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Erin Burnett Outfront

Investigators: Gunman Was Inside School At Least 40 Minutes; Some Of The 19 Children Massacred At School Identified; Exclusive: CNN Obtains Texts Gunman Sent Just Before Massacre; Biden: "When In God's Name Will We Do What Needs To Be Done;" Biden Says He Will Travel To Texas To Visit School Shooting Victims; Republicans Dismiss Talk To Reforming Gun Laws; Official: School Officer Engaged Gunman, But No Gunfire Exchanged. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 25, 2022 - 19:00   ET




The breaking news -- as the nation mourns the 21 lives lost in Texas, growing questions over the police response to the shooter, and the messages he sent just before the massacre.

Plus, a Republican who represented the people of Uvalde, now he's calling out his own party for doing nothing about gun violence, saying "this shit has got to stop." Will Hurd is my guest tonight.

Plus, more calls for arming teachers and security guards at school. Is there any evidence, though, that that works? We investigate.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, at least 40 minutes of terror. Officials now say the gunman who murdered 19 children and two teachers was inside the Uvalde, Texas elementary school for 40 minutes if not longer. During that time, he murdered 21 innocent people. The families of the children you see on your screen, torn apart in a matter of seconds. Their parents, brothers and sisters, friends, will never see them again.

And yesterday's attack has brought the number of shootings to four or more in the United States to 213 incidents this year alone, 213 incident where is four or more people have been shot. I mean, to put that into perspective, today is the 145th day of the year, which to do the basic comparison, mean there is have been more mass shootings than days in the year 2022. And there have been at least 30 shootings at K- 12 schools already this year.

This is unacceptable. But we must say it, it is the reality. And because there's been no action time after time after time again, it actually is accepted.

And today, we heard from Texas Governor Greg Abbott. He says the gunman was a high school dropout with no known history of mental health problems. An 18-year-old that we now know sent a message online 30 minutes before the shooting saying he was going to shoot his grandmother. Minutes later, the gunman wrote, quote, I shot my grandmother. And 15 minutes before the shooting, he writes, I'm going to shoot an elementary school.

All right, so these are the pieces of information we're now piecing together. As we also learn a school resource officer confronted the gunman at Robb Elementary School, but no gunfire was exchanged as the shooter entered the school. Twenty-one people then were murdered.

It is the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook in Connecticut ten years ago. That attack in 2012 was really about the same time that many of those who were slaughtered yesterday in Texas were born.

Ten-year-old Lexi Rubio, 10 years old. Her parents just celebrated her making the all-honor roll before saying goodbye to her at school yesterday. Her father, who was a deputy, actually was one of the first responders to the shooting.

And earlier, her parents spoke to our Jason Carroll about their daughter and her dreams.


FELIX RUBIO, FATHER OF LEXI RUBIO: She wanted to go to Australia.


KIMBERLY RUBIO, MOTHER OF LEXI RUBIO: She wanted to go to law school. In St. Mary's.


BURNETT: Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT. He is live in Uvalde tonight. And Lucy Kafanov is in San Antonio, where students are still recovering obviously, some are still are hoping and praying they will survive.

Ed, let me begin with you. What more are you learning right now?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we're learning just the sheer horror that the students and the faculty inside Robb Elementary School endured yesterday afternoon. This attack, which lasted nearly an hour, but investigators say that it wasn't until the moments before the attack that they had any inclination that this gunman was going to carry out this kind of carnage.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: I'm going to shoot an elementary school.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): That was one of the chilling messages that the 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: Eighteen-year-old Salvador Ramos 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: Salvador Ramos is described by Texas investigators as a dropout 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 and the 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: Investigators say from the moment Ramos 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 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 another kid get hit in the face.

LAVANDERA: He saw another classmate get shot in the face?

HERNANDEZ: From across the hall.

LAVANDERA: The gunman barricaded himself inside the elementary school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was probably 30 minutes after we arrived, after I arrived, I know that, that the shooter was neutralized.

LAVANDERA: Posing with rifles, Ramos 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 MCGRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: He crashed the vehicle at that point. He exited with a backpack. He took a rifle with him. He went towards the west side of the campus.

LAVANDERA: 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: 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. Tuesday night, the Uvalde community came together to mourn, 17 others were injured in the shooting. None with life threatening injuries. The gunman's grandmother is in serious condition.

HERNANDEZ: Keep us in your prayers. Don't forget about us.


LAVANDERA: And, Erin, what is still very much not clear tonight is what exactly happened in that initial confrontation between the school resource officer here on the campus and the gunman when he first arrived. We were told that no shots were fired in that moment. We believe that that officer was armed. A DPS official tells CNN tonight that in that moment, the gunman dropped the backpack that he was carrying, and then ran inside.

But no clear explanation as to why shots weren't fired at the gunman in that moment. What was it about that moment that kept the officer from firing at the gunman before he entered the school? Those are the questions that we still don't have answers to right now.

BURNETT: All right. Ed Lavandera, and we're going to have a special report later in the hour. You may have heard, right, there were some in Texas the first response was, we need to have more people armed in schools. If people armed in schools aren't able to stop shootings, that's not a solution. So, what is the track record here? We have an investigation coming up, and I want to make sure everyone has a chance to see it.

Because this comes as you got all of these families now grieving, the completely shocking loss of their children.

Lucy Kafanov is OUTFRONT at University Health Hospital in San Antonio with more.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are the faces of the future, lost to a nation's violent present.

Jose Flores, Jr., a fourth grader full of energy, his father said, ready to play until the night.

Uziyah Garcia, a 10-year-old who loved football and video games.

Lexi Rubio, a little girl who wanted to go to law school, just like her mother. Lexi Rubio's family overcome as they recall her sweetness and to plea that her life has impact.


KAFANOV: Lexi is one of 19 children that were all gunned down in a fourth grade classroom, whose parents held on to hope that they would hold their children once gone.

Amerie Jo Garza's father, Angel, wrote on Facebook, it's been seven hours and I still haven't heard anything on my love. Please, help me find my daughter.

This morning, the heartbreaking update. She's been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above, Garza wrote. Please don't take a second for granted. Hug your family, tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo.

Ten-year-old Javier Lopez had a smile his mother says she'll never forget. He was among the honor roll students that attended an award ceremony the morning of the shooting.

HAL HARRELL, UVALDE SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: As I look at their pictures, you can just tell by their angelic smile that they were loved, that they loved coming to school. And they were just precious individuals.

KAFANOV: The community also mourning two teachers. Eva Mireles, 44 years old, loved running, biking, and being with her family.


Undoubtedly her, her family says she died protecting others.

AMBER YBARRA, EVAN MIRELES' COUSIN: She was a vivacious soul. She spread laughter and joy everywhere she went.

HARRELL: These two teachers, I would say are the corner stone of that campus to stop great degree. They are two beautiful souls.

KAFANOV: Mireles' daughter writing an open letter to her mother: I am so happy that people know your name and they know what a hero looks like. I want to thank you, mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be proud to be your daughter. My sweet mommy, I will see you again.


KAFANOV (on camera): Tomorrow was supposed to be the last day of school, Erin. But the families you saw in our story are now planning funerals instead of summer vacation. Other families are anxiously awaiting word about the injured loved ones. We are in front of the university hospital here in San Antonio, Texas. Four patients were airlifted here yesterday evening. Three little girls and a 66-year-old woman, who is likely the shooter's grandmother.

Authorities say he shot her in the face before running off to the school and committing that senseless act of violence. We know that two of the girls, the 9-year-old and 10-year-old are in good condition. The grandmother, and another 10-year-old arrived in critical condition, downgraded to serious today but still fighting for their lives, Erin.

BURNETT: Lucy, thank you very much.

Anthony Barksdale joins me now, CNN law enforcement analyst, former acting Baltimore police commissioner, along with our own Ed Lavandera with the new reporting here.

Commissioner, let me start with you, what Ed was laying out. And that is what we understand here about the timeline. Obviously, still a lot more we need to know. But investigators are saying up to an hour passed between the time the shooter arrived on the campus of Robb Elementary, barricading himself inside that classroom to the time he was neutralized.

What do you make of this timeline thus far?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's concerning. I would like to know exactly what was going on with the officer's response. When you have an active shooter, you go to the sound of the gunfire. Your goal is to get to the suspect as fast as possible, incapacitate, neutralize. Let's not dance around it, you're trying to take this individual out before that person harms any others.

An hour? An hour, 40 minutes, whatever. That's a long time. I don't know if this guy is moving around, position to position, trying to barricade, using cover here or there. But I wonder where were all of the resources to get there in this a lot faster than 40 minutes or an hour. So I have a lot of questions that I'm sure the investigation will answer.

BURNETT: Ed, there is lot we don't know. We don't know how many people were on scene when they arrived and what order, when the slaughter happened, there's just a lot we don't know.

But one thing, Ed, that I know you've been reporting on is when the shooter first arrived, he encountered the SRO, the school resource officer. It sounds like your understanding at this point is that that officer was armed, correct?

LAVANDERA: That's our understanding. That's the implication from the officials we have spoken to tonight, made it sound like that officer was armed. But in that initial moment, no shots were fired.

I can fill in the gaps there about what happened inside the school. Again, this is not a complete picture that we have at this point. But from the moment the gunman engaged with that resource officer outside the school to the moment he was killed, we're told lasted anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. At some point, he goes inside. We were told by law enforcement officials that he enters the school, walks down the hallway, makes a couple of turns and ends up in a classroom area that is the size of two classrooms if I'm understanding the description correctly.

It's in there where the majority of these children were killed. It sounds like officers had a hard time breaching into that space, and that they waited for tactical teams to arrive on the scene. So these were officers, tactical officers able to go in there with shields, I believe they mentioned.

So it sounds like they needed some time for those SWAT officers, those tactical units to arrive on scene. Officers and law enforcement officials were saying today they believed that that move, having the officer or the gunman barricaded inside that one room, saved the lives of dozens of other people elsewhere in the school.


They felt like they had him cornered in there. That's the description we have gotten so far.

ERIN: Do we know, Ed, whether that room is the room where he killed the people that he killed and was everyone in that room killed and they're saying it could have been more if he left the room, or is that -- is that still unclear?

LAVANDERA: I can't say if everyone in that room was killed. I believe that is by far the vast majority of the victims were found in this situation because law enforcement officials were saying that's the very room where the gunman was killed by the border patrol agent.

BURNETT: All right. I want to bring in Candice DeLong into the conversation. She's a former FBI profiler, host of "The Killer Psyche" podcast.

So, Candace, when you hear this, as we see this timeline unfolding, we understand from Governor Abbott that he said the shooter had no known history of mental his illness, but we have a video that depicts him repeatedly throwing punches. I'll let everyone watch that.

Of course, any of these things, you know, taken on their own may mean nothing. But when you put it all together, it does mean something. What do you take away from what we have heard?

CANDICE DELONG, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: In addition to what we have heard, it's also, Erin, what we know about studying sadly so many of these events. And that they are almost always committed, almost always committed by a young man who is mentally ill. This person may have no known record of mental illness or mental health treatment, but that doesn't mean he wasn't suffering from something mentally.

Let's be honest, this is very unusual for someone to kill someone else because they're upset, especially a teenager. Let alone go in a school and massacre many, many people.

BURNETT: So, Commissioner Barksdale, on the morning of the shooting, the gunman sends text messages, and he sends them to a young woman in Germany, a 15-year-old girl. And he tells on them exactly what he's planning to do. He says that he is going to shoot his grandmother. He says that he's then going to shoot up an elementary school. He says all this stuff.

These are private messages, okay? These are private messages. He says he shoots the grandmother, but what isn't private is that an 18-year- old buys two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition over a period of three days, right?

How can that have not raised a red flag? How is it possible in any situation, that an 18-year-old can go in a store and buy two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition in three days?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It should have raised some concern. Unfortunately, the changes are not being made in the United States to address issues like this. So he was able to pull it off and then he goes and kills a bunch of innocent little kids that never did anything to him. So I can't even explain it at this point. This is in the hands of politicians, law enforcement. If they didn't see it, then they don't know. But we do know that he did send out that type of message of intention and he carried it out. Unbelievable.

BURNETT: Candice, one of the things that the girl in Germany, again, the private messages that he -- why he had selected her, we don't know. But he texted her things that disturbed her. One of them was that he talked about -- he said he threw dead cats at people's houses. There's a record of this.

Again, these are private messages, unclear to what level law enforcement would know about them. These are sent to a 15-year-old girl in Frankfurt. But that was one of the comments, that he threw dead cats at people's houses. What do you hear with that, Candice?

DELONG: Well, one of the things we do know about boys that become serial killer adult men and massacre people that commit mass murder, in their youth, usually adolescence, they were involved in some kind of animal torture.


It's so common. It's almost -- it's completely understood that that happens.

Why he told someone -- let's assume for the sake of argument he was telling the truth, that he did catch or capture cats and kill them and throw them in people's yards. Let's assume that is true. Very angry, very angry man. Very angry boy.

I would be interested to know the houses where he actually threw cats, were those people that he saw as enemies? The vast majority of time, the main motivation of people that commit mass murder, even teenagers that do it in schools, is revenge.

They are angry. They are angry at the world. And they have decided by the time they do this what they're going to do, and they're going to make a big deal about it.

And they have also generally decided they are going to die, because of the event. They're either going to be killed by the police or they are going to take their own life. I don't know that we know when the incident with the cats happened.

BURNETT: That's unclear. Ed, they have been saying neutralize, that law enforcement killed the shooter in this case. But I'm also curious, Ed, is your understanding because his grandmother is, we understand she's in the hospital. We don't know fully her condition. He said he shot her in the head, so it's unclear what this is.

But have they had any opportunity to speak to her? Is she going to be well enough to speak to? She obviously could be very important in terms of understanding the motive in what happened that day.

LAVANDERA: That's true. We know that she's in serious condition. We don't know the extent to which she's been questioned by law enforcement. We were at the house where she lived earlier today, and her husband, the grandmother of this gunman, did come out and speak with reporters for a brief moment.

He said that he had no idea that the 18-year-old had gone off and bought that weaponry that was used in the attack at the school here. But the extent to which law enforcement has been able to get more information from the grandmother directly is not clear at this point.

BURNETT: So, Commissioner Barksdale, what do you think will actually be done as a result of this horror?

BARKSDALE: Well, I'm going to go back to the initial reporting of the 40 to 60 minutes to -- in this situation. Since Columbine, law enforcement executives have learned a lesson that every second counts. So for any police department in this day and age, after so many lives lost, not to know, to have patrol rifles available, body bunkers for the officers, to immediately form a stack and go in, then there's a problem.

So hopefully first, this department gets with it, and gets the officers what they need should this ever happen again. Then I would hope to see, and based on what I saw today, it's just a hope that these politicians do only real work to stop the talking and fix as much as they can to prevent 18-year-olds from coming into possession with this type of lethal weaponry.


BARKSDALE: I know the president is on it. He's trying. But I also see the opposition. So if these poor little kids aren't enough to make the people on the other side say, hey, maybe we need to be bipartisan here, then I don't know what's going to happen to our country. This is it.

I don't want to be on CNN again, going over this stuff. Going over how little kids are slaughtered. So Erin, I hope this is it. I hope we see some real activity instead of politicians on the stage playing word games about what is really the issue. So that's where I am.

BURNETT: Commissioner, I appreciate you. I think you are where I believe the majority of the country is. Thank you very much, sir. And, of course, Candice and Ed, thank you.

Next, President Biden is demanding action tonight, saying something needs to be done. But, of course, what will be done?


Plus, Beto O'Rourke running for Texas governor confronts the current governor.



BETO O'ROURKE, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing.


BURNETT: And there are an estimated 20,000 armed security guards in America's schools, 20,000. The one in Uvalde was armed. So do they work to stop mass shootings? An OUTFRONT investigation, coming up.


BURNETT: F-ing nuts to do nothing about this. That was Arizona Senator Mark Kelly's reaction to the last mass shooting in Texas. His wife, Gabby Giffords, was shot in 2011 in a mass shooting in a supermarket parking lot.

There have been a lot of strong words on Capitol Hill but there has been yet no planned action on gun legislation before Congress leaves town tomorrow for the Memorial Day holiday.

In the White House tonight, Joe Biden is demanding more action.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must ask when in God's name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the I mount of carnage that goes on in this country? To state the obvious, I'm sick and tired. I'm just sick and tired of what's going on and continues to go on.

The idea that an 18-year-old could walk into a store and buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is, I think, just wrong. It just violates common sense. Even the manufacturer, the inventor of that weapon, thought that, as well.

You know, where is the backbone? Where is the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?


BURNETT: Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT at the White House tonight.

And, Phil, the president has been incredibly vocal since this happened, right, even in the hours right afterwards, and he says something needs to be done. But is there a sense when you look at the landscape there on Capitol Hill of what that actually means?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, in talking to White House officials and congressional Democrats, something I've heard repeatedly in some form or fashion is, we're not naive. Obviously, they have been through this many times over the course of really the last decade, with no results, no end game, no legislation that's ever reached the president's desk. But the president noting, fundamentally shift the dynamic that's been so deeply entrenched.


You have gotten a sense of what the strategy will be in the near term. There are two House Democratic bills related to background checks that have been passed. The Senate is not immediately moving to take those up. In a sense, they're trying to give some space right now -- some space as people grapple with the horrors of what we've seen down in Texas that perhaps bipartisan talks can start to germinate again.

That perhaps they can happen.

This isn't an unending deadline. Senator Chris Murphy, one of the point people for the Senate Democratic Caucus, said he's going to take ten days to see if something can bubble up to the surface. They have talked about background checks. They've talked about red flag laws. There are bipartisan discussions happening.

But, again, the lack of naivety is intentional at this point in time. So many of these lawmakers, many of these staffers have been through this so many times.

One thing I would note, the president, while he supports expanded background checks, while very clearly he talks about an assault weapons ban being re-implemented, he's not going all in on a single proposal or demanding one or two specific policies. He's giving space, as well. Whether that space will turn into anything, obviously, if past is precedent, it seems unlikely. But they want something to come to pass and they want this to matter is how one official put it to me earlier today -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you very much.

And I should note, former President Trump has confirmed today, today, that he will speak at the NRA's annual meeting in Houston on Friday. Just three days after a gunman killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers a few hundred miles away in Uvalde, in the state of Texas.

According to the NRA website, advertising Trump's speech, no firearm will be permitted in the assembly all while Trump is present. Well, I guess what goes for him doesn't go for everyone else.

It comes as Republicans on Capitol Hill are suggesting there is nothing that can be done to prevent these shootings, accusing others of politicizing the tragedy.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): The truth of the matter is, these people are going to commit these horrifying crimes, whether they have to use another weapon to do it with, they're going to figure out a way to do it.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I can't assure the American people there's any law we can pass to stop these shootings.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): -- when there's a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media, whose immediate solution is to try to restrict constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, former Republican Congressman Will Hurd who represented the Uvalde community for six years in Congress. And Paul Begala, former White House counsel to the President Clinton and our political commentator.

Congressman Hurd, just to state the obvious, you know, Marco Rubio, often has very thoughtful things to say. But to say someone with a knife can could in and slaughter 21 people, it -- you know, it's not right. So when you hear Trump and other Republicans heading to Texas for the NRA meeting, Trump confirming today, senators on Capitol Hill, many of them finding ways to dismiss ideas for gun control, what do you say to them?

WILL HURD (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, anybody that says there's nothing that can be done is just absolutely wrong. There's a lot of different things that can be done. There's not just one magic fix that's going to solve all of this problem.

You know, in Texas, why do you have to be 21 to have a hand gun but you can be 18 to have a semiautomatic rifle? That doesn't make sense. If you go in and purchase a weapon, everybody should have a background check. I was one of the few Republicans that voted in support of HR8, that's the piece of legislation that's often brought up when these debates happen, the one that Coach Kerr from the Golden State Warriors was talking about the other night.


HURD: We could be talking about issues of mental health.

Yes, the people that conduct this, the kid that did this slaughter in Uvalde is a monster. The kid that killed people in Buffalo is a monster. When I was in Congress, the kid that killed people in El Paso were monsters.

But they didn't start off that way. So, how do we get to them before they make that decision to do these things? Let's study this, let's understand what this is going on.

I only know of two researchers that have reviewed all of the mass shootings since 1966. They call it the Violence Project. We need -- so that we understand all the things that we can be doing, it's not just one, it's multiple things that need to be happening at the same time.

And anybody, Republican or Democrat, that says there's nothing that can be done for this, then shame on them.

BURNETT: So, you know, Paul, you hear Will willing to call out, you know, his own party here, well, Beto O'Rourke, Democratic candidate for governor in your home state of Texas, confronted Governor Greg Abbott and other officials during a press conference on the shooting. Take a listen what happened.



BETO O'ROURKE, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing. You're offering us nothing. You said this was not predictable, this is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, you are out of line! Sir, you are out of line!


Sir, you are out of line.

O'ROURKE: -- to stop this from happening again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out of here. Get out of here, please.

MAYOR DON MCLAUGHLIN, UVALDE, TX: I can't believe you're a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not the place to do that.


BURNETT: That was the Uvalde mayor. Just before that happened, Paul, O'Rourke sent out a campaign email about the shooting. There wasn't a donation link included, but the email does say, grassroots supporters like you keep us going and directing them to a mailing address to send checks to the campaign.

Was his behavior today a mistake?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think no. I think confronting the governor in public, he didn't go to his home. He didn't bother his family. I think more of us should be a Beto. More of us should be Beto.

We should confront this -- these politicians work for us. In public, when they're at the town hall meetings or trying to get the press, I think it's wonderful, frankly, to express that righteous indignation.

You know, Will is friends with Beto. I know Beto. He's a dad. That wasn't a politician there. That was a dad and it was an El Pasoan whose heart was broken on a mass slaughter in that town.

BURNETT: So, you don't have a problem with the fact that it was performance theater? I mean, the mayor of Uvalde saying, I can't believe you're a sick son of a bitch that would come to a deal like this and do that? You just don't agree?

BEGALA: No, I think the sick people are the ones who say, in the wake of a mass shooting, let's have -- let's make it easier to carry weapons. Governor Abbott, get this, he signed a law in Texas that says you can carry a gun with no training, no school, no certification, no licensing, no registration, nothing. I looked it up.

To be a cosmetologist in Texas, Erin, you have to have 1,500 hours of training because, you know, that curling iron, that could hurt somebody, that's a dangerous instrument.

So, no, I think what's sick is the fetishization of these Republicans on this issue.


BEGALA: Will is right. He was only one of eight people to vote for that background check, only eight.


BEGALA: OK. When I worked for President Clinton, we passed the Brady Bill, we had 54 in the House, 17 in the Senate. We had Ronald Reagan standing up for sensible gun safety.

So something has happened to the Republican Party. It's not the party of Ronald Reagan or even Will Hurt anymore. It's a party of really sick politicians.

BURNETT: Well, it has become an absolutism on guns, as both of you laid out. Texas being an example.

I want to ask you about that in a second. But just to be clear, Paul, how many guns do you have? You're a gun owner.

BEGALA: I have a lot -- I'm a gun owner. I'm an avid hunter. I shoot targets and I love to hunt, and I'm -- my rights have never been infringed. I support a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high capacity magazines.

BURNETT: I mean, I'm trying to make a point that, to be clear, you have a lot of guns, right?

BEGALA: Yes, I do.


BEGALA: I'm not anti-gun at all. I'm anti-felons and criminals and terrorists and I'm anti-assault weapons. We can do a lot of common sense things without infringes on rights.

BURNETT: And, Wil, the thing is, is that the American public agrees with both of you. So Monmouth University did a poll after the Parkland shooting. What I found fascinating about this, the NRA comes out and fights for this absolutism.

But the people who are the members of the NRA do not support the NRA's public position. Sixty-nine percent in that poll of NRA members supported background checks for all gun purchases. That's 69 percent of NRA members, 83 percent f the general population.

So, how is it, Will, that Republican lawmakers, many of them do not support expanding background checks? They're at odds with members of the NRA.

HURD: They're also at odds with the majority of the actual voters in the primaries. Most of the voters -- look, I was born and raised in Texas. Responsible gun owners, they take several days of training before you get licensed to go hunting. A responsible gun owner locks their guns and ammunition up so nobody can get access to it. Responsible gun owners know that these things and teach their children how to properly use this.

So why are we not seeing more movement on these issues? Responsible gun owners do not think terrorists and people that have serious mental health issues should have access to firearms. So the question is, is not about responsible gun owners, because responsible gun owners agree with all these things.

And just today, I think the study came out about 90 percent of Americans think something needs to be done. But what we have to prevent is we have to prevent everybody going to their same tired corners and arguing for their same tired, you know, case that happens every time one of these things happen.

There is not one single solution to this problem. We have to do a lot of things. And at the end of the day, today, there are 19 moms that are not going to be able to tuck their children away.

And when you've got to understand about Uvalde, this is a small community.


They know everybody. This is not just impacting the families, it's not just impacting the spouses of the teachers that were killed. This is impacting everybody.

The police officers that went in and saw the carnage, where people had to be ID'd by DNA, this is going to impact people for a long time to come. The people in Southerland Springs from a couple of years ago are still dealing with the trauma. The people in El Paso are still dealing with the trauma.

This is happening all over. This is an area where we should be able to get together and say, hey, 50 percent of teenage kids in this country shouldn't be afraid of something -- a major shooting event happening at their school. And if this continues, guess what's happened? It's going to be harder and harder to get teachers to teach, because they're going to be afraid to be in these schools. So there's a lot of things we can be doing, and it requires leadership

from Democrats. It requires the GOP. GOP, if you are going to be the party of law enforcement and be the party that's tough on crime, then we have to be tough on mass shootings and have the best ideas on how to prevent this from happening.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.

And next, new calls for armed officers in schools as part of the solution. Well, there is a track record on that. So we'll look at it. Are more guns really the answer?

And a Sandy Hook survivor speaking out, calling for action.



BURNETT: The investigation into how the gunman was able to enter Robb Elementary School is underway at this hour. Officials say a school resource officer was the first to encounter the shooter but no shots were fired. Our Ed Lavandera says no law enforcement says law enforcement say that SRO was armed.

And tonight, there are growing calls for more armed guards at schools as a solution. So are they effective?

Tom Foreman has this OUTFRONT investigation.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nationwide push for armed guards in every school began with Columbine High in 1999.

The murders at Sandy Hook Elementary 13 years later reignited the cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

FOREMAN: Now, up to an estimated 20,000 armed school resource officers, SROs, are on duty, paid for by close to $1 billion from state and local governments, hoping to stop violent attacks.

But the Justice Policy Institute's Marc Schindler says there's a problem.

MARC SCHINDLER, JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE: Listen, I'm a parent of high school kids. If there was evidence to show that school police officers would make their schools safer, I would be all for it. But at the end of the day, there's literally no evidence to show that police in schools make schools safer.

POLICE OFFICER: I think we've got shots fired, possible shots fired.

FOREMAN: At Stoneman Douglas High in Florida, security cameras recorded an armed SRO standing outside the building where 17 people were shot and killed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My client is not pleading guilty because he did nothing wrong.

FOREMAN: Scott Peterson faces charges for his inaction, but he says he didn't know where the gunman didn't know.

SCOTT PETERSON, SRO: There was no way in hell I would sate there and allow those kids to die with me being next to another building sitting there. No way!

FOREMAN: At Santa Fe High in Texas, armed SROs traded shots with the gunman and helped forced him to surrender. But ten people were killed.

At Red Lake High in Minnesota, an unarmed guard confronted a shooter, only to be shot and killed himself. Nine died there.

So in Texas, the attorney general wants more than just officers.

KEN PAXTON (R), TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly, because the reality is, we don't have the resources to have law enforcement at every school.

FOREMAN: But the National Association of SROs says what's needed is more mental health care for students, more realistic expectations about how their officers can and do reduce violence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you've got a person with a weapon, bent on killing people, you're probably going to lose some people on the front end. I just hate to say that. Our job becomes trying to contain that and stop further killing.


FOREMAN (on camera): So, even some fervent defenders of armed officers in the school say upfront people need to stop looking at this as this great solution they imagined it would be. It only works as part of a much bigger, coordinated effort. And important to remember in all of this, one person with a gun, they say, has to be very good, very brave, and very lucky to make a difference all by themselves -- Erin.

BURNETT: Tom Foreman, thank you very much.

FOREMAN: You're welcome.

BURNETT: And next, a Sandy Hook survivor recounts being huddled with 9-year-olds in a closet as a madman fired away there at innocent children.

And tonight, she has a message for the families facing such horrific loss in Texas.

And the State Department acknowledging America's inability to prevent mass shootings is hurting the U.S. around the world. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures of demonstrators gathering outside the NRA headquarters. Those are in Fairfax, Virginia. An individual that is being held in Austin for the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting.

It comes as the news out of Texas has families who have suffered this around the country reliving their horror. In Newtown, Connecticut, of course, 10 years ago, the most deadly shooting.

Mary Ann Jacob was working as a librarian at Sandy Hook Elementary. She was huddled in a closet with 18 9-year-olds and three of her colleagues, 26 people died there, including 20 children. They were all 5 and 6 years old.

Mary Ann Jacob joins me now.

Mary Ann, you know, gosh, when you heard this horrible news yesterday, you sent a message to the families and survivors in Texas. You posted, I'm sick at what you're going through today. I'm transported to the firehouse we were brought to after that shooting at our school almost ten years ago. I'm so sorry these deaths did not change our world.

Yet here we are, this unthinkable has happened all over again. How -- how did you feel when you first heard this?

MARY ANN JACOB, VOLUNTEER WITH MOMS DEMAND ACTION: You know, I think what you read was how I felt. I felt physically sick, Erin. I think the fact that these families are going through what our community went through almost ten years ago, and we've done nothing to change it is shocking.

You know, I was listening to your earlier session and the discussion about, you know, oh, background checks aren't going to change anything. These people are going to do what they want to do. You know, the Republicans and those who aren't willing to support background checks and other common-sense gun laws, frankly, they have no solutions to offer. All they want to do is prevent us from doing the right thing.

We know more guns don't help. If that was true, we'd have less deaths today than ten years ago because there's more guns today than ten years ago. We know that the states that have stricter gun laws have less deaths because of guns. You know, those are facts, and they're just unwilling to see the facts. And they don't want to do anything but obstruct.

BURNETT: Of course, the numbers I was presented with yesterday is it went from 300 registered guns at the time of the Marjory Stoneman shooting in Parkland, Florida, to 400 million guns now. So, obviously, a dramatic increase over that time frame.

JACOB: Right. BURNETT: I know that you want the families at Robb Elementary, the

survivors who were in that school, to know that you're here for them when they're ready, that you and the survivors at Newtown can understand in a way that others cannot. What will you say to them?

JACOB: You know, I remember back after the shooting in Sandy Hook that, you know, how lost we all felt and how we felt like we were in this black hole and would never get out.


And there were some survivors from Columbine who came to Newtown and frankly threw us a lifeline. Just the fact that they were alive and functioning and speaking and, you know, there for us let us know that we could get through it.

You know, we knew it wasn't going to be pretty. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We knew it was going to be a tough road but seeing somebody else who had been there made a significant difference for us and also gave us lifelong friendships that frankly have helped us and continue to help us as we see these things continue to happen.

BURNETT: All right. Mary Ann, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

JACOB: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Amazing to know that they from Newtown will be down there trying to offer some sort of solace and comfort to those families enduring the unimaginable in Texas tonight.

OUTFRONT next, the prime minister of New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in 2019, with a message for Washington.


BURNETT: Tonight, the world watching in horror as America reels from another mass shooting.

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy, whose country is at war -- children have been killed at war -- taking note of the massacre saying, quote: This is terrible to have victims of shooter in peaceful time. They have lost children in there in war because there's an active war killed by guns.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand where a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in 2019 told Stephen Colbert about the government's response after an attack.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: We are a very pragmatic people. When we saw something like that happened, we said never again. And so, again, it was incumbent upon us as politicians to respond to that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And they did. They voted nearly unanimously to ban military- style semiautomatic weapons less than one month after the shooting because what happens in American schools does not happen anywhere else in the world.

Two hundred thirteen shootings of four or more people so far this year, and it's only day 145. The frequency of these attacks and the lack of any real reform does not happen anywhere else.

I'll leave it with this: If America can't universally agree that an 18-year-old shouldn't be able to buy two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammo in three days with no questions asked, then what the hell can we agree on?

Thanks for joining us.

Our breaking news coverage continues now.