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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Texas Department Of Public Safety: School Resource Officer "Engaged" Shooter Outside School, But No Gunfire Exchanged; Frank DeAngelis On Texas School Shooting; Kinzinger: We Need Universal Background Checks. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 25, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is just after 9 p.m. Eastern Time, 8 o'clock here, in Uvalde, Texas, outside Robb Elementary School.

The community held a prayer vigil, tonight. And I just want to play you some video, from a moment ago - it occurred just a moment ago, as people there, listened to "Amazing Grace."





COOPER: Community in mourning.

We've spoken with parents of some of the young children killed, here, most of them 10-years-old, and told some of their stories.

But there's so much we still don't know. We don't know the names of all the 19 children, who were murdered here. We'll try to bring them to you, as we learn them.

There's still so much, we don't know, about what happened, behind me, inside this school, and outside, as the shooter first got on the scene. We don't know. We're not going to speculate.

So, we begin the hour, with what we do know, and CNN's Ed Lavandera.


Ed, so there is, as I said, a lot, we don't know. Talk a little bit, about where the investigation is.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well one of the key things that we learned today was just how long this event unfolded, inside this school. And authorities tell us that this lasted anywhere from 40 minutes to 60 minutes, from when the time, the gunman arrived, here, at this elementary school.

So, you can imagine, the horrifying moments that all of these people, inside Robb Elementary, endured.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): "I'm going to shoot an elementary school."

LAVANDERA (voice-over): That was one of the chilling text messages, the Uvalde gunman sent, to a 15-year-old girl, in Germany, at 11:21 Central Time, in Texas, just 15 minutes, before the shooting, at Robb Elementary School.

ABBOTT: Evil swept across Uvalde, yesterday.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The 18-year-old gunman, drove to the elementary school, where he would kill 19 children, and two faculty members, just two days, before they were heading out, for summer break. Before the school shooting, the gunman wrote messages that foreshadowed the carnage, he was about to inflict.

ABBOTT: "I'm going to shoot my grandmother."

"I shot my grandmother."

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The suspect is described, by Texas investigators, as a drop-out, of the local high school. After crashing his grandmother's truck, in a ditch, officials say, he entered the school building, and classrooms, shooting children and teachers.

ABBOTT: Officers with the Consolidated Independent School District, they approached the gunman, and engaged with the gunman, at that time.

The gunman then entered a back door, and went down two short hallways, and then into a classroom, on the left-hand side.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Investigators say, from the moment, the shooter engaged, with the campus officer, outside the elementary school, until he was shot and killed, by a Border Patrol agent, inside a classroom, it was an ordeal that lasted 40 minutes to 60 minutes.

Police state troopers, and even parents, went around the school, breaking windows, trying to help children escape.

Adolfo Hernandez has a nephew at the school.

ADOLFO HERNANDEZ, NEPHEW SURVIVED SHOOTING: He saw the teacher get shot, and a kid - another kid get hit in the face.

LAVANDERA (on camera): He saw another classmate, get shot, in the face?

HERNANDEZ: Yes, sir, of a classmate, from across the hall.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The gunman barricaded himself, inside the elementary school. VOICE OF CHIP KING, UVALDE FIREFIGHTER: It was probably 30 minutes, after we've arrived at - after I arrived, I know that, that the shooter was neutralized.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Posing with rifles, the gunman lived, at his grandparents' home, just blocks from the school. On Tuesday, after he shot his grandmother, he took her truck, and hit the road, driving without a license.

STEVEN C. MCCRAW, DIRECTOR AND COLONEL, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: He crashed the vehicle at that point in time. He exited. He exited with a backpack. He took a rifle with him. He went towards the west side of the campus.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): He had two assault-style rifles, purchased legally, for his birthday, days apart, within the last week.

ABBOTT: He used one weapon, which was an AR-15.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): He also bought 375 rounds of ammunition. One rifle was left in the truck. The other rifle was found with him, in the school, along with seven 30-round magazines. Investigators also found a backpack, with several magazines, full of ammunition, near the entrance to the school.

The gunman's motive is still unknown.


COOPER: The Governor was saying that law enforcement engaged with the gunman. But earlier, we were told that they did not fire any shots, at the gunman. So, we don't really know what that engagement was?

LAVANDERA: Yes, it's still very unclear, what happened, in that initial moment. And obviously, a great deal of interest in that, because people are wondering, could that have been stopped? Could he have been stopped, before he ever entered the school?

What we have been told by Texas Department of Public Safety officials tonight is that the gunman arrived here, at this school. The School Campus Resource Officer engaged with him. In that he - in that moment, the gunman dropped his backpack, and then ran into the school.

Why there wasn't a shot fired, or some sort of more aggressive stance, to be able to stop the gunman, from going inside the school, are answers that we just don't have, at this point.

COOPER: Yes. Again, like you were saying, there's a lot we don't know, and it's important to point that out.

Ed Lavandera, really appreciate it.

I want to go, next, to CNN's Lucy Kafanov. She's outside University Hospital, in San Antonio, where three children, and a 66-year-old shooting victim, were taken.

Lucy, I understand the 66-year-old victim is the grandmother of the shooter. Is that correct?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Likely to be, Anderson. The hospital, of course, not confirming that.

But the grandmother, we know, is 66-years-old, and named as Celia, according to Texas DPS officials. We know that she was shot, in the face, by the gunman. She somehow managed to contact the police, reporting this crime, then ran across the street, got a neighbor.

And then, we understand she was medevaced, here, to San Antonio, in critical condition. The University Hospital, here, in San Antonio, this afternoon, revealing that the 66-year-old's condition had improved, from critical to serious. But she is still fighting for her life, Anderson.


COOPER: And what do we know of the condition of the other - the others, who are hospitalized?

KAFANOV: Three other victims are hospitalized. Four in total. We have the 66-year-old, and three little girls, Anderson.

A 9-year-old and a 10-year-old, who right now are listed as in good condition. But another 10-year-old arrived in critical condition, yesterday. Her state improved slightly. She's also in serious condition, now. We know that all three little girls have family members, with them, as we speak.

Flags here, lowered to half-staff, in honor of the victims. And the hospital, releasing a statement, saying that their hearts are breaking for the children, and the teachers, who were killed, yesterday. They say, it is truly tragic that we are responding to another mass shooting.

And it is another response, to a mass shooting, for them, Anderson. A lot of the doctors and medical professionals, at this University Hospital, here, responded to the 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting, the First Baptist Church, there. So, this is a terrifying nightmare, repeated, all over again, for them.


KAFANOV: But we know, a lot of families, are waiting, to find out about the condition, of their injured loved ones. Those three little girls, at the hospital, behind me, expected to recover, but still fighting for their lives.


COOPER: Yes. Absolutely. We wish them the best.

Lucy Kafanov, thank you.

CNN's Evan Perez, joins us now, from Washington, with what he has been learning, about the federal effort, to learn more about what happened, here, yesterday.

Evan, what have you learned?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the way - this is obviously such a big crime scene. The Texas Rangers are focusing on the scene, at the school.

And the FBI is working on the home, where he lived, with the grandmother, the grandparents.

And one of the things they're doing, what they spent their day today, Anderson, is talking to neighbors, canvassing the neighborhood essentially, trying to get information, about the home-life, of the shooter, to try to understand a little bit, about what exactly may have triggered the events that happened, yesterday.

And among the people they're trying to talk to, also are friends, people who associated with him, in high school, before he dropped out, as well as people he worked with, at the fast food restaurant, where apparently he was earning some money, perhaps which is what explains why he was able to pay as much as $7,000, for the arsenal that he assembled that he was able to use, at the shooting, yesterday, Anderson.

COOPER: What are investigators saying, about the weapons that they've recovered?

PEREZ: Well, right now, what we know, is that he bought two AR-style rifles. At least one of those appears that that was one of the ones that he was using that he used, yesterday. They were bought on May 17, and May 20.

Again, just days ago, he turned 18, just days ago. On May 18, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition. Some of these magazines were found there. So, they found seven magazines, there, at the scene of the crime.

One of the things that, again, the investigators are trying to understand, how long has he been planning this, clearly.

This is not very cheap stuff that he bought. These are rifles that cost probably about $2,000 apiece. Again, for somebody, who, according to some of the witnesses, some of his friends, said he struggled with money. The family was not a wealthy family.

Again, all of these things are being put together, especially for the FBI. Their profilers are going to help work on trying to, frankly help us understand something that just can't be understood. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Evan Perez, appreciate the details.

Up here, joining now, by the Uvalde County Commissioner, Ronald Garza.

Mr. Garza, thanks so much for joining us. First of all, how are you doing? How is this community doing tonight? RONALD GARZA, UVALDE COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Yes. Considering what took place, yesterday, we're holding up. We're a resilient community, and a community of faith, hard-working, blue-collar agricultural workers. And it's a sad day in our community. But considering, we're doing well.

COOPER: We saw a visual that took place at the - or in this last hour. A lot of people coming out. I mean, this really brought people together.

GARZA: Our community may have differences. But in a time of need, in a time of crisis, people of Uvalde unite. And that's what's good about this. If there's anything good about this, it's going to, I think, bring our community together.

COOPER: Do you know - what answers do you want, about what happened here?


GARZA: Well, there's a lot of questions still. There's, you know - how did - how did he gain access, to school? They're supposed to be locked. An hour, supposedly, in there, with, in one room, you know? Why it took so long to get to the shooter? We don't know. There's just still too many questions.

COOPER: Do you - obviously, with active shooters, they try to, usually, to stop the shooter, as quickly as possible. Is it clear to you, at this point, if most of the killings, took place, right away, and that's why he was able to stay in that classroom, without them going in?

GARZA: It's not clear. It's not clear to me, right now. I've been asking questions. Haven't gotten any answers. Then, I know, it's still under investigation. It's very preliminary, at this point. But there's still a lot of details, we don't - we don't know about.



COOPER: What resources are there for, I mean, for the families, who are facing this unimaginable loss?

GARZA: Well, grieving counselors. There's people here with the Billy Graham organization, clergy, from our local churches. We have over 30 churches, in our community. And I know, everybody's trying to do their part, and comfort people, during their grieving.

COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know about?

GARZA: First of all, my heart goes out to the families, the victims.

Robb Elementary School has produced a lot of great students. A lot of great students have walked through the halls of that school. Went on to be educators, professors, doctors, lawyers. Wonderful teachers that have spent, countless hours.

COOPER: One of the teachers killed here, I think was here for 20-some years?

GARZA: Yes, yes.

COOPER: I mean, it's extraordinary.

GARZA: She was a very dedicated teacher, who had been awarded "Teacher of the Year," before. Wonderful teachers that have had made such an impact on our students.

This is a school in the barrio - on the Mexican American barrio. My dad taught here, in 1965 through 1970.


GARZA: There wasn't a single tree in the campus, when he arrived. The first thing he did, he planted trees, out of his own pocket.

COOPER: He planted some of the trees that are there?

GARZA: The tree (ph) is right there.

COOPER: That's there, right?

GARZA: Yes. The first day of school, he made an observation. Went to the local pharmacy, bought a large canister of chewable vitamins. Brought it the next day to school. And every student, on a daily basis, received a chewable vitamin, because there was a lack of nourishment.

And the most needy children? He would arrange, for them, to work during their lunch hour, at the cafeteria, so they could receive a free meal. This--

COOPER: There's a lot of history here.

GARZA: There's a lot of history. This one tragic event that occurred yesterday, it doesn't define our community. It doesn't define the school. We have a lot of great people here. Lot of people of faith.

COOPER: Well, as you said, I think--

GARZA: Resilient.

COOPER: It's the response to what happened here.


COOPER: That shows what this community is.


COOPER: And we're seeing that all throughout. GARZA: You know what comes up a lot, and I've interviewed, yesterday, and today, is the fact that it was a small community, a tight-knit community. So tight-knit of a community that my two neighbors, across the street, one of them lost a granddaughter. My other neighbor lost a daughter-in-law.


GARZA: How sad is that that that's how close--


GARZA: --of a community we are.

COOPER: Mr. Garza, thank you for your time, tonight.

GARZA: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: And I'm sorry, for what you're going through.

GARZA: Thank you.

COOPER: Thank you. I wish you the best.

GARZA: Thank you so much.

COOPER: When we come back, the role that members of the Federal Border Patrol played, in the response, to this shooting. One agent, as you know, was wounded. We'll talk about that, and the role they play, in this community, with Border Patrol Chief, Raul Ortiz.

Later, we'll tell you more about one of the young lives lost, Lexi Rubio, what we're learning about this beautiful 10-year-old.



COOPER: Members of the U.S. Border Patrol, were among the first, on the scene, here, yesterday, and enforced as many as 100 officers, finally responding, overall, here.

One agent was wounded, outside the school. Texas Governor, Greg Abbott said, today, it was the same agent, who fatally shot the killer. So, I said it was outside the school. I'm not sure if he's wounded outside or inside.

With me, tonight, is Raul Ortiz, Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Thanks so much, for being with us.


COOPER: Could you just talk a little bit about - there's a lot, we don't know. And I know - there's a lot, you still don't know. There was an engagement, outside the school. What's your understanding of that?

ORTIZ: Yes, I do know that there were some local law enforcement officers that engaged the suspect, outside the school. And then, he entered the school.

I know, my team, received the call, in and around close to a 11:30 timeframe. And we responded from various locations. I had both on- duty, off-duty, folks that were in a training environment, all respond to this location.

COOPER: And we're talking, I mean, dozens, almost a 100, you said?

ORTIZ: Yes. We had between 80 and 100 officers--


ORTIZ: --respond to this location. And, right away, we decided that we needed to engage. And so, I was really proud of the men and women.

We have our Special Response team, our BORTAC team. Some of the best trained agents that we have. We use them quite often, when we get the highest threat environments. And this certainly qualified for that.

COOPER: So, it was a tactical team, from Border Patrol that went into the classroom?

ORTIZ: So, we had three members of our Border Patrol Tactical Response team. We also had one of our Search and Rescue responders, in that team. And then, we had a couple other Border Patrol agents that were nearby. And then, we had some of the local officers that made that initial entry, into those classrooms.


COOPER: Can you talk about that tactical team? Is that people, who - often, in cities, tactical teams, have to come, from different locations. They gather out of scene, and then they go in. How does that work?

ORTIZ: So, in the Border Patrol, we have 20 sectors. And almost every one of those sectors has a Special Response team.

And these Special Operations detachments, or Special Response teams, we use them for various Search and Rescue efforts. If we have an officer that's injured, or hurt, or even some of the migrant population that we encounter, out there.

And then, quite often, we work closely with our state and local partners, to make sure that we're able to respond, to threats, in these communities.

Quite often, in these rural communities, we are the largest law enforcement agency. And so, we train quite a bit. In fact, I was meeting with some of my officers, earlier. And they were talking about some of the active-shooter training, they're doing in another location. So, there's 24 hours of active-shooter training that has to happen, for each one of our Border Patrol agents. And when we do that, we work with our local police departments, and Sheriff's Department.

COOPER: So when your people got on scene, and when the tactical people, got on scene, the decision was made to go in as quickly as they could?

ORTIZ: Yes, that's one of the first things that we have to do is neutralize the threat, as quickly as we possibly can. And so, they didn't hesitate. They came up with a plan. They entered that classroom. And they took care of the situation, as quickly as they possibly could.

COOPER: At that point, do you know how long the shooter had been inside?

ORTIZ: No, I do not know the amount of time. But I do know that it was for several minutes. But I can tell you that as soon as the officers arrived, at the school, they didn't hesitate. They knew what they had to do. And I was really proud of the work that they did, yesterday.

COOPER: One of the things you were telling me, before we went on air, which is interesting, which I hadn't realized, is that authorities develop a timeline, a tick-tock of exactly what happened.


COOPER: We don't have that - we don't know that tick-tock. And there's - would you know what - at what stage that's that? And how does that work? How does that come together?

ORTIZ: Yes, certainly, in a situation, like this, there are multiple agencies that are investigating. Certainly, the Texas Rangers, had the lead. But they're working closely with the FBI, the local police department, as well as our Office of Professional Responsibility.

And so, there's a lot of information that has to be gathered, from all the agents, all the officers that responded, as well as at the site. And so, we're still working, to make sure we collate all that information. And we get the best timeline.

COOPER: So, everybody gets interviewed at about - everybody writes a report, or gets interviewed, about their response. And then, those are all - yes, I think the term used was de-conflicted, they're compared--


COOPER: --to kind of develop a timeline?

ORTIZ: That's exactly right. We want to know exactly what happened--


ORTIZ: --in this event. COOPER: It's - the Border Patrol - can you just talk about why there's so many Border Patrol, in this area? I think that'll - that would surprise some people.

ORTIZ: Yes. So, Uvalde is about 60 miles away from the border. We have a checkpoint, that's about five miles outside of town here. And so, I have 140 officers, assigned to Uvalde. And this is a populated area, for the border region.

And so, I have agents that are stationed, in other locations that may not have towns, with the same types of services and amenities. So, they live in these communities. They go to school. Their kids go to school, here. They go to church, here. Their spouses teach at these schools. So, we're ingrained in these communities. And quite often, we're from these communities.

COOPER: And does the Border Patrol take part in the investigation, at this stage? Or how does that work?

ORTIZ: Well, we're going to participate in the investigation, as certainly because our agents were involved. But--

COOPER: As witnesses to talk about what they saw?

ORTIZ: --but as witnesses, yes.

COOPER: Got it. I see. And in terms of the tactical teams, they will be interviewed - or does that interview process, take place, right away? Or do they get a couple days off, to regroup?

ORTIZ: So, a little bit of both. We certainly want to find out exactly as much information as we can, early on. But we also want to give them a time, to process all the information, and everything that they saw, and witnessed.


ORTIZ: And will--

COOPER: I mean, your officers, Customs and Border Patrol, you guys see an awful lot. But seeing what goes on, in a school, in a case, like this, I mean?


COOPER: There's nothing to prepare anybody for that!

ORTIZ: I talked to my officers, and certainly talked to the agent that was injured, yesterday. And nothing prepares you, for a scene, like what they saw, and witnessed, yesterday.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. I really appreciate what you're doing. And I appreciate your time.

ORTIZ: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Thank you so much.

ORTIZ: More on another young life taken, in this tragedy.

A Straight-A student, Lexi Rubio, celebrated her achievements, with her parents, at the school, before being killed. Her parents were there. They told her that they loved her, but they didn't think that would be the last time, they saw her.

What we're learning about this 10-year-old, next.



COOPER: Welcome back to Uvalde. You're looking live picture outside the Robb Elementary School. Member of the Border Patrol, laying some flowers, there.

All throughout the day, we had been seeing family members, community members, adults, many children, bringing flowers, laying them, outside that school. We have watched, as that makeshift memorial, has grown, throughout the day.

We're learning more about the young victims, of this school shooting, here, in Uvalde, Texas. 10-year-old Lexi Rubio was in fourth grade, killed, here, yesterday, murdered.

CNN's Jason Carroll spoke with her parents.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Their pain, unimaginable.

The day it all happened, Tuesday morning, was supposed to be a day of celebration, for Felix and Kimberly Rubio, and their daughter, Lexi. She made All-A Honor Roll, at Robb Elementary, and her parents showed up, for an award ceremony, to show how proud they were of her.

Then, after leaving the school, came word of the shooting.

FELIX RUBIO, FATHER OF LEXI RUBIO: Right now, why are we here (ph) to fight herself? Maybe I'll live with (ph) mom there as the family (ph).

CARROLL (voice-over): Felix Rubio is a first responder. He's a Uvalde County Sheriff's Deputy. His first fear came true, when he learned his little girl, was among those killed.

F. RUBIO: All I can hope is that she's just not a number. Hopefully, something gets resolved. That's all we ask. Hopefully, something gets resolved.


CARROLL (on camera): I know this is very difficult. But what would you like to get resolved? What would you like to see resolved, at this point?

F. RUBIO: Ban violence guns. I'm a cop, a Deputy, here in Uvalde County. This is enough. This is enough. No one else needs to go through this. We never needed to go through this. But we are.

CARROLL (voice-over): Rubio shared this most recent picture, of Lexi, from March, taken at a mall, in San Antonio.

They also shared some of the things, she dreamed about doing, some day.

F. RUBIO: Read a journal here, recently, I heard that (ph) she wanted to go to Australia.

CARROLL (on camera): She wanted to go to Australia?

KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF LEXI RUBIO: She wanted to go to law school.

CARROLL (on camera): Law school?

K. RUBIO: Yes. At St. Mary's, because that's where I go (ph).


COOPER: A little girl, who wanted to go to law school!

I mean, father's a Sheriff's Deputy - a Sheriff's Deputy, here. The fact that they were, at the school, to see their daughter, get this award, on that same day? It's just so!

CARROLL: And it's the one thing Anderson that her mother just can't seem to forgive herself for.

Even before the interview started, as we were walking up, she came out of the house, and she was - obviously, she was crying. But she kept saying, over and over, "It's my fault. It's my fault. It was my mistake. My mistake." She's like, "I was the one that left her there."

And no matter how many times I kept telling her, I said, "It's not your fault. It's not your fault." But as many times as her husband kept telling her--

COOPER: She wished if she had taken her daughter out of the school, obviously, yes--

CARROLL: She wishes she had taken her out of the school.

COOPER: Of course.

CARROLL: And she just can't seem to forgive herself, at this time. That was one of the toughest things, to witness, no matter how many times you told her that.

And you imagine what he's going through as well. Again, he's a Uvalde County Sheriff's Deputy. And so, when that call came in, that there was a shooting, here, at the school? You can imagine, when he was thinking, as he's rushing out there, wanting to save others, but also knowing--


CARROLL: --his own daughter was there, at this.

COOPER: Having just been there, it's just incredible. Jason Carroll, I appreciate it. Thank you. I'm glad you were able to be with that family.

Joining me now, from Colorado, is Frank DeAngelis. He's the former principal of Columbine High School.

Frank, you and I have spoken at other sickening scenes, like this. It's been more than 23 years, since the murders at Columbine. 12 students, one teacher, Dave Sanders.

What was it like to hear about yet another incident, yet another murder?

FRANK DEANGELIS, FORMER PRINCIPAL, COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: Anderson, just devastating. It took me, back to Columbine.

But much more so, it took me back to what I experienced, when Sandy Hook happened, back in 2012, December 14th. I was still principal at Columbine. And I remember my phone ringing, and just seeking advice, or wanted my input. And it just took me, back to that day.

And the information coming in was not accurate. And all of a sudden they said there were a few that had lost their life. And, by the end of the day, the count just kept rising, and just re-traumatized me, as I'm sure, it did so many others, yesterday.

COOPER: I understand that you called, and you left a message, for the principal, of Robb Elementary School. What did you want to say to her?

DEANGELIS: That - I made a comment, right after Columbine. I said, "I just joined a club, in which no one wants to be a member."

And I just want to reach out, because when Columbine happened, 23 years ago, Bill Bond, who was Principal, at Heath High School, in Paducah, reached out to me, within a couple of days. And he said, "Frank, you don't even know, what you need, at this point. But just keep my number."

And unfortunately, since Columbine, I have called all of these schools, to just offer support. And not that I have all the answers. But I think when I talk to them, and say, "I know what you're feeling," they realize that yes, I do, because I was in that situation, 23 years ago.

COOPER: I mean, it's extraordinary that there is this network now, of people, who have been through this, themselves, who reach out, time after time, after every incident, to those who are now a member of this, as you say, this club, nobody wants to be a part of.

Sandy Phillips, who we talked to earlier, whose daughter, Jessica Ghawi, who was murdered, in Aurora, Colorado, in that movie theater? Her son, who's a first responder, came to the scene, for his work. His sister was killed in Aurora, Colorado.

I mean, it's extraordinary, this has been going on so long, there is a network of people in this country, all of whom have been touched, personally, by this.

DEANGELIS: Yes. And I know. I'm part of an organization that's with the National Association of Secondary School Principals. And they asked me, a few years ago, to head up something called the Principal Recovery Network.


And there are about 29 of us that are actually been involved in shootings, within our community. And so, we reach out, and we have guides, just to help them, wherever we can. And it's not a one-time phone call. I will be there, every step of the way, to help them, just as people helped me, in our community.

COOPER: This may be a dumb question. And ignore it, if it is.

Police have learned a lot, since Columbine. They learned what they need to do, what they don't need to do, what works, what doesn't, to the extent that anything can work about getting in faster, not waiting for a tactical unit, getting in as fast as possible, not waiting, making a perimeter.

What have you learned? What - in all the years, I mean, how do you see this now?

DEANGELIS: Well, I think there's so many lessons learned. And I look at it.

When I talk to people, people will say, "Well, Frank, you're out there speaking, but these shootings continue to happen." And they do. And one more death is one too many.

But the thing that we cannot overlook is how many lives have been saved, because of things we have in place that we didn't have, 23 years ago. The only drills we did 23 years ago, in Colorado, were fire drills.

Now, these kids, from a very early age, are learning, lockdown, locks, lights, out of sight, the response by police officers. Because, most of these events are over, within five minutes. And so it's - just listening to the police talk prior to me coming on is just amazing, the lives that they were able to save, by getting there.

But what's unfortunate? I made a comment, 23 years ago that I said, "I hope these are kids, my beloved 13, did not die in vain." But these shootings continue to happen. And we've got to come up with a solution.

I think back to Parkland, which occurred, back on Valentine's Day, of 2018. And everybody was fired up, and we got to do things. And the students were stating, "You adults have let us down. We need to do something." And now, four years later, we're having these same discussions. It's time to stop talking and start doing things.

And I think the one thing that all of our kids, whether it be Colorado, Connecticut, Texas, they're all of our kids. And to experience what we had, yesterday, is just unthinkable.

And, I know, last night, there were every parent, who hugged their child, as they came home, last night. They put them in bed, just wondering, there is no guarantees, and we can't allow this evil, to win out.

COOPER: Yes. For those families, who now are facing an empty bed, in their home, and what to do, with their child's clothes, and what do you do with their toys, and what do you do with everything, what - how do you - what's your advice, to get through the next day, the next two days, next week?

DEANGELIS: I am so fortunate to work with a group called Safe and Sound Schools. And it's headed up by Michele Gay, whose daughter, Joey, was tragically killed, at Sandy Hook. And she has started this program, and she has several people that give parents, ideas, on what to do, and just what they learned.

And each situation is different. But Michele is an excellent resource, in Safe and Sound Schools. And it's just phenomenal. And she shares exactly, what she went through, with other families, because there are lessons to be learned. And hopefully, these families, will reach out.

Right now, within 24 hours, they don't even know what they need. And what I'll do, is wait to hear. But there'll come a time that I'll reach out, to make sure that I can provide as much support, as possible. And Michele Gay's out there that would do the same thing, with Safe and Sound Schools. So, we do have this network, of support, for them.

COOPER: Yes. Frank DeAngelis, appreciate you talking, tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, we'll be joined a Republican congressman, to discuss the mood among lawmakers, in his party, on this night, and if there's anything lawmakers can agree on, to help avoid this, from happening again.



COOPER: And welcome back, from Uvalde, Texas.

We want to spend a few minutes, on the discussions, about gun violence, being had, by the nation's lawmakers.

I'm joined now by Republican congressman, Adam Kinzinger, of Illinois. He has previously suggested, raising the age to 21, for when a person can purchase firearms, like AR-15-style rifles. Congressman, is that something, you think, could actually happen in America, raising the age to 21?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I hope so. I think there's a lot of people that don't understand the gun laws, from the perspective of this. So, in America, you have to be 21, to buy a handgun, and 18, in most states.

So, there's basically no federal minimum of 21, for long rifles. So you can - when the law was made, you can understand long rifles didn't really - weren't AR-15s, at the time, because they kept the age at 18. You have to be 21. We just federally raised the age to 21, to buy cigarettes, by the way.

I think, when you look at, particularly, this shooting, the shooting before it, there's this epidemic of young men, between the age of 18 and 21 that are doing these kinds of things. I think one of the easiest things we can do, to begin to do something, is to say, "You got to be 21, to buy a rifle, in this country." You got to be 21 to buy cigarettes!

Obviously, we need universal background checks. We need red flag laws with teeth. These are things that we can do, to have that discussion move forward.

But everybody just sits in their corner, and particularly, in my party, scared that if they say anything, they're going to have to face the wrath of the NRA, and gun owners of America.

COOPER: And that's what it is you think, it's the power of the NRA?


KINZINGER: It's the power - yes, it's the power of how angry people get. I mean, let's put it kind of in line with why people don't speak out, about Trump. Because, if you even stand up, and say, "I agree with that, and let's raise the age to 21," your base is going to go bananas.

Because, there's this belief, and it's not entirely wrong, but there's this belief among Republicans that, in the slippery slope idea. "If we do anything, then it's going to lead to a slippery slope, where eventually nobody owns guns at all." Obviously, nobody's intention is to take everybody's guns away. But in that, we are frozen to do anything.

And I say this, to Second Amendment supporters, like I am. We have to be the ones putting forward solutions, for responsible gun ownerships.

And the answer to defending the Second Amendment, isn't that we need open carry, in every state, it isn't to take your AR-15, and to occupy the Michigan State Capitol, because you're tough, and you can. It is to come up with things, we can do, to ensure that as many of these kinds of things that we can mitigate, we do.

And it's obviously a heart problem, in this country too, Anderson. But there are a number of things we can do on the gun side that I think 90 percent of Americans agree on.

COOPER: I mean, is there - will any event, like this, actually sway members of Congress, though?

KINZINGER: I think, I mean, sadly, yes, it's probably going to ultimately take that. But I think - I'd say this to any member of Congress, or anybody, who votes on any of this kind of stuff.

Once you've actually - you're pent-up, you really want to say, "Let's raise the age to 21," or "Let's have red flag laws," but you're scared to death? Once you actually say it, and you rip the band aid off, and you get all the angry texts? You feel very liberated. And so, I want more and more Republicans, to feel strong and passionate, about the fact that we've got to do something.

So, is this going to be the thing that - I don't know. I hope so. But unfortunately, there's going to be something. Because this is a daily occurrence, and it makes me, as I'm sure everybody, just, it's awful.

COOPER: And I just want to point out, I mean, you are an active-duty serviceman. You know about firearms. You are a supporter of the Second Amendment. I just want to make that clear, correct?

KINZINGER: That's right. And look, it's not about - it's about saying how can we make this a responsible thing? I'm a gun owner myself, right? But I have a license to concealed carry.

Some of these states are saying, "If you're above the age 18, you can carry an AR, in public, an AR-15." And the only thing, difference is, right now, the muzzle is pointed at the ground. So, I'm not a threat. In two feet, I'm a threat. That's the only difference. This is insane.

There's a gun fetish, in this country, a fetish for guns. Look, I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I don't believe we need to worship guns. And there are too many people that do that.

COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, I appreciate your time, tonight. Thank you.

KINZINGER: God bless.

COOPER: Ahead, the world reacts, and shares its sorrow, for what happened here.

Be right back.



COOPER: The grief felt here, in Texas, and nationwide, tonight, extends across the globe. Our Randi Kaye, tonight, on the leaders paying tribute, and sharing in this country's sadness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the midst of a war, Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, took time, to offer his sympathy.

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): I would like to express, my condolences, to all of the relatives, and family members, of the children, who were killed, in an awful shooting, in Texas.

KAYE (voice-over): In his own condolence message, French President, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted this.

"Children and teachers were murdered in a cowardly attack in their Texas school," adding, "We share the shock and grief of the American people, and the rage of those who are fighting to end the violence."

Also, on Twitter, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, wrote, "My heart breaks. I'm thinking of the parents, the families, the friends, the classmates, and the coworkers whose lives have been forever changed. Canadians are mourning with you, and are here for you."

U.K. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the country's Labour leader, also weighed in, on the shooting, at Robb Elementary.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: Our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific attack.

KEIR STARMER, LEADER OF THE LABOUR PARTY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It is an unspeakable tragedy and our hearts are with the American people.

KAYE (voice-over): London's Mayor expressed his grief too, tweeting, he is utterly heartbroken.

"My prayers are with the families of those lost and the community," he said, adding "London stands with Uvalde & all those campaigning to enact laws to end these senseless and devastating attacks."

This was New Zealand's Prime Minister, on CBS' "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert."

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: When I watch from afar, and see events, such as those, today, I think of them, not as a politician. I see them, just as a mother. And I'm so sorry for what has happened here.

KAYE (voice-over): Germany's Chancellor tweeted his thoughts are with the bereaved, calling it an "Inconceivable massacre, for which hardly any words can be found."

Israelis' Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, tweeted, "Israel mourns together with the American people."

And Mexico's President sent a big hug, to the families, of the victims, along with his condolences, pain and solidarity.

And from the Vatican, the Holy Father. POPE FRANCIS, HEAD OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND SOVEREIGN OF THE VATICAN CITY (through translator): I am heartbroken, by the massacre, at the elementary school, in Texas. I pray for the children, and the adults, who were killed, and for their families.

Let us all make a commitment, so that tragedies, like this, cannot happen again.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN.


COOPER: Well, CNN's coverage, of the tragedy, in Texas, continues, with "DON LEMON TONIGHT," and Don.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, it is really about remembering the victims of this, and for all the family members, who are just, really, at the beginning of the grief. Some of the interviews that you've conducted tonight are just, it's heartbreaking to witness.