One of 19 children killed in last week’s school shooting in Texas “likely bled out” in the more than an hour it took for law enforcement to confront and neutralize the gunman, a state senator said Sunday, citing the child’s family.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, where Tuesday’s shooting occurred at Robb Elementary, said the extreme delay in first responders’ actions more than likely raised the death toll to 21.
“I sat down with a parent, a set of ― a family yesterday,” Gutierrez said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.”
″(The) mom told me that her child had been shot by one bullet through the back, through the kidney area. The first responder that they eventually talked to said that their child likely bled out,” he said. “In that span of 30 or 40 minutes extra, that little girl might have lived. That little girl might have lived.”
Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D) "If I do nothing for the rest of my career but yell at Greg Abbott and others that are not willing to listen, that's what I'm going to do. We must have change. I have spent time with many of these families. And this is just heartbreaking. " pic.twitter.com/qu1Uae7Zun
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) May 29, 2022
Questions have continued to grow about why law enforcement took so long to engage with the gunman, who authorities said was locked in a classroom with his victims for over an hour before he was finally taken out by Border Patrol tactical officers.
Gutierrez said that, based on information he’s been given, the tactical team made the decision to take on the shooter independently after becoming frustrated over the lack of response from other law enforcement officials at the scene.
The director of the Texas Department of Public Safety on Friday said it was the “wrong decision” for more than a dozen officers to wait outside the classroom before that tactical team responded.
The Justice Department said Sunday said it will look into how law enforcement responded to the situation.
A makeshift memorial for last week's shooting victims is seen outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Saturday. (Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA via Getty Images)
Gutierrez said what he personally wants to see going forward is a change to current gun laws so that such tragedies don’t happen again. He said he’s privately heard from some Republican colleagues who want the same.
Some of the changes he said he supports are red flag laws that would allow police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. He also supports waiting periods to buy firearms, raising the age to purchase a gun, and improving background checks.
“We must have change. I have spent time with many of these families and this is just heartbreaking. I just cannot do this anymore. It is heartbreaking. No family should go through what these people are going through,” he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.