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New Day Sunday

Biden Visits Uvalde Today To Meet With Families Of Shooting Victims; Vice President Harris Attends Service For Buffalo Shooting Victim; Vice President Harris Calls For Assault Weapons Ban After Mass Shootings; Texas Community Grieves After The Loss Of 19 Students And Two Teachers; Mourners Line Up To Lay Flowers, Pay Tribute To Victims; Remembering The Victims Of The Uvalde, Texas School Massacre; Biden Urges On Gun Reform, Says "We Can Make America Safer"; Texas Attack Is Second Deadliest K-12 School Shooting In U.S. History. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired May 29, 2022 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Sunday, May 29th. I'm Boris Sanchez live from Uvalde, Texas.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul, 5:00 in the morning there, Boris, for you. And I believe I've already seen mourners and people who are coming to pay their respects this early in the morning there at that memorial behind you. Is that right?

SANCHEZ: That's correct, Christi. This is actually a memorial near the town square in Uvalde, where people have gathered around a fountain. And as you can see, they have laid out candles and balloons and messages to those that were lost in last week's tragic shooting and to their families as well.

We actually moved away from the elementary school in part because the president is visiting Uvalde, today, and preparations are under way right now for his arrival. That's where we begin this morning. The president once again taking on the role of consoler in chief.

In just a few hours, President Biden is set to visit this area and the memorial that has been set up at Robb Elementary School, the scene of only the latest mass shooting in the United States. President Biden is scheduled to attend church here, and meet with family members of those who were killed. The president meeting with 21 families, 21 people killed, two teachers, 19 students, most of them just third and fourth graders. Twenty-one families forever marked when a gunman stormed the campus and opened fire.

Over the last few days, mourners have flocked to makeshift memorial outside the school. Neighbors from all over Texas lining up to pay their respects. Notably across the country, in upstate New York, Vice President Kamala Harris was placing flowers at a different memorial, this one for 10 people that were shot and killed at a Buffalo supermarket during a racist attack, targeting Black people. The vice president attending the funeral for the oldest victim of the supermarket shooting, 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield. During the service, Harris called for Americans to come together. Listen to this.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do believe that our nation right now is experiencing an endemic of hate. This is a moment that requires all good people, all God-loving people to stand up and say we will not stand for this. Enough is enough. We will come together, based on what we all know we have in common and we will not let those people who are motivated by hate separate us or make us feel fear.


SANCHEZ: And back here in Uvalde, as we noted, preparations are under way for the arrival of President Biden. Let's take you to where Biden is right now and CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright, who is traveling with the President in Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, walk us through what we can expect from President Biden's visit to Texas.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Boris, the president and the first lady will have a long and likely emotional day today. We will see them depart here from Delaware in the 7:00 a.m. hour, heading to Texas. They get to Uvalde about 11:00 a.m. eastern time, which is when they will head to Robb Elementary to pay their respects at that memorial that we just saw.

After then, they will head to Sacred Heart Catholic Church where they will attend mass. We know that the president is a deeply religious person, usually goes to mass here in Wilmington when he's in Delaware so he will be going today in Texas.

Now, after that, we won't see him because he will be meeting in a closed private meeting with these families, victims and families of survivors for really an extended period of time. The White House left a lot of time for the president to meet with them really to talk with them, becoming that empathizer, consoler in chief. And then after that, the president and the first lady, they will meet with first responders before heading back here to Wilmington. So a very, very long day that the president will have on the road really the second time in just two weeks that the president has gone to a memorial site of a mass shooting to really grieve with that community there. Boris.

SANCHEZ: A role that he has frequently had to play now multiple times in his presidency. Jasmine, we shared with our viewers the video of Vice President Kamala Harris at that memorial in Buffalo, while she was there she actually called for action on gun control legislation, specifically an assault weapons ban.


What can you tell us about that?

WRIGHT: Yes, she was unequivocal in that call for an assault weapons ban yesterday when she was in Buffalo. It is something that the vice president has said before, but, of course, it takes on new meaning here, Boris, when we are in the wake of these back to back major mass shootings. And so the vice president, she likened it to the COVID pandemic. She said it is not like we don't know what we need to do. It's not like we're searching for a virus. She said that we know what the solution is. Take a listen to her here.


HARRIS: Let's have an assault weapons ban. You know what an assault weapon is? You know how an assault weapon was designed? It was designed for a specific purpose, to kill a lot of human beings quickly. An assault weapon is a weapon of war. With no place -- no place in a civil society.


WRIGHT: Now, the vice president also called for enhanced background checks when it comes to purchasing firearms. She made those remarks as she was leaving Buffalo after attending the funeral of Ruth Whitfield, the oldest person to die in that Buffalo shooting just two weeks ago. Boris.

SANCHEZ: Jasmine Wright from Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, thank you.

When President Biden arrives here in Uvalde, he's going to find a community that is still mired in grief, still processing the loss, though united in helping one another through tragedy. Let's bring in CNN correspondent Adrienne Broaddus. She's been here seemingly since the shooting happened. Adrienne, in addition to grief there is also tremendous anger in the community. What are you hearing from folks here?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little bit of both. Mixed emotions as you mentioned. They are grieving, but they're disappointed, they're upset, and quite frankly some folks are outraged. And that rage began to mount as the 911 timeline became clearer.

I spoke with some teachers from a neighboring community, right here on the lawn, yesterday. It almost felt like a church service here because there was a live band playing, there was music, people were praying, and really embracing one another and comforting each other. But when I spoke with that teacher, she was upset as she went over how long it took for members of law enforcement to kill the shooter after that first 911 call was made. Listen in.


KATHERINE GALINDO-GARCIA, COTULLA HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR ENGLISH TEACHER: An hour and 20 minutes. Could the tragedy have been avoided? You know, period, if they had gone in right away, you know, would we -- mean not having to deal with these deaths, to see the faces of these grieving mothers and fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, the community members, the nation, everybody is grieving for these poor children.


BROADDUS: So they are hurting. There is so much pain and sorrow here, but this has been a place of comfort for folks in the community. If you look around, or even drive around town you will see signs that say, "Pray." You will also see along the main thorough fare here which is called Main Street, messages of hope. People have been taking chalk and writing scriptures on the sidewalk and writing sweet messages, something that they hope will make people smile.

And if you walk through the grass, Boris, you might find one of these. This is a rock for a rocked community. This one says, "Be still and know that I am with you." And those teachers that I spoke with yesterday put those rocks out because they wanted to do something. And that's the thing. Everybody wants to do something. But at the end of the day, they say they want action. And they hope the president or Congress does take action.

SANCHEZ: Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much for bringing us that reporting. We want to dig deeper now on the law enforcement angle on all of this. Many of the questions that residents here have for officers who responded to the scene shortly after the shooting.

Let's bring in Anthony Barksdale. He's the former acting police commissioner for Baltimore. He's also a CNN law enforcement analyst. Sir, thanks so much for getting up bright and early for us.

I know you've been watching this closely over the last few days and you've heard from parents of several victims in this community who are demanding accountability, they're outraged over what they perceive is inaction and even ineptitude by the officers that responded to the scene. I'm wondering what you think accountability looks like.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, in this case we really have to continue on with -- excuse me -- an after action review of what happened.


When you have an ICS system set up, Incident Command System, someone becomes the incident commander. That person makes the decisions. So whoever is the incident commander faces the bulk of the accountability for this failure.

SANCHEZ: Sir, the training guidelines in Texas are clear, they demand that law enforcement immediately go in to neutralize an active shooter. In this situation, it seems that the commander on the scene believed that -- the situation changed from an active shooter to a barricaded suspect. I'm wondering what could have triggered that decision, what, if any reasons might there have been for law enforcement to wait as they apparently did?

BARKSDALE: We really need to hear from the incident commander, this chief. Did he have some facts to stop this from being an active shooter and switch over to a hostage barricade situation? Of course it would take a lot for that to happen. Something like the suspect says I'm surrendering and throws out his weapons. That did not happen. So we still have to know what he knew.

Did the communications -- did the 911 calls from these little kids calling for help, did he know about them? And even if he did know about him, did the 19 inside of the school hear those shots? If so, there is a justifiable reason to continue to press and engage this active shooter.

SANCHEZ: To me, that's where the discrepancy is because he made that decision to approach the situation in a different way, but yet parents were outside saying that they could hear kids screaming and that they could hear gunshots as well. It is strange credulity that officers weren't hearing the same thing.

I do want to get your thoughts on perhaps codifying the response. A lot of the training for the shooting was based on what authorities have observed in other shootings, right, in Columbine and in Parkland. So what do you think either individual departments can do or perhaps even at the federal level, someone can do to try to codify to enforce guidelines that dictate this is what needs to be done in these situations?

BARKSDALE: OK. In Baltimore, we went through the training of putting on no cost, no expense to the command staff, to those who needed to participate. It was free training about ICS and how to deal with command and control during situations like this.

Right there in the state of Texas, they came up with the model. Texas State came up with the model to deal with active shooters. So in this day and age so long after the tragedy of Columbine the resources, the training are absolutely there for every size agency, including small town USA.

There is training available. We also see that there is -- this incident, they said they were waiting for special equipment. That equipment can be loaded up in the back of any patrol vehicle for an officer should this happen.

A patrol rifle, a ballistic shield, a Halligan tool, a device to breach a door, it is all there for officers. The executives, the politicians, must ensure that their officers have these resources readily available. And we don't have seconds to wait. You've got to go in. That's the training. We all know this.

That is the best practice. Go in, and you don't stop engaging this individual. Find the individual. Even if you're outgunned, you let him shoot at you, but the goal is to preserve life. That is your objective in an active shooter, preserve life, eliminate the threat. And I know it may sound cold, but that is the job in these situations.

SANCHEZ: Anthony Barksdale, this is certain to be a long investigation. We'll come back to you multiple times to get your perspective on things. We appreciate it. Thank you so much.

BARKSDALE: Thank you, Boris.


SANCHEZ: Of course. And, Christi, that anguish from parents is compounded by so many questions about what could have been done differently, and ultimately for this community, it is going to be important to get those answers, so that they can move forward and so that in the unfortunate circumstances that something like this happens again, the response can be much more streamlined than it appears it was here.

PAUL: No doubt about it. Boris, thank you so much.

And it is important to remember these people, these children, it's just been five days since this happened at Robb Elementary. And we want to make sure that we are remembering and giving honor to the 21 people who died. So we're going to take a couple here right now.

First of all Nevaeh Bravo. She was 10 years old. Her family says they have been devastated as you can imagine since losing her. But Nevaeh will be remembered, they say, as a young girl who put a smile on everyone's face. Just like her smile right there.

Makenna Lee Elrod was a light to all who knew her and had a smile that would light up any room. She loved to play softball. She did gymnastics and she loved her friends and family so much, we're told. In fact, her aunt describes her as a natural leader who loved school.

And Alithia Ramirez was in fourth grade. She loved to draw. She hoped to become an artist one day. Alithia's grandmother says she was a very talented little girl and very sweet.

Those are all of the people that we have lost. We'll be right back.




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the face of such destructive forces, we have to stand stronger. We must stand stronger. We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer. We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of the people and of our children.


PAUL: President Biden speaking there yesterday calling on the nation to make America safer. He's preparing now to travel to Uvalde, Texas, that happens later this morning to honor the 21 victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting.

But I want to introduce you right now to Rayna Toth. She was in the third grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when 20 of her classmates and six educators were killed back in 2012. She is a senior now. She's a member of the Junior Newtown Action Alliance and networks to raise awareness about gun violence prevention. So, Rayna, thank you so much for getting up early on a Sunday to talk to us. I want to first, if I could, get your reaction to the moment that you heard of this school shooting in Texas. I have to imagine that that stirred some emotions in you.

RAYNA TOTH, SANDY HOOK SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Yes, definitely. I found out on Instagram, and as it was unfolding my hands were shaking, and it definitely brought back a lot of memories for me of when I was in a similar situation 10 years ago, at seven years old, sitting in my classroom, and waiting for help to come. And then once I got to the firehouse, waiting for my mom to come get me and just go back home and get out of there, so it definitely hit close to home for me because this is an elementary school. Every shooting is hard, but this one is particularly hard, just because it is quite similar, so it definitely brought a lot of those memories and emotions back for me.

PAUL: I thought it was interesting, I read that you said when you saw your mom at the fire station that was the first sense of safety you felt. Is that right?

TOTH: Yes. Yes, she really provided me -- it was like -- it was kind of reconnected, reunited with her filled me with comfort and safety just because it was so chaotic. And in the school I definitely felt very unsafe. I knew that there was a danger, I was in trouble and even the firehouse I -- all I wanted to do was go home and get back and see my mom and my family, so seeing her definitely was kind of that first time I was, like, OK, I think I'm going to be OK now.

PAUL: I -- you mentioned you were just seven years old. I read that you initially didn't want to be alone after that. You couldn't even shower without the door being open. And that still today you will go into a building, even if it is a restaurant or another school, and you will scan it to find the exit. What lingers with you still to this day in that regard?

TOTH: Yes. Definitely now it is mostly being high alert in public and kind of when I go out, looking for the exits and kind of thinking about what I would do if something like this were to happen to me again. But I definitely at the time it worked my perception of safety in my own home make sure -- where you're feeling safe, because in my school or somewhere where I was supposed to feel safe became somewhere that suddenly was not. So that was definitely an effect that that took on me but now it has kind of presents itself. Yes, definitely being kind of more aware, especially in public.

PAUL: Yes, so I think that because you are so uniquely qualified to talk about this, because of your shared experience with the people in Texas now, there are parents who are wondering, "What does my child need most?" What would you tell them if they asked you that question? What helped you most?

TOTH: Yes. I would say to them, to be patient with your children, everyone's experience is going to be different and they're going to be feeling different things and emotions.

[06:25:03] And whatever they're feeling is valid, kind of let them have that and let them do it. Everyone's reaction is, of course, going to be a little bit different. So be patient with them and be patient and kind to yourself because it can be a little confusing but they are going through a lot and struggling right now. Also getting help is always an option.

But for me, I think as I got older, one of the biggest impacts for me and most helpful things has been talking with other survivors. So communication with other people can be really helpful to kind of let them know that they're not alone and that there's people that are there for them or share the same feelings or similar feelings as you right now.

PAUL: You are an example to all of those people that you can get through this and you can keep going. Rayna Toth, thank you so much for sharing with us. I'm so sorry for what you have been through but you are clearly a strong, smart, capable woman and it is good to see that in you because that gives hope to a lot of people. Thank you for being with us.

TOTH: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Of course. Still to come this morning, CNN getting an exclusive look inside San Antonio's University Hospital, and speaking with nurses and doctors who treated victims of this week's shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After a while you start realizing more aren't coming and you start realizing why. And then the weight of that just kind of sets in and it stays with you for the rest of the day and all the days after.




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Back here in Uvalde, Texas. Within the next hour, President Biden and the First Lady will make preparations to head to Texas to meet with the survivors and families of the 19 children and two teachers killed in Tuesday's massacre.

The visit is going to mark the second time in just two weeks the President is going to console a community in mourning, a community shattered by a mass shooting. The President and First Lady are also expected to attend mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde this afternoon. After that, they're set to meet with families and first responders.

We also wanted to share with you a small portion of a conversation that we had with Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez. He represents this community, and he's been on the scene just about every day following the shooting. Part of his message to the public and to us in the media is to never forget about what happened here. Here's part of our conversation.


ROLAND GUTIERREZ, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR: America needs to understand that no community should have to ever deal with this kind of tragedy. No community anywhere in the united states should have to deal with this. How an 18-year-old can access militarized weaponry anywhere is beyond me. And so please stay engaged. Please stay engaged.


SANCHEZ: The shooting at Robb Elementary is only the latest massacre on a shameful list carried out as lawmakers at the federal level have been unable or unwilling to enact any meaningful legislation to present these kinds of atrocity atrocities. Even at the local level, the partisan divide in some states remains insurmountable.

We want to bring in on that and now bring in the Democratic Nominee for Texas lieutenant governor, Mike Collier. Mike, we appreciate you coming to join us this morning.


SANCHEZ: You have called for the Texas state legislature to reconvene to address this issue specifically.

COLLIER: Immediately.

SANCHEZ: What do you think needs to be done right away?

COLLIER: Well, we don't have a background check system that works. If we had one, this wouldn't have happened. We don't have red flag law on the books. If we had those, this wouldn't have happened. You can buy a beer -- you can buy an AR-15 -- what I'm trying to say is we have laws that allow this guy to buy that AR-15 when he turned 18. It should be 21. We need a 48-hour waiting period before you can buy a gun like that.

These laws need to be enacted now. And the legislature will not meet until January. Kids are coming back to school in a few months. They need to meet now and pass those laws now. And I'd like to say this. We had a terrible crisis in Texas four years ago in a school, similar situation, and we said to them then, we need these laws or it will happen again.

And if you don't pass these laws, blood will be on your hands. Blood is on their hands. They did nothing.

SANCHEZ: I didn't hear you mention an assault weapons ban which is what we've heard from multiple Democrats at the federal level. It's what they're

seeking. Is that something that you would pursue as well? You said you need to be at least 21 to buy that kind of weapon, but you're not taking it off the table completely. COLLIER: Well, presently, you can buy one when you're 18. And we think you should be 21. No, I represent Texans' point of view. And what Texans' point of view is very firm on this. And I'm in the majority on this. We need a background check system that works. You saw that a background system with this horrible person would have prevented him from getting his hand on those guns.

And you need to wait until you're 21 before you can buy it. And we need to have a 48-hour waiting period and red flag laws. That's -- the majority of Texans think we need to take those steps and take those steps immediately before our kids come back to school in the fall. That's what we should do.

SANCHEZ: What about what the governor of Texas has presented? Greg Abbott pushing for the idea that more mental health resources are needed in communities like Uvalde to try to address this issue. Do you agree with him?

COLLIER: Well, certainly we need more resources for mental health. I mean the State of Texas led by Republicans have not done their job in terms of mental health. What I heard him say that we're going to bring mental health services here now after the fact. The question is where were they before this?

Texas is not doing its job when it comes to mental health. And Greg Abbott and my opponent Dan Patrick have said no to doing right by Texans.


SANCHEZ: You mentioned you represent the views of Texans when it comes to the Second Amendment. What do you say to folks who own weapons here who are law abiding, that feel that any measure, any of the things that you mentioned like background checks or raising the age to buy an assault weapon, they argue that's an infringement on rights that are enshrined in the Constitution.

It is a hard-line argument, but at the core of folks who don't want any changes to gun legislation. What would you say to them?

COLLIER: Listen, I've lived in Texas for a long time. And I was raised in a hunting culture. I own a gun. They're dangerous. We respect the danger. We're for gun safety. No, it is not an infringement on the Second Amendment. I support the Second Amendment. I support all the amendments, of course. It is not an infringement on the Second Amendment to have sensible gun laws.

SANCHEZ: You may feel that way, but their perspective of Democrats especially in Washington DC who are trying to craft federal gun control legislation, I think at the center of their fear over any change to gun control legislation is that inevitably it is going to lead to confiscation. What would you say to those folks?

COLLIER: Well, some people may feel that way. But they do not represent the majority point of view in Texas. I can tell you, I can speak for Democrats, I'm a Democrat, but also Independence. And I have lots and lots of friends in my professional life, in my private life who are Republicans, who believe we need to have sensible gun laws because it is about gun safety.

There is a fringe element that says don't touch any of this because of their feelings about the Second Amendment. The courts have ruled against them. They're wrong and we're right.

SANCHEZ: We'll see where the conversation goes. We hope that you'll come back and we can continue this debate if there is a debate in Congress to be had, because too often we have seen that the debate fades away as the news cycle continues. We hope it doesn't.

COLLIER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Mike Collier, thank you so much. Pleasure.

COLLIER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We'll have much more from Uvalde throughout the day here on CNN as we await the arrival of President Biden in this grief-stricken community. We're also going to continue to honor the victims from hearing -- by hearing from those who loved them most.

We're also going to ask lawmakers about getting bipartisan gun reform passed through Congress. NEW DAY continues after a quick break.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're learning heartbreaking details about the 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. And that includes 11-year-old Layla Salazar. CNN's Gary Spokeman -- Tuchman, rather, spoke with her family who graciously shared with us with all of us what they're left with now.



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The girl wearing the gray shirt is 11-year-old fourth-grader Layla Salazar about to win this race at last month's Robb Elementary School field day. Her family was there. But today, they mourn. Her parents, two brothers, and grandparents have lost their little girl.

VINCENT SALAZAR III, FATHER OF LAYLA SALAZAR: She loved to run. Her favorite thing was, you know, TikTok -- you know, doing little TikTok dances.



ALEJANDRO: She loved -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She loved to draw. She loved to dance.

ALEJANDRO She was just a tomboy slash girl. I mean, anything. She knew how to climb a tree. She would probably climb a tree and jump off of it.

SALAZAR III: She loved the river. We used to go to the river.

ALEJANDRO: She was just a night-shift person.

SALAZAR III: She loves to swim.

TUCHMAN: Your husband was telling them and you were telling me that he loves Guns N' Roses song Sweet Child of Mine.

SALAZAR III: Sweet Child of Mine.


TUCHMAN: Which I love too. But you played that for her.

SALAZAR III: Yes, we played that every morning when we take her to school.

ALEJANDRO: Every time -- every morning when she goes to school.

SALAZAR III: We sang it together.

TUCHMAN: And what an appropriate song because she was a sweet child.

ALEJANDRO: It just hurts now.

TUCHMAN: Earlier this month, on Mother's Day, Layla took to TikTok.

LAYLA SALAZAR, VICTIM OF THE UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING. Hey, guys. Today is Mother's Day, OK. And if you haven't said happy Mother's Day to your mom, what are you doing? Go see her right now. And I just want to wish all the moms out there, Happy Mother's Day even of you are not my mom. And I also want to say, I hope you -- I hope all the moms out there had an awesome and blessed day.

ALEJANDRO: She's my only Princess. She's my everything. She -- like, we went together everywhere. She was like stuck on me like glue. She had her own bedroom but she always laid with me. She always -- we just -- we did everything together, everything. We had so much plans for her.

SALAZAR III: We took her to the park. She like to feed the ducks.

ALEJANDRO: Yes, we used to go and feed the ducks a lot.

SALAZAR III: She was so excited about her last few days of school.

TUCHMAN: Everyone in this family doted on Layla, particularly her grandparents.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was our world.

SALAZAR JR. Even though we can't speak up, our hearts are shattered.

TUCHMAN: There was a sense of disbelief among these family members that this happened. How can Layla no longer be here? How can they cope with never seen her again?


SALAZAR III: That's most things the hardest is that I'm her father and I wasn't there.

ALEJANDRO: I wasn't there to protect her.

TUCHMAN: For now, this family leans on each other for support.

And I hope you know that so many of us, not just us who are here with you right now in your yard, but around this country and around the world are thinking of you. Does that give you strength?

SALAZAR III: It helps. It helps to know that so many people care.


TUCHMAN: A makeshift memorial has now been set up in downtown Uvalde. Uvalde is a very small city, only about 16,000 people. Uvalde County has 26,000 people. But so many people are coming here to pay their respects partly because lots of -- the people who are showing up are from other parts of Texas and from out of state.

21 crosses for each of the victims with their names on top and with hearts on crosses where people are writing things. This is the little girl we just did the story on, Layla Salazar. Flowers, stuffed animals, and poignant messages like this one, I will always love you rest in peace, my beautiful granddaughter. And here from a classmate, you are so pretty.

One of the visitors who came here a short time ago unannounced, Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry. She brought with her a bouquet of flowers, also went around the city, but made a stop at the memorial. This is all so tragically sad. What makes you feel somewhat reassured are all the kinds of people in the city and all the kinds of people who have shown up at this memorial.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN in Uvalde, Texas.


PAUL: I know wherever you are, and even where I am, we sit here and we wonder how we can help. Well, we want to help, don't we, those people who are involved in the shooting. You can do so by going to You'll find verifiable ways that you can help the Uvalde community. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Well, comedian and veterans advocate Jon Stewart is calling on Congress to pass legislation to help veterans exposed to toxic waste while serving in the military. Stewart was part of this annual four- day Rolling to Remember Rally which calls for expanded VA benefits to military members who were exposed to burn pits, those were open-air combustion of trash on military sites.

Now, millions of veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to the hazardous fumes from these toxic burn pits. And they cause lifelong -- or I should say long-term health consequences. Also we should point out, then the folks in the military had to prove that they were exposed.


JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: This may be one of the lowest hanging fruit of the American legislative agenda. Those that took up arms in defense of this country and its constitution suffered grievous harm in that defense. And when they came home, we put them on trial.

You shouldn't have to prove it. You shouldn't have to be a defendant in a court case about your own health.


PAUL: Now, a bipartisan group of senators says they are working on the bill, that a vote that happened in the coming weeks. The measure could provide coverage for 3.5 million veterans. And of course, it's Memorial Day weekend. We are remembering veterans. We are remembering service members who have given their life for our freedoms. And I know there's a lot of celebration that goes on as well in those memorials.

And you may be traveling to try to get to your family, but traveling is not easy this time of year particularly right now. CNN's Nadia Romero is in Atlanta, and she has more on what's making it kind of tough.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): It's the unofficial start to summer Memorial Day weekend. And that means for many Americans hitting the road and traveling. But if you're doing that this weekend, you'll likely notice much higher gas prices, the highest recorded national average on Saturday $4.60 per gallon of regular gas. And while that's up more than $1.55 compared to this time last year.

Despite all of that, AAA says they're expecting some 35 million Americans to hit the road in their car throughout the weekend. And that's about five percent compared to last year. And we spoke with a rideshare driver who says she's still driving but she's noticing the higher gas prices. Another woman says that she made sure to go to a particular gas station just to save 40 cents compared to the gas station closer to her house. Listen to how the gas prices are affecting her travel. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I certainly have rethought some of my summer plans both in flying and in driving. You know, I won't do quick trips down to Florida to see family and stuff in the car. And I'll probably limit some of my plane travel just until everything drops back down a little bit because it's pretty tough to swallow.


ROMERO: And it's not just car travel but air travel as well. The Atlanta Airport, the nation's busiest airport, says they're anticipating some two million people to come through their airport from this past Thursday through Wednesday with the highest projected passenger traffic to happen on Friday at 311,000 passengers.


And when we speak with gas experts like Gas Buddy or petroleum analyst, they say these high gas prices will remain throughout the summer. Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.

PAUL: Nadia, thank you. Listen, you can watch an all new episode of "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY" tonight at 9:00 p.m. Here's a preview.


CARLTON MCCOY, CNN HOST: Oh, my gosh. It's such a bad idea.

I'm a little concerned. The closest I've been to an ice rink is watching the Mighty Ducks.

Am I wearing these things right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. First steps are the toughest. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.

MCCOY: That is not stable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Let's go, Carlton. We're going here, bud. Let's go.

MCCOY: Oh, hold on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See? Beautiful. Move out of the way, big Thai guy. A big tree coming through. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Move! Move! Move! Move! We're going to put you in a game, Carlton.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have you face-off versus Antonio and Conner right here. So, I'm going to shoot a puck in the corner. Let's go. Go get it, boys. Go get it. Go get it, Carlton! Put it in the net, Conner!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're already up 1-0. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Don't miss "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY" tonight at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN. We'll be right back.