After the school massacre in the small Texas town of Uvalde with 21 dead, criticism of the actions of the police is increasing. Parents and witnesses accused the emergency services on Thursday of not intervening quickly enough.

“There were at least 40 police officers armed to the teeth, but they didn’t do a damn thing until it was way too late,” Jacinto Cazares, whose daughter was killed in the bloodbath, told ABC. “The situation could have been over quickly if they had had better tactical training.”

Pastor Daniel Myers, who was at the scene on Tuesday, told AFP news agency that “time was lost”. Apparently, the police officers who had arrived were waiting for reinforcements.

“The parents were desperate,” Myers said. “A relative said, ‘I was in the army, just give me a gun, I’ll go in. I won’t hesitate, I’ll go in.’”

A cell phone video that has become public shows parents screaming in desperation, telling the officials to storm the elementary school and trying to get to the building themselves, but are held back by the police.

According to official sources, the Uvalde gunman spent around an hour in the classroom where he caused a bloodbath. Only then did reinforcements arrive and kill the gunman, said Victor Escalon of the Texas Department of Public Safety at a press conference on Thursday.

The 18-year-old attacker Salvador Ramos entered the school in the municipality of Uvalde around 11.40 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday and finally entered a classroom near the entrance. Security forces were on site, but initially did not go into the classroom because they had been shot at.

The police then called for reinforcements, Escalon said. They lacked special equipment. They evacuated school children and teachers and tried to negotiate with the shooter. He fired most of the shots at the very beginning.

“During the negotiations, there wasn’t much shooting other than trying to keep the cops at bay,” Escalon said. It was also revealed that school had not been completed. The police had already been called when witnesses saw the armed shooter in front of the school.

It was a “complex situation,” Escalon said. He asked for more time to analyze the events in more detail.

18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot dead 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday. According to officials, he may have been in the building for more than 40 minutes before he was finally shot dead by police officers.