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Erin Burnett Outfront

Official: Gunman Killed About One Hour After He Entered School; Father Mourns Loss Of His 10-Year-Old Daughter Killed In Uvalde; GOP Sen. McConnell Tells CNN He Asked Top Republican Cornyn To Engage In Gun Reform Talks With Democrats; Musicians Cancel Performances At NRA Convention After Shootings; Unlike U.S. Government, Other Countries Respond To Mass Shootings With New Gun Laws & See Drop In Violence; Sources: 100K+ Ukrainians Forcibly Taken To "Filtration Camps;" Father Mourns Loss Of His 10-Year-Old Daughter Killed In Uvalde. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 26, 2022 - 19:00   ET




More questions than answers. Texas police facing intense scrutiny tonight over their response to the Uvalde school massacre, as we learn the gunman entered the school without any resistance and it took over an hour for police to shoot and kill him.

Plus, more on one of the young lives lost in Tuesday's tragedy. Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez just ten years old killed along with her cousin who was in the same classroom. Annabelle's father joins me.

And canceling the NRA. I'm going to speak to a musician coming up, who just pulled out of a performance at the NRA's annual convention which kicks off in just hours.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, confusion and anger as serious questions grow over the police response to the massacre inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Today, officials laying out a timeline of the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. The gunman entered the school without any resistance, and it would take an hour before tactical teams arrived and killed the suspect.

Also, a crucial detail from that press conference today was very different than what we were told yesterday and again this morning.


STEVEN MCGRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: There was a brave -- school district resource officer that approached him, engaged him, and at that time, there was not, gunfire was not exchanged but the subject was able to make it into the school as reported. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We spoke to that officer yesterday evening, Texas

rangers did an interview with him --


BROWN: We now are learning the gunman never encountered a school resource officer.


VICTOR ESCALON, SOUTH TEXAS REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: So from the grandmother's house, to the ditch, to the school, into the school, he was not confronted by anybody, to clear the record on that.


BROWN: So there was no school resource officer. And again, it took more than an hour for officers to kill the gunman. During that time, we are now seeing heartbreaking new video of parents pleading desperately with officers to act.

One father of a fourth grader even telling CNN he had to be held back from storming the school himself.


VICTOR LUNA, FATHER OF THE 4TH GRADER AT SCHOOL: I told one of the officers myself if they didn't want to go in there, I'll borrow the gun in and go in myself to handle it up and they told me no.


BROWN: A lot of questions and a lot of anger tonight. Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT live in Uvalde, Lucy Kafanov is in San Antonio with more on the victims. But I want to start with Ed.

Ed, what is the latest there tonight?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pamela, Texas investigators insist they are trying to piece together all of the confusing information as best they can to provide accurate descriptions of what unfolded here Tuesday morning and afternoon. But the confusion is really frustrating and angering for the victims and of the parents here.


LAVANDERA (voice-over): Two days after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary, the story of what happened when the gunman arrived on the campus, has fundamentally changed.

ESCALON: There's a lot of possibilities. I don't have enough information to answer that question just yet.

LAVANDERA: The new details revealed in bewildering press conference with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

ESCALON: He walked in unobstructed initially. He was not confronted by anybody. To clear the record on that.

LAVANDERA: Police revised earlier reports that the gunman engaged with a school resource officer. According to investigators, 12 minutes passed when the suspected crashed his grandmother's truck on Tuesday morning and when he entered the school through an unlocked backdoor.

ESCALON: He went in an 11:40 a.m., he walked, and I'll proximate, 20, 30 feet, makes a right, right into the hallway, makes a right, walks another 20 feet, turns left into a school room, into a classroom that has doors open in the middle. Officers are there, the initial officers there, we see gunfire. They don't make entry initially.

LAVANDERA: Police say most of the gunfire was in the initial minutes. There was a standoff for almost an hour before police forced their way into a classroom and killed him.


The question remains why they couldn't get to the gunman sooner.

REPORTER: Can you explain to us how was he barricaded?

ESCALON: I hear you.

REPORTER: Because we've been given a lot of bad information. So why don't you clear all this up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like shooting, shooting, hitting the dirt on the floor --

REPORTER: The bullets were hitting, close bullets from where?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess he was coming from the school, this way.

LAVANDERA: Parents were frustrated police wouldn't let them help save their children, despite safety procedures that keep people away from an active crime scene. Jessie Rodriguez lost his daughter in the shooting. He's angered by what he saw officers doing outside the school.

JESSIE RODRIGUEZ, PARENT OF CHILD KILLED IN SHOOTING: They should have moved in. I don't think they had a right to sit there on their ass waiting. They should have moved in faster.

LAVANDERA: In all, more than 100 federal officers responded to the shooting, in addition to local police. For one young third grader hiding from the gunman, it seemed like even more.

CHANCE AGUIRRE, 3 GRADER, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: At least, there were thousands of police and coming into the cafeteria. We were all hiding behind the stage in the cafeteria when it happened.

LAVANDERA: The Uvalde school district did have a safety plan with a system in place to provide a safe and secure environment, 21 measures including a locked-door policy.

LT. CHRIS OLIVAREZ, SPOKESMAN, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: We're still trying to establish if there was any type of locking mechanisms on the doorway from the inside of the classroom because the gunman was able to barricade himself.


LAVANDERA (on camera): And, Pamela, we are told tonight that there were a number of officers inside the school building that were taking fire from the shooter and that those officers responding to the scene were taking cover from that gunfire inside the school, but there is still an hour where all of this is unfolding and still many questions left unanswered as to why, at some point during that hour, there weren't clear efforts made to breach that classroom where the gunman was -- Pamela.

BROWN: And all of those children in the classroom.

All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you.

And tonight, we're still learning new information about those who lost their lives or cut tragically short by this gunman.

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


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look at their faces. Fourth grader Jackie Cazares just had her first baptism and first communion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was full of love, full of life. And she would do anything for anybody.

KAFANOV: Nine-year-old Ellie Garcia just a week from her 10th birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sweetest girl you ever had the chance to meet.

KAFANOV: Ten-year-old, Nevaeh Bravo, her name spelled back words is heaven. Angels now to their families, 19 children and two teachers.

This is the paint of their loss.

ANGEL GARZA, RAISED AMERIE JO GARZA: How do you look at this girl and shoot at her? Oh, my baby. I miss you, my baby.

KAFANOV: Angel Garza who raised Amerie Jo Garza wants them to know she tried to call 911 to save her classmates and teachers.

GARZA: She was the sweetest little girl who did nothing wrong. She listened to her mom and dad. She always brushed her teeth. She was creative. She made things for us. She never got in trouble at school.

KAFANOV: Lexi Rubio loved sports and just at ten years old, she dreamed of traveling the world.

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

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

KAFANOV: Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, also 10, loved to dance, and was in the same classroom as her cousin, Jackie Cazares. Her father called her a firecracker, posting his range of emotion first at the cowardly way his daughter was killed. It hurts us to our souls. Then, a note to his daughter. Be in peace with the rest of the angels, sweetheart, baby girl, we all love you with all our hearts.

At a community vigil in Uvalde, the dead are mourned. They include teacher Irma Garcia who was in her fifth year teaching along side Eva Mireles, both die they say shielding students from gunfire.

Not lost here, the children still being treated in the hospital. Described as critical but stable, wishing there were more lives she could save.

DR. LILIAN LIAO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY HEALTH PEDIATRIC TRAUMA: I think that's what hit us the most, not of the patients we did receive, and we are honored to treat them, but the patients that we did not receive, that is the most challenging aspect of our job right now.

KAFANOV: The Flores family among those who rushed to hospitals in search of their children.


It was there that Jose Flores Sr. lived the moment that would befall families in his close-knit community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I didn't get to hold memorial -- didn't get to see him.


KAFANOV (on camera): And, Pam, a tragic footnote to the piece you just watch. We showed you photographs of Irma Garcia, one of the elementary school teachers gunned down in this massacre. CNN sadly learned that her husband Joe Garcia collapsed and died this morning. He was preparing for her funeral.

The cause of death was a heart attack, but his family believes he died of a broken heart after losing the love of his life for more than 25 years. She was killed on Tuesday, alongside all those young ones -- Pam.

BROWN: There are no words. Lisa Kavanaugh, thank you.

And OUTFRONT now, former acting Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony Barksdale, and Kenneth Trump, president of National School and Safety Services, so hard on the heels of that piece that Lucy did just to absorb all of these precious children and teachers who are killed in this shooting, Commissioner Barksdale and right now, police are trying to piece it together, we understand that, but there has been changing stories.

Officials now say the shooter walked into the school unobstructed, they had previously said there was a campus officer in a car who engaged the shooter before he entered. One official saying that resource officer was interviewed when in fact there was no resource officer.

What do you make of the changing story from the police right now?

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Unacceptable. An incident like this, get your facts straight. Have it straight. Have your timeline straight. We have an incident like this, you want to document and know exactly what happened from beginning to end.

You report this to the public, to news reporters, and you don't have your back straight. So how -- how do any of these parents trust anything said from this department at this point moving forward? We have an SRO that was there one moment and now, oh, let's get this straight. There was no contact that was reported. That's troubling. And it's an indicator of a problem in that agency.

BROWN: Kenneth, I see you nodding your head to what Anthony is saying. Officials say they believe the door was unlocked, that's how the shooter gained entry and also there was no resource officer on campus, we now know that despite what officials said earlier. Your reaction?

KENNETH TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL SCHOOL SAFETY AND SECURITY SERVICES: We need to train our communications officers to be transparent, authentic and timely, but most of all to be accurate. Provide chunks of information that are solid facts and pause until you can get the right stuff out, because we don't want to add more anxiety, confusion and lack of confidence on top of an already challenging and senseless tragedy.

As far as the unlocked door, we've been working in this field for more than 30 years and three decades, I've had, and we're still throwing tons of technology into target hardening, more equipment, cameras, metal detectors, access control on doors and still, any security technology is only as good as the weakest human link behind it. We're spending more time and putting in equipment and less time in training our people on how to do this.

And we have to focus in on situational awareness, having people who are trained to make cognitive decisions under duress and be aware of recognizing patterns and things that are out of the norm and surroundings in the context of the day and the first being you can put all that equipment on a door, Pam, but if the people are not locking them, if they're leaving them propped open for convenience, there's some tough questions to ask there.

And it's been the same battle for 30 years, since, 20 years since the Columbine era and we're still tackling these same human factors that surpass any type of technology that you can put in. BROWN: Commissioner Barksdale, video outside the school during the

shooting captured some parents pleading with officers. In one video, someone yells, "Go shoot the guy". Officials said today that law enforcement was in the building four minutes after the shooter, but they waited an hour for the tactical team to get there to go into the classroom and kill the gunman.

Does that surprise you they waited while the children are still in that classroom for an hour?


BARKSDALE: My fellow guest mentioned Columbine. April 20th, 1999, law enforcement learned the lesson, a deadly lesson -- you don't wait. You don't form an outside perimeter and keep people back.

You go in with what you got. You go in with your service weapon, if he's got a rifle, you've got training. You look for cover and you try to take the shooter down. In incapacitate. Incapacitate. And for these officers to be occupied keeping people away instead of being in that school, fighting for those kids, it is shocking to me. It is disturbing.

But then to hear an executive say oh, well they were waiting for rifles. They were waiting for body armor. They were waiting for negotiators. There's no negotiation when you're shooting, when you're mowing down little kids with an AR-15. No negotiations. It is shocking. It's disturbing, and this is absolute failure and I don't care what anybody else says.

BROWN: I think so many of us feel that anger. I really do. We feel this anger and we're still waiting for basic answers to basic questions.

Kenneth, officials say the door to the classroom was barricaded but they wouldn't answer questions today as to why they couldn't get through. Here's what was said.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Can you explain to us how he was barricaded and why you guys could not breach that door?

VICTOR ESCALON, SOUTH TEXAS REGIONAL DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: So I have taken all your questions in consideration. We will be doing updates.

PROKUPECZ: You should be able to answer that question now, sir.

ESCALON: What is your name?

PROKUPECZ: Shimon Prokupecz from CNN.

ESCALON: Shimon, I hear you. PROKUPECZ: We've been given a lot of bad information so why don't you

clear all this up now and explain to us how it is that your officers were in there for an hour, yes, rescuing people, but yet no one was able to get inside that room?

ESCALON: Shimon, we will circle back with you.


BROWN: Kenneth, it has been more than 48 hours since the shooting. Still no answers to a question like that from my colleague Shimon Prokupecz.

TRUMP: Yeah, Pam, the first line of defense as your perimeter on the outside of the school. The doorways to the perimeter doors of the school, on the out of the building, and then your classroom doors.

Now, most, if not, at least many schools in this country have locks on the classroom doors. We don't always advocate for teaching under locked door because it does impact the functionality but we do train on fundamental basic drills. Lockdowns, police-controlled evacuations, shelter in place. We don't support teaching kids and teachers to throw things, attack gunman, which is logistically, questionably impossible with someone armed like that. But -- or to flee. When you teach kid to see just run anywhere, in the models of run, hide, fight, you're creating target-rich environments but those basic lockdowns save lives.

Now, we don't know if the classroom had the time, opportunity, I worked on the Sandy Hook case, on the civil litigation end as an expert witness and looked at that closely in Parkland. Some of these unfortunate losses, it's a matter of timing where you just don't have the opportunity. But lockdowns do save lives and we have to practice those fundamental skills.

And lastly, this is an issue of training, an issue of planning, and an issue of preparing and drilling and practicing whether you're the first responders, multiagency jurisdictions or just single departments and with your school personnel. There's some things we could do, giving floor plans, blueprints, access cards if the building has card readers, get those to your first responders, having them tap into surveillance cameras so they can get live surveillance. There's stuff we can do.

BROWN: Sad reality we live in right now. Thank you so much, Anthony Barksdale and Kenneth Trump.

TRUMP: Thank you, Pam.

BARKSDALE: Thank you.

BROWN: OUTFRONT next, more on the innocent lives lost. I'll speak to the father of Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez who along with her cousin was killed on Tuesday's terrible tragedy.

Plus, the NRA's annual convention taking off in just hours in Texas. But just a short time ago, one popular musician canceling on the NRA. He's my guest on the show.

And then, Senator Ted Cruz storms off after being asked this simple question.


REPORTER: Why is America the only country that faces this kind of mass shooting?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You know what?

REPORTER: You can't answer that. You can't answer that, can you, sir?



BROWN: Tonight, a grieving father trying to come to grips with the unimaginable loss of his daughter in the Uvalde school shooting massacre.

Jessie Rodriguez visiting this memorial earlier today for Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, one of the 19 innocent children who was killed on Tuesday. Annabelle only 10 years old. She was also in the same fourth grade class as her cousin Jackie Casarez, also tragically killed.

Jessie Rodriguez is now OUTFRONT.

Jessie, we are so sorry for your loss. I mentioned you visited that cross that serves as a makeshift memorial for Annabelle. You wrote something.

Do you feel comfortable sharing what you wrote and what that moment was like for you?


BROWN: I think we lost the shot. Jessie, can you hear me?

RODRIGUEZ: Yes, I can hear you.

BROWN: Okay, go ahead, if you would.

RODRIGUEZ: When I walked up -- yes, I wrote daddy's going to miss you.

BROWN: What did it feel like to be there at this memorial when just two mornings ago you're sending your daughter off to school and now this?


RODGRIGUEZ: I promise (ph) myself up yesterday -- I didn't want to face it --

BROWN: Jessie, I'm so sorry. We have a bad connection and we're going to reestablish it, and, because we want to be -- we want to hear what you have to say about your precious daughter and want to give her due justice.

So just give us a minute while we reconnect with Jessie.

But coming up, new tonight, the White House says President Biden and the first lady will travel to Uvalde on Sunday to grieve with victims' families and the community following the horrifying elementary school shooting there.

This as Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN he has directed Texas Senator John Cornyn to work with Democrats to try to find, quote, bipartisan solutions on gun violence. Though McConnell declined any details of what those solutions might be.

Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT at the White House.

Kaitlan, Republicans and Democrats have been here before. Negotiations fall apart before any consensus is found. We have seen that over and over again. Does the White House think this will lead to anything?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Pam, I think they're hoping it will lead to progress this time but they are leaving it up to congressional leaders to figure out if it actually will lead to that progress. And as you noted unfortunately, this is a road that Congress has been down too many times before, following horrific shootings like the one in Uvalde, Texas, and this is where Congress finds itself again.

And you've heard some lawmakers saying they are optimistic, that this time is different, but if you watched Congress in these situations and these negotiations before, and you heard what Senate Republicans have been saying since the shooting happened, I think it's understandable there's a lot of skepticism here. And so, that remains to be seen how that happens. Right now, we should note the Senate is out on recess until June 6th.

So don't expect anything to happen before then and that has led to questions here at the White House about what executive actions President Biden could take. Is he considering taking anything on gun? He has taken steps in the past.

And it doesn't seem to be an avenue the White House is really exploring in a significant or substantive way tonight, Pam, because when you talk to the White House today and they were pressed on this multiple times, they just kept pointing back to Congress and focusing on what those congressional negotiations are going to look like, saying there's not a lot Biden can do here by himself.

And he even acknowledged that after the last mass shooting just a little over a week and a half ago in Buffalo, saying there's only so much he can do when it comes to executive action on guns and saying he's limited there. So those are obviously questions that families will likely have, when President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden travel to Texas on Sunday. They say they are going there to grieve with the families in the community, Pam. BROWN: All right. Kaitlan Collins live from the White House for us

tonight -- thank you, Kaitlan.

And right now in Houston, NRA members gathering for a dinner before kicking off their annual meeting tomorrow where prominent Republicans like former President Trump and Texas lawmakers like Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Dan Crenshaw are scheduled to speak, just days after 19 kid and two teachers were shot and killed in their classroom in Uvalde, Texas.

But some musicians scheduled to perform at the NRA meeting including Don McLean and Larry Gatlin canceled their appearances today.

OUTFRONT is Larry Gatlin, a Grammy Award winning musician and member of country trio, the Gatlin Brothers.

Larry, thank you for coming on.

So, why are you taking the stand now to say enough is enough?

LARRY GATLIN, COUNTRY MUSIC ARTIST: Well, I hope the next few minutes is not a total waste of time, because I do not have a lot of answers. I can answer that one, especially for a lot of my fans here also confused about the fact I canceled. I did not cancel it in protest against the NRA. I'm a card carrying member of the NRA, and have been for 40 years as were my father and two brothers.

I canceled it because I did not think it was a good time to go down to Houston and have a party with them digging 21 fresh graves in Uvalde, my precious beloved Texas. I believe in the Second Amendment. The first version of the Second Amendment, this book, I should read a little more than I do over in Luke, Chapter 22, the master teacher, the Lord Christ said if you don't have a sword, go sell your cloak and buy one.

I believe that I have the right to protect myself and my family and my home as I believe everyone does. So I'm a Second Amendment guy and, you know, so there's no question about that.

I just did not believe it was the right thing to do. It would have been kind of a classy move on the NRA's part and they need some good PR right now, if they cancel the whole thing and said hey, we're going here for one big moment and say a prayer for those folks and have a moment of silence and come back and do this later. We can always have our big convention.

They decided not to do that and this old simple country singer, my choice was to do that. For these folks, my own Twitter feed blowing up 50-50 of my fans who believe I've turned my back on the NRA or Second Amendment, no, that's not true.


So we cannot put ourselves in their place, people say, well, we're praying for you and our prayer and see thoughts -- when the Gatlins say we're going to pray for you, we get on our knees which I did about an hour ago because it's an awesome responsibility to be here with you folks, especially in light of -- you know, I'm a little bit on the other way, on the other side of the political spectrum from most of the folks at CNN.

But I appreciate you all covering it and I appreciate you having me on. I wish I had more answers.

BROWN: I can just say here, I'm not left or right, we just want to get the answers and we want to focus on the facts.

Why don't you think the NRA postponed this or canceled it given what happened just two days ago in Texas?

GATLIN: I'm sorry, why do you think they didn't?

BROWN: Yeah, why do you think they didn't cancel or postpone this?

GATLIN: I don't know. I can't get into their minds.

BROWN: Did you express to them why you were pulling out and what was the reaction?

GATLIN: No -- my assistant Bonnie called them. I would gladly talk to them, wouldn't hide from anybody, I don't hide, I'm pretty much an open book. Hi, I'm Larry, I'm sober by the grace of God for almost 40 years.

So, Bonnie sat down as my manager, say Larry isn't going to be there, if they ask me to go down some time I'll do t I just a thought it was inappropriate. I don't know what all was going behind the scenes or anything else.

Every large corporation makes good decisions and bad decisions. I happen to think this was a bad decision to carry it on. If they want to revoke my membership I guess they can do that. I'll still carry my firearm to protect myself and my family and my band and even the folks for whom I sing, thank God, have for the last 67 years.

I can't get to their mind, I can't inside their mind, believe me, it looks kind of whacky in here sometimes.

BROWN: I understand that. It's kind of whacky in mine, too. That's just how it goes sometimes. But you say you still support the NRA.

Something the NRA as you well know does not support is background checks. You do support background checks though, right?

GATLIN: I think there should be some way. You know, people talk about negotiating. Well let's get together, both sides of the aisle, always say let's get together -- they don't mean that. They really don't. They mean I'll come in there and tell you what to do.

If you're going to get together, inherent in that is that you leave some of your crap outside in the hall, and that the other bunch leaves some of their crap outside in the hall and you come in and take what crap you got left and see if you can make something out of it. That is what negotiation, what coming together really means. It never has meant I'm going to get all of my stuff and you're going to get all of yours.

It's very strange to me that the people who want to revoke my Second Amendment rights to carry a weapon, they are guarded and never have more than five or 10 yards away, somebody who doesn't have a piece on them.

So I think it was depicted, what's said, you should never bring someone before the tribunal of justice until you, yourself, have been brought before the tribunal of justice, kind of means what's good for the goose is good for the gander so if you're sitting up there, Madam Pelosi, telling me to turn my firearm in, tell that guy guarding your limo and driving limo to turn his in first, then we'll talk about it. That's what I mean about leaving your crap out of the hall.

BROWN: Right. And of course you're entitled to your views on this, it's a very hotly debated topic people are very passionate about especially in the wake of this shooting. But I do need to ask you, you said you did not feel it's right to go to this NRA meeting when all these sweet children and teachers are being buried.

What do you think about the many high profile Republicans who are still attending, like Ted Cruz, like Governor Greg Abbott, like former President Trump?

GATLIN: That's none of my business. In much the same manner that I've had to learn that other peoples' opinion of me is none of my business.

Now, I really hope that there are about 1,000 people who have a good opinion of me, about 60 or 70 times a year when my brothers go out there, you know, about a thousand, I can pay the rent on a thousand. I hope they have a good opinion of me and the music.

But if I sit around worrying, that's what it's called -- codependency, if I'm depending on everybody liking me, I am in a deep sewage.


It's not going to happen. Again, they speak for themselves. I'm not going to be, with all due respect, trapped into talking about them.

BOLDUAN: That's fine. Not trying to trap you, just asking.


GATLIN: Going to save myself and feel I'm going to be able to do it, if I met my maker tonight, I'll be able to stand there and say this is how -- like I say, for somebody who said they don't have a lot of answers. It seems like I have a bunch. I would, you know, Socrates did not become the father of Western Philosophy by answering questions. He asked a lot of questions and embarrassed a lot of people.

My question is this, very simply, if you ask those mothers and fathers down there today if they wish that their child's first, second, or fourth grade teacher had been able to exercise their Second Amendment rights, had a weapon on him, that sorry bastard would have had his, that's what I believe.

BROWN: Now we're going to get political with that and we don't have time to discuss that, but, Larry Gatlin, thank you very much for coming on the show. We appreciate you taking your time tonight to share your perspective on this.

GATLIN: Thank you.

BROWN: Well, OUTFRONT next, Senator Ted Cruz dodging reporters when questioned about the latest mass shooting.


REPORTER: Senator, I just want to understand why you do not think that guns are the problem.



BROWN: Tonight, Senator Ted Cruz storming away when asked by mass shootings only happen in America.


STONE: Why does this only happen in your country? I really think that's what many people around the world, just, they cannot fathom, why only in America? Why is this American exceptionalism so awful?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You know, I'm so sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful.

STONE: I think this aspect -- I think this aspect of it.

CRUZ: You know what? You got your political agenda. God love you.

STONE: Senator, it's not, I just want to understand why you do not think guns are the problem.

REPORTER: Why is this just an American problem?

STONE: It is just an American problem, sir.

REPORTER: Mr. Cruz, why is America the only country that faces this kind of mass shooting?

STONE: You can't answer that, you can't answer that, can you, sir? You can't answer that? Why is --

CRUZ: Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? Because it's the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth. And stop being a propagandist.

STONE: It may be the freest. It maybe the most --

(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, all tightened gun laws after mass shootings in their country and as Tom Foreman points out it is a uniquely American problem.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When five people were gunned down in the United Kingdom last summer, the nation was shocked, its had some of the world's toughest gun laws since a mass shooting in 1996, gun deaths fell by half, mass shootings became extremely rare. So in the wake of new attack, government announced even tighter restrictions, including mandatory tests for mental illness or instability in would-be gun owners.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINSITER: My hearts are very much with the families of all those who tragically lost their lives, in absolutely appalling incidents.

FOREMAN: Large scale shootings have triggered limits on gun ownership and access in numerous countries, advocates for gun control point to them as proof that mass shooting incidents can be dramatically reduced.

REPORTER: A gunman kills more than two dozen people and injured several others.

FOREMAN: Thirty-five people were killed during an Australian shooting spree in 1996. Despite a strong gun culture and stiff political resistance, the government launched a massive gun buyback program, banning automatic and semi-auto weapons. Murders and suicides with firearms plummeted and there's been only one mass shooting since.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: There's no need in Canada for guns designed to kill.

FOREMAN: Canada has enacted tough gun education, qualification, and registration requirements in response to mass shootings there. A slaughter in Nova Scotia in 2020 spurred opponents to say, those laws don't work.

But again, gun control advocates noted overall downward trend in gun deaths over the past 20 years.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We know that other countries, in response to one mass shooting, have been able to craft laws that almost eliminate mass shootings.

FOREMAN: After 51 people were killed in New Zealand in 2019 by an Australian government who targeted mosques, the government in, six days, went after military style semiautomatic weapons, high capacity magazines, and more.

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND'S PRIME MINISTER: Every semi automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack on Friday will be banned in this country.

FOREMAN: And the prime minister said just this week, they are not done.

ARDERN: There's still obviously guns that are misused in New Zealand, and so, I won't sit here and say that our system is perfect. But we saw something that was not right and we acted on it, and I can only speak to that experience.


FOREMAN: Gun rights supporters insist, you can't prove that these regulations caused this decline in mass shootings, or that they would work here. But these countries believe they have figured out how to reduce gun violence and it starts with the guns -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. Tom Foreman, thank you.

And OUTFRONT next, we're going to reconnect with Jessie Rodriguez, the father of ten year old, Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, who, along with her cousin, was killed in Tuesday's terrible tragedy.



BROWN: New tonight, sources familiar with current Western intelligence telling CNN Russia is forcing hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians from their homes and then putting them through these so-called filtration camps, releasing many to far-flung parts of Russia after detainment. The scale of Russia's forced removal efforts far greater than what U.S. officials have publicly disclosed.

This supermarket in Mariupol, now appearing to be used as a processing center by the Russian military. And sources are telling CNN tonight, the operation is meant to solidify Russian control over occupied areas.

Katie Bo Lillis is OUTFRONT in Washington.

Katie Bo, eyewitnesses have told CNN about these beating and see a lack of medical care in these camps. What else do you know about the living conditions?

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Pam, it's important to understand these camps are run by Russian intelligence, run by the FSB so for Russia, this is about filtering out politically undesirable Ukrainians, about filtering out patriots, nationalists, people with connection to the Ukrainian military for example so as you rightly mention, we've heard harrowing reports from both eye witnesses and our sources of brutal and violent interrogations, even raising to the level of torture.

But even beyond that, the conditions at the camps according to our sources are pretty appalling, in preexisting facilities like schools, like supermarkets that are not meant to how's people for long periods of time and yet we understand from our sources and again from eye witnesses that some people are held here as long as a month with no sign of when they might be released. The average, according to our sources, is about three weeks and even if you survive this process, even if you manage to make it and be shipped into Russia, from there, what's happening is many of these Ukrainians are being relocated in cities and towns all over the country of Russia and economically depressed areas and essentially left there and said hey, you live here now, you got to make it.

BROWN: So what is happening then? Once they are sent there into Russia?

LILLIS: Yeah, so it's a really mixed bag of experiences, right?


Some Ukrainians are offered a little bit of support, they might get a little bit of cache maybe the equivalent of 150 box in rubles, maybe Russian SIM card, maybe even housing and a place to live.

Some of them quite literally left in towns potentially thousands of miles away from their home with no support whatsoever and told to get a job and survive. And we know from our sources, at least some of these Ukrainians have been sent as far as Saccalin Island, this little residential community on this spit of ground quite literally in the Pacific, Pam, this is 10,000 miles from the Ukrainian border.

And, of course, the question for these people is if you have no resources, how are you supposed to get home? How are you supposed to be able to leave Russia? We do from these sources, some Ukrainians have been able to make it across the border into Belarus, into Estonia. But for some of these other Ukrainians, the question is what now?

BROWN: Right. They have already been through so much.

Katie Bo Lillis, thank you.

LILLIS: Thanks so much, Pam.

BROWN: And OUTFRONT next, more on one of the young lives lost in Tuesday's tragedy. We have reconnected with Jessie Rodriguez, the father of Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez. I'll speak to him, next.



BROWN: We started to tell you earlier about a grieving father trying to come to grips with the unimaginable loss of his daughter in the Uvalde school shooting massacre, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez was only ten years old. She was also in the same fourth grade class as her cousin, Jackie Casarez also tragically killed.

Annabelle's father Jessie Gutierrez is back with us after some technical difficulties.

So, sorry about that, Jesse, but before we lost connection I was asking about a makeshift memorial for Annabell you visited today. If you would, tell us what you wrote on it and what that moment was like for you.

JESSIE RODRIGUEZ, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIME ANNABELL GUADALUPE GUTIERREZ: It was hard. I miss her, really, you know, so went to the memorial and signed, daddy misses you already.

BROWN: She was so full of life. This is a picture of Annabell we put up, just hours before the shooting, celebrating and making the honor roll, celebrating, receiving certificate for music.


We're told she also loved to dance. Here's a video you shared with us.


BROWN: Dancing clearly brought her so much joy. What else do you want the world to know about her?

RODRIGUEZ: She loved school. I mean she, even when she was sick, she didn't like to miss a day of school. She was growing up, always told me she wanted to be a veterinarian, you know? She's always challenging new things.

She liked to work with me, since I'm a carpenter. She liked to learn how to do whatever I did. So, learned to pull, rip carpet out, cut linoleum for me. Her twin sister would, they always at work, trying to help me doing something, painting, something.

Just, the little things. They are bright, smart. Annabell always helping her twin sister doing everything. Cleaning up the juice and milk she spilt. Up to this day, you know, anybody who says something bad to her sister, she'd jump in and defend her.

BROWN: She was protective, protective sister. And the twin sister is home-schooled. How do you even begin to tell her about what happened?

RODRIGUEZ: I haven't even got close right now. It's just -- I know she's going through a lot more because I mean they were so close, you know, they did everything together. You know, now it's going to be a big gap there that she is going to have to learn to grow into, as well as me.

BROWN: Tell us about Annabell's cousin Jackie who was also tragically killed.

RODRIGUEZ: Jackie was always the smartest, since she was just a baby. I mean as a baby, she'd grab a phone and just scroll through it like she was an adult, you know. She taught my twins how to screw with their phones and get to what they needed to get to.

And they were always playing together, you know, and when they got into fights, they still loved one another. Nobody can separate them. They're just -- they learned to love each other.

BROWN: There are still so many questions.

RODRIGUEZ: Very bright.

BROWN: I'm so sorry, I did not mean to interrupt you there. Anything else you would like to say about her?

RODRIGUEZ: No. It's just -- just hurts.

BROWN: There are still so many questions tonight. There are some details coming out, but we are learning the gunman was in the classroom for an hour before being killed by tactical officers and then on top of that, officials say there was no school resource officer at the school. As you are hearing more of these details, what goes through your mind?

RODRIGUEZ: It is very upsetting. You know what I mean? As a father, I would have just went in. I don't need nobody tell me go in and defend the harmless children. Why wait?

Take it upon your job. You're officers of serving the peace and protect us. Protect our children. And one hour being in there is too long. That's just too much. It should have been within minutes.

This man took it upon himself and harmed our children here, one at a time in an ugly way, and they didn't do nothing to him. Now we're all scarred here. I believe the officers at that point should have went in and took control. Not let this man finish off with them, one at a time.

BROWN: Jessie Rodriguez, we wish you peace and strength in the days ahead. Again, we are so sorry for your loss. Thank you for your time tonight.

"AC360" starts now.