her lawyer said.
“As far as we know, there are two definitive cases,” Angeli Rose Gomez’s lawyer Mark Di Carlo told HuffPost about the hostility he said she experienced after disobeying officers’ orders and at Robb Primary School during the May 24 slaughter ran in to save her children. .
Gomez, who said she was briefly handcuffed by police outside the school, publicly criticized officers for failing to immediately enter the building and confront the gunman who killed 19 children and two adults. Officers waited 70 minutes before storming the classroom and killing the shooter – a response that the head of public safety in Texas called an “absurd failure.”
“She did act in a very brave way,” said Di Carlo, who said he represented about 15 members of the Uvalde community. “I confirmed it from at least two people that she did go to school, she did jump over the fence, she was handcuffed. I do not believe that any officers were in that school until she entered and then they followed her. “
Di Carlo said Gomez believes she has since been targeted by police. She was pulled over for a traffic stop and falsely accused of having illegal immigrants in her vehicle, he said. About a week ago, a police vehicle parked outside her home for about 45 minutes and flashed its lights to her and her mother as they went for a walk.
Di Carlo said he wrote to the Uvalde Police Department about what happened, but received no response.
In another incident, he said a Gomez family member said police had instructed them to tell Gomez to stop talking to the media about the massacre. That incident may be harder to prove, he said, but a non-profit civil rights group in Philadelphia has offered to file a lawsuit over freedom of speech on behalf of Gomez.
The Uvalde Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Di Carlo said other community members also expressed anger and frustration over officers’ behavior during the shooting. Before addressing the gunman, he said, police used resources funded by taxpayers to stop parents from rescuing their children.
Video taken outside the school shows parents screaming and begging officers to enter the school as the violence unfolds.
“The police basically acted in an abusive manner towards the people outside who were concerned about the children,” Di Carlo said. Gomez, he said, “was basically falsely arrested or falsely jailed, though for a moment, to prevent her from entering the school.”
Di Carlo said his office intends to file at least one lawsuit related to the massacre, which is likely to target government and law enforcement agencies. Prior to that submission, he hopes to investigate the shooter’s purchase of an AR-15-style assault rifle and the school building, including the door that the killer entered.
Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde, said last week the school was going to be demolished, but did not say when. Di Carlo said he has contacted the Texas Department of Public Safety and hopes to investigate first.
“That school is evidence,” Di Carlo said, and its destruction could make it more difficult to pursue legal claims.