More than a month after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers last month, chilling details about the city’s police department continue to emerge. This week, Angeli Rose Gomez, the mother who ran into Robb Elementary School to save her two young kids during the shooting, says she’s since faced a barrage of frightening harassment from Uvalde police officers in retaliation for her rightfully harsh criticisms of them in the media.
Gomez’s lawyer, Mark Di Carlo, announced plans this week to take legal action against Uvalde police and also offered specific, chilling details about what their harassment of Gomez has entailed. Di Carlo told HuffPost that Gomez was recently pulled over by Uvalde police for a traffic stop and was falsely accused of having “illegal immigrants” in her car. Di Carlo also claims that last week, police parked outside Gomez’s house for 45 minutes and flashed their lights at her and her mother as they took a walk.
Gomez also talked to ABC affiliate KATU about the incident over the weekend. “The other night, we were exercising and we had a cop parked at the corner, like flickering us with his headlights,” she said. Gomez told the outlet that because of these incidents, she’s started to separate from her two young sons so that they “don’t feel like they have to watch cops passing by, stopping, parking.”
In another particularly chilling incident, Di Carlo told KATU that police approached an unnamed family member of Gomez’s, and told the family member to tell Gomez to stop speaking to the media.
These acts of harassment and intimidation from law enforcement compound with the trauma of the shooting itself, during which Gomez was at one point handcuffed and threatened with arrest by police officers for begging them to enter the school. Gomez was eventually able to convince officers she knew to free her, and immediately after, she jumped a fence and rushed into the school herself to save her two young sons.
Gomez and Di Carlo now intends to file a lawsuit in response to this harassment from police. Di Carlo, who’s currently representing 15 parents in the Uvalde community, told KATU that he’s focused on gathering as much evidence as possible first, instead of immediately filing lawsuits.
Gomez is also calling for Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo to be fired. That this hasn’t happened yet, despite ample video evidence and testimony about his department’s stunning failures, is “indication that there is some sort of corruption or wrong-doing,” Di Carlo told KATU.
As the shooting was unfolding inside Robb Elementary School on May 24, police officers didn’t just refuse to enter the school for more than an hour—they handcuffed and assaulted desperate parents who tried to enter. The Texas public safety chief has called their response an “abject failure,” and Gomez has very publicly echoed these criticisms. Gomez has also detailed how she watched as other parents were pepper sprayed, tased, or tackled the ground for begging police officers to act, and in one case, just approaching the bus to pick up one of their kids.
“[Police] didn’t do that to the shooter, but they did that to us. That’s how it felt,” Gomez told the Wall Street Journal last month. She added, “The police were doing nothing. They were just standing outside the fence. They weren’t going in there or running anywhere.”
The city of Uvalde notably allocates 40% of its budget to the police department—a move that clearly hasn’t made residents safer, but has, if anything, exposed residents like Angeli Rose Gomez and her children to greater risk.