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CNN Live Event/Special
Texas Governor: 14 Children, One Teacher Dead In School Shooting; State Senator: Texas Rangers Say 18 Children, 2 Adults Dead. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 24, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT tonight, the horror in Texas.
I'm Erin Burnett, covering the breaking news of the mass shooting at an elementary school in a small town of Uvalde, Texas. Fourteen children dead, a teacher, dead -- 15 people dead in their elementary school.
The school is Robb Elementary in Texas and more than a dozen right now we understand now are fighting injuries right now in the hospital. We do not know the full status there.
Governor Abbott of Texas says the shooter who is also dead was an 18- year-old male who had attended the local high school. Officials believe he acted alone and had a handgun and possibly a rifle.
There is so much we do not know tonight, we do know, though, it is the worst school shooting in the United States since 17 people died at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida in 2018.
I said Uvalde is a small town. It is a small town in Texas. About 16,000 people live there in the southern part of the state. It's about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
Moments ago, President Biden arrived back at Joint Base Andrews. He is headed to the White House. Administration officials say he has been briefed and will address the nation in the next hour.
We expect the vice president to address the president this hour.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT tonight in Dallas, Texas.
And, Ed, as I said, there is so much we do not know and obviously so much we will never understand. But what are you learning tonight about the shooter at this hour?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we can report that the shooter is 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. He is a student or was a student at the Uvalde High School. We understand the shooter is now dead. It is not exactly clear how he died. The governor of Texas said there was an exchange of gunfire with the shooter and several law enforcement who were some of the initial people responding to this scene.
Several of those officers were hit by gunfire but we're told those are not life-threatening injuries at this point. But the governor also said that the government pulled up into a car, abandoned his car and went inside and started shooting.
The governor mentioned that there was a firearm, possibly rifle. But we have not heard from local authorities or any other authorities who know exactly what kind of weaponry was used in this. But clearly, it was enough firepower to inflict a painful amount of carnage, 14 children, and we're told by the top security officer there at the school district that it is mostly second, third, and fourth graders that attended that elementary school, Robb Elementary there in the town of Uvalde. So you can imagine the age ranges of what we're going to be hearing about here in the coming days.
Just an absolutely horrific scene unfolding here this afternoon and we presume at this point, Erin, that many of the local law enforcement agencies are going through the process right now of informing family members and confirming to family members of those who have died in this school shooting that, breaking the news to them. Many family members and parents of school children there were told to reunite with the surviving students at a nearby civic center and that's where they could reunite.
But right now, the law enforcement officers and investigators working what must be a gruesome scene, crime scene, inside that elementary school tonight -- Erin.
BURNETT: Absolutely, and as, you know, as I said there is so much we don't know, we do hope to hear more from officials in the next moments here and hours but, Ed, I mentioned that Uvalde is small, I mean 16,000 people. You know, an event like this would rock and break communities much, much larger, but this is an incredibly small town.
Tell me what you know about the community.
LAVANDERA: You know, I've driven through there several times especially when we, traveling from San Antonio down to the border covering border issues over the years so definitely a town we passed through many times but it's a small place and what you find in a lot of these communities in south Texas is, you know, as we've researched other stories, the families and friends are all intertwined.
So the magnitude of this horrific scene will be felt exponentially through this community because you don't, you know, as cliche as it might seem.
It's even I think even more pronounced in a community like this. People know each other, people are connected in a myriad of different ways so the impact of what this shooting and what this tragedy will leave and the impact it will leave on the city is impossible to put into words tonight but, you know, just the degrees of separation people will have from this tragedy will be very minimal, everybody will know someone impacted by what has unfolded there today.
BURNETT: Yes. Ed Lavandera, thank you very much.
And Ed obviously is in Texas. We're going to be going back to him as we get more, because we are learning more information here literally as the moments go by.
As I'd said, though, you know, so many of these families, right, they're showing up to reunite. They're still notifying, right, notifying the parents of second, third and fourth graders of what has happened.
Well, flags have been lowered to half staff already at the White House in honor of the school shooting victims and I want to go to Phil Mattingly OUTFRONT there.
Phil, President Biden just spoke to the Texas Governor Greg Abbott and obviously, I should be clear here, Governor Abbott is the one who told the country that so many children were dead. That was not clear before he spoke. President Biden will be addressing the nation tonight.
What do you know about the conversation that I understand just occurred between President Biden and Governor Abbott.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, shortly before President Biden touched down at Joint Base Andrews, the end of a 14-hour flight from Japan where the country had been on a two country visit to Asia. The president did speak with Governor Abbott. He pledged, quote, any and all assistance needed in the wake of this horrific shooting, something the president has had to do too many times over the course of his first 15 months in office. The flags half-staff, the president preparing to make remarks.
BURNETT: Phil, I'm sorry to interrupt you, I just want to go -- right now, we'll go back to you in just a moment, I apologize, but the Vice President Kamala Harris is speaking right now at an event. She was scheduled to speak there. She's addressing the horrific attack. Let's listen in.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- in Uvalde, Texas.
As many of you know, the reports are that it was a mass shooting at an elementary school and the preliminary reports are that 14 children have been killed. And the details are still coming in and, of course, the president and I are monitoring the situation closely.
So while we don't know all the details yet, we do know that there are parents who have lost children, families that have lost children and their loved ones, of course, and many others who may have been injured.
So I would normally say in a moment like this, say naturally, our hearts break, but our hearts keep getting broken. You know, I think, so -- there's so many elected leaders in this room, they know what I'm talking about. Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break. And our
broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families. And yet, it keeps happening.
So I think we all know and have said many times with each other, enough is enough. Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.
So the president will speak more about this later. But for now, I will just say to the people of Uvalde, please know that this is a roomful of leaders who grieve with you. And we are praying for you and we stand with you.
And it is difficult at a time like this to think about much else, but I do look around this room and I know who is here and I know this is a room full of American leaders who know and have the courage to take a stand.
And so let us, tonight, as we do every time we all get together, recommit ourselves to having the courage to take action.
And so that does bring me to the leaders who are in this room and the leaders of AIPACS. And again I want to thank Chairwoman Judy Chu for that kind introduction. As a former member of CAPAC, I have the opportunity to see her leadership firsthand and she is truly a national leader who lifts up the people of our country.
And, of course, I'm honored tonight to be with Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, AIPACS board chair --
BURNETT: All right. You just heard the vice president talking about the horrific shooting in Texas. And as I said, the president will be addressing the nation shortly after 8:00 Eastern Standard Time. He just landed at Andrews Air Force Base.
So, let me go back to you, Phil Mattingly. We've now heard from the vice president. We're going to hear from the president who had this conversation with the Texas Governor Greg Abbott and hoping you could tell me exactly what was in that conversation.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, the primary crux of that conversation, as we've been told by White House officials, is the president making very clear whatever the governor of Texas needs, whatever Texas needs, whatever Uvalde needs from the federal government, it will be provided.
As you noted earlier, a call the president has made too many times in the wake of violence like this over the course of his first 15 months in office and I think it's going to be something he directly addresses when he speaks to the nation in about an hour. I think what you heard from the vice president, who has been briefed along with the president about what transpired on the ground over the course of last several hours, still learning, more information, White House officials made clear is a window into what is very real, very palpable, consistent frustration here at the White House, down the street, Pennsylvania avenue as well, that these types of horrific events continue to occur and nothing substantive on the federal level is done.
Now it's very unclear what the motive was here, how things transpired but the emotion, the horror, the terror for parents, for families and just keep this in mind, Erin, before the president departed for that trip to South Korea and Japan, two days prior, he was in Buffalo, mourning the 10 individuals who are murdered at a grocery store. And now, he returns from his trip, and is once again mourning individuals killed due to a mass shooting.
And I think that's something you'll hear the president directly address. Obviously, we've seen legislative efforts, including those pushed by President Biden. They have not been able to make it through the U.S. senate, been block said by Republicans. Whether that dynamic shifts at all I think is a very open question, primarily because the president was vice president when the Sandy Hook massacre occurred up in Connecticut.
He was the point person for then President Obama on attempting new gun laws and that effort fell short. So it will be interesting to see how things transpire in the days ahead. But one thing is very clear, the emotion, the horror and the president trying to address that will certainly be top of mind when he speaks to the country in about an hour.
BURNETT: All right. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
And as I can just confirm now, we do now understand that the shooter killed his own grandmother before he went to the school. As we said we're confirming bits and pieces of this story as we learn them, but we are now able to confirm that.
And I would like to go to the Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez who represents Uvalde and the state legislature.
First, Senator, let me start out by saying, telling you, just so sorry for this horror that now is impacting you and so many around you. I understand as this news comes in, you are learning about more, the death toll going up.
ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: Yes, Erin, it's unfortunate but I was just briefed by the Texas rangers, 18 children have passed on, and three adults. What I was just told about 20 minutes ago is that the grandmother is still holding on, that she was airlifted to San Antonio.
And so these are the -- it's a very tragic event as you can imagine. I can't imagine what it would mean to send your child off to school in the morning and not have him return. It's devastating.
BURNETT: Yeah. Senator, just to be clear here, I understand you're hearing that the grandmother may still be alive but for the children who did go to school in the second, third and fourth grades as we understand it at Robb elementary, we understand 14 of them were killed in this horrific shooting. And you're saying that number has now gone up to 18 in the school?
GUTIERREZ: That is correct as of a briefing I just had with the Texas Rangers, that is correct. Yes, ma'am.
BURNETT: Senator, do you know anything more about what happened or how this happened? There is so little that we know right now, other than that the shooter is an 18-year-old male. We know so little. What else have you learned?
GUTIERREZ: Well Erin, what I do know, of course, this is an on going investigation. What I do know is this young man shot his grandmother and then fled that scene, from that incident, and was in a car wreck near the school, ran into the school and proceeded to, all this carnage proceeded to unfold after that time.
The young man was 18 years old. As Ed suggested earlier, born in North Dakota, went to high school here in Uvalde and unfortunately, on his 18th birthday, bought those two assault rifles you've been talking about and they are assault rifles. It's the first thing he did when he turned 18, just some time ago.
There was some social media interaction, some threats that, you know, kids should watch out. I think that will be reported in the days to come. I just -- I'm very speechless about all this, just so sad for my constituents in this community as a father of two little girls, I -- I'm just at a loss for words.
BURNETT: I think everyone watching is. I do appreciate your sharing this as people try to understand. So your understanding, senator, that he bought these two -- as you're clearly describing them, assault rifles on his 18th birthday. He is, of course, 18, so that would mean within the past year.
And you mentioned something else, Senator Gutierrez, said kids should watch out, that there is, to your understanding, social media discussion about violence from the shooter.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, ma'am. They're still investigating those aspects of this crime, but there was some social media assertions, obviously, this is a very troubled person. We know that he bought those weapons from a dealer on his 18th birthday in the Uvalde area from a federally authorized dealer and had no problem accessing those weapons.
BURNETT: Right, bought legally --
GUTIERREZ: Yes, ma'am.
BURNETT: And do you, one other thing, and I'm sorry, senator, to ask you this, but there is so little that we know. Do you know if he was currently a student at the high school in Uvalde or what was his status and to why he went to Robb Elementary? You mention he was born in North Dakota, do you know if he ever went to Robb Elementary?
GUTIERREZ: I do not know. I've been hearing different things from different folks but what I'm trying to tell you is what I've heard from the Texas Rangers and that he was 18 years old, a high school student in Uvalde and that he did proceed to try to kill his grandmother. She's still holding on. And then he went over and caused this great tragedy at the school. That's about all I know, Erin, as far as the facts.
I'm headed over to Uvalde right now to talk to some of my constituents, county judge, school superintendant to try to assess their needs and it's a very small community. They don't have access to psychological care and I've talked to some of my school districts in San Antonio and to offer --
BURNETT: All right, Senator Gutierrez, I am very grateful for your time, everyone is, and we thank you. As we saw you literally pull over on the side of the road, he's on his way to Uvalde right now.
As we continue to follow this horrific breaking news, you heard Senator Gutierrez say he understand the death count went up to 18 children and 3 adults. That's the latest he heard from Texas Rangers. We've confirmed 14 with dead but we await confirmation of what you just heard from him. Teacher also killed at that shooting.
And we'll have more when we come back.
BURNETT: We're back with the breaking news coverage of the horror of the school shooting in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, town of 16,000 where the state senator just told me the death toll gone up to 18 students, 18 students, we understand primarily in grades two, three, and four. Three adults killed at a local elementary school this afternoon.
Local hospitals said they treated about a dozen and are unsure of the status of those individuals. The gunman is believed to have shot his grandmother before heading to the school. The same state senator who was briefed by the Texas Rangers says that she is actually still alive.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott says the shooter was a local 18-year-old high school student. He's now dead.
President Biden is on his way back to the White House. He arrived at Joint Base Andrews moments ago and he is set to address the nation in less than an hour's time.
I want to go to our senior justice correspondent Evan Perez, OUTFRONT for us tonight with what you're learning right now, Evan. And, you know, we were just talking to State Senator Gutierrez who gave us a lot of new information he is learning from the Texas Rangers. But what more is the federal government, the FBI, saying about what happened here?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRSPONDENT: Well, Erin, one of the focuses now for the FBI is to try to figure out the motivation, what prompted this gunman to go to the school, he's 18 years old. Obviously, these are second, third and fourth graders according to local officials. What relationship did he have with the school?
We know that this was, this incident was -- as it began, there was a call for help from the school and one of the first people who was there was a Customs and Border Protection agent, is reporting from Priscilla Alvarez.
And she tells us that according to the CBP, this officer engaged with the shooter, received a -- was wounded, as a result of that, was shot in the head. It appears he was wearing some type of protection because they believe he's going to be okay, he was wounded.
You heard from the governor, at least two officers injured in part of the exchange of gunfire with the shooter who was killed by law enforcement there at the scene. So, now, for the FBI, they're trying to figure out what prompted this. Was there something, you mentioned the grandmother he shot, was there something that prompted him to do that and then, of course, go carry out this shooting.
This reminds us of previous shootings where gunman have done similar things so this is the beginning of this investigation which is going to be a very, long drawn-out process. The number of victims alone is going to be something that the law enforcement is going to have to figure out and deal with whether there is anybody there that had a relationship with this gunman that could have prompted this, Erin.
BURNETT: And we do understand, Evan, that the shooter acted alone.
BURNETT: But State Senator Gutierrez said that he has been told the shooter purchased two assault rifles, that is how he's describing the two weapons use the, very clear, both were assault rifles he had just been briefed by Texas Rangers, that he purchased both of those on his 18th birthday by a gun dealer in the Uvalde area, and we don't know how many months past between purchase and now, what kind of -- we don't know.
But, obviously, more information is coming in that this was very much, he is a local person, right, even the weapons themselves bought local.
PEREZ: Right, local person, and would appear he bought them quite recently, bought these firearms quite recently.
Some of the pictures circulating now that appear to be one of the fire arms has been recovered, Erin, we're now showing some of those but we know that this is obviously, the focus of the ATF which is now on the scene to try to trace back these firearms. Were they bought legally, were they bought by this gunman?
You know, from what we can tell, there was no reason, you know, why he would be denied these weapons, especially in the state of Texas. And so, you know, if you look at some of these firearms, these are very expensive weapons. They're not cheap.
So the other question for law enforcement is, you know, where did he get the money to buy some of these things? Again, these are not things that you can just buy just like that. I mean it takes some money to be able to assemble this kind of arsenal that your guest, the state senator was just describing.
Again, those are the things the FBI and ATF are trying to get the bottom of at this hour, Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Evan, thank you very much. As Evan learns more, he will join us.
I want to bring in now, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, along with the former acting Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony Barksdale, our national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem, also the former assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Charles Ramsey who was the former Philadelphia police commissioner among other commissionerships.
And I appreciate all of you very much.
So we're learning more information here. Let me just get you a chance here to respond to this, Commissioner Barksdale, what Evan was just reporting. Two assault rifles bought very recently, bought locally, that are very expensive and this is what we understand in terms of the arsenal this shooter had.
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, a lot of investigation needs to be carried out. ATF has to figure out, out of the weapons, ammunition, expects warrants -- because it is a crime scene, and figuring out everything behind it.
BURNETT: Director McCabe, you know, we are here confirming that the death toll right now and I want to just point out, you know, 30 minutes ago we understood 14 children, that officials say were in second, third and fourth grade were slaughtered, and now we understand that that number's gone up to 18. We know there are still children in the hospital fighting for their lives. Two adults on scene were also killed. The grandmother also still appears to be alive.
If you look at these numbers right now, this is going to be the deadliest shooting in the United States of America since Newtown which, of course, was in December, 2012.
When you look at what we know right now, Deputy Director, what stands out the most to you? And I know we don't know very much but are learning more by the moment.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Erin, I have to say, the thing that stands out to me the most about this is the commonality. There are so many aspects of this tragedy that we've seen recently.
You have a very young, male shooter. You have a shooter who is able to purchase these incredibly lethal weapons perfectly legally after turning 18. You've got, you know, this attack, this incredibly violent attack at a school.
I think I read today this is the 30th shooting at a k-12 school in the United States --
BURNETT: This year, yes.
MCCABE: This year. Yeah. So as shocked and horrified as we all are and should be, at some level, shouldn't be shocked and horrified because this is happening on a weekly basis in our country.
BURNETT: Well that's for sure, right, we're not even at week 30 for the year and, you know, just to bring your point home.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I mean, just to add to what Andrew said, this is the 212th mass shooting in the United States with, we're on day one (AUDIO GAP) just to give you as sense of that's how bad it is. We're not able to -- we can't not talk about it the moment it happens, because there's no day in which it doesn't happen. Sometimes it happened or a day and a half later.
So, I want to highlight something for the governor, because I think is important. I thought it was odd (AUDIO GAP) I don't like to go as a Democrat or Republican because you want to focus on the public safety aspects of it. Some of the facts were wrong, that happens, but you do not want to politicize this.
The governor said at the time that he was -- it was unclear what kind of gun he has, said it was a handgun but not clear it was a rifle. I think that -- I thought that sounded odd at the time, and clearly not true. And I just want the audience to be cognizant, that there's something being politically done here and not by those who oppose gun -- who support gun measures and I -- and that narrative was started at the beginning.
Mostly, we've seen in these cases you have the police chief and others come forward first, you don't want to politicize it. And I say that only because there's already going to be a debate and in a country that's having 212 mass shootings in the year in which we're only in day 144, there's no space not to be political. We r as a -- as a nation, we're not allowing ourselves to mourn because eight hours later, 12 hours later, there's another one.
BURNETT: Well, and of course, it's already started when you've seen some of what's going on out there.
Charles, let me ask you though, about one thing that State Senator Gutierrez said. Obviously, with the volume of what's being posted online, it is inevitable that certain things don't get seen and yet that's what we're seeing here. He's saying that there is going to know a social media pathway that becomes clear. He specifically said that the shooter had posted on social media, kids watch out. So when you look at it, you're going to see the foot prints there. It will all start piecing together, unfortunately, the way that it
does in those horrific situations that continue to occur in this country.
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, again, you know, that's a pattern. You see time and time again, the social media footprint is very important in the investigation. And there are people who may not have known exactly when he was going to do it but certainly may have had some information that he was leaning in that direction, making threats and so forth. Did they notify authorities? Did they say anything to parents? I mean, all of this will start coming out as time goes on.
But, you know, he didn't just wake up today and all of a sudden decide this is what he's going to do. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pattern that we're able to uncover that had been around for a period of time where through his behavior, whether it's in the high school, whether on social media, whatever it might be, would indicate you got a very troubled young man.
And, obviously, it's also troubling that an individual could purchase two assault weapons like that so easily at that young an age.
You know, and we talk about the victims, you know, these are devastating weapons and a bullet wound in a small child would be even more devastating than what you would see in an adult. Well, having a death toll this high is not surprising that he was in fact using assault weapons to do the killings.
BURNETT: Yeah, and as, we should just say, I mean this small town, 16,000 people. Everyone will be touched by this.
And so many parents, you know, going to that civic center to pick up their children. Right now, 18 of them don't have a child to pick up and we understand that there are others in the hospital, I don't know the exact number at this point because I don't know if the additional four just confirmed dead were in the hospital but there are children in the hospital right now fighting for their lives.
These are live pictures of Uvalde, Texas, where this horror is unfolding as we speak.
Juliette, Charles, Anthony, Andrew, please stay with me. We're going to continue our breaking news coverage right after this.
BURNETT: We are back with our breaking news coverage of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, where at least 18 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school today.
This is according to the state senator who represents the area who just gave us those latest horrific numbers of the death toll and we are expecting, right now, an update from local officials any moment. So we are standing by for that and hope to learn much more about what possibly caused this horrific incident.
The news of the elementary school shooting obviously went straight around this country and to the Senate floor where Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, of course the state that endured the horrific Sandy Hook shooting where 20 school children died in 2012 broke down on Senate floor after learning about the shooting in Uvalde.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): But by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing. Shooting, after shooting. What are we doing? Why are we here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And Senator Chris Murphy joins me now.
Senator, obviously, no words for what occurred today and you tried to put them as much as you could to this horror which your state, your towns have endured. And now, we're seeing it in Texas, where 18 children are dead and others are still in the hospital fighting for their lives tonight.
How can you even grasp witnessing this happening again?
MURPHY: Yeah. Listen. I'm furious. I'm just furious. I'm furious because the families in Sandy Hook have to go through their nightmares all over again. I'm furious because there's now 18 or more families in Texas that are about to enter a new nightmare. And I'm furious we've had ten years to do something about this.
We've had ten years, knowing that these shooters are out there, ready and willing to perpetuate evil about our children and this body that I serve in has just sat on their hands. And that was my question to my colleagues today, why are you here? Why do you run for the United States Senate? Why do you put in all the effort to get a job like this and then do nothing, slaughter after slaughter?
I'm not saying that a law we pass is going to eliminate murder or mass shootings in this country but we can absolutely stem the tide, we can save some lives. And my hope is that after today, there is a newfound interest from some of my Republican colleagues to do something.
I don't need the perfect. I don't need my colleagues to support everything that I support. I just want to make some progress here so we can show parents out there that we care about their kids.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, it's hard to imagine. I can't imagine who in this country would say a person when they turn 18 should be able to buy two assault rifles in their town and post on social media, kids should watch out. I don't know who can defend such a thing, but obviously in the body
where you are sitting, there are plenty who do and they do by not moving forward on gun control, by ignoring it, by tacitly looking the other direction, however you want to describe it.
I mean -- and I think people hear this though and say the horror we're all feeling, Senator, do you have any confidence at this point, now, somebody is going to say, oh, actually, I'll put my hand up now. And now, I'm going to vote differently. Are you having any conversations that indicate that in any way, this is going to change anything for anyone?
MURPHY: I mean, listen, I guess I have to be optimistic, right? I got six months left on this legislative session and I've got to spend every single day trying to cobble together a coalition in the Senate that involves 10 Republicans that are willing to do something, right?
I want to get rid of these assault weapons. But maybe we can find common ground on just limiting who can get access to them, maybe say you have to be 21 instead of 18, seeing that most of these killers tend to be 18, 19 years old.
I don't know. I'm willing to do something smaller to show that progress. Ultimately, this has to be the voters that make a decision, the voters are just going to have to decide that if you're not with us, we're not with you and elevate this issue when they go to the polls.
BURNETT: All right. And as you talk about changing age ranges, I mean, I think pointing out anything to chip away at the incredible pain and agony out there obviously in Newtown, the shooter was 20 years old. So still would have been banned if you were to do something like 21.
Senator, I want to ask you something, though, because as parents, we all think about this and say, how in the world do you talk about this with your children, especially because they'll hear about it? You have two children, what do you tell them?
MURPHY: Well, you know, I avoided telling them about Sandy Hook for a long time. And when I finally did, I talked to them about it side-by- side with an explanation of what I was doing to make it better, right? I want kids to know that there are adults in this world who are doing everything we can to try to reduce the level of violence in this country.
And I also want them to understand there is still an infinitesimal chance that it's actually going to happen to them but they still live in fear no matter the fact the chances are small, they still -- kids all across this country worry that they are next. And so, I want my kids to know that their dad gets up every single day working to make them safer and my hope is that parents all around this country are going to decide to do the same thing, and they're going to decide to become part of this movement, are going to decide to only vote for candidates that care about their kids' safety as part of the way they talk to their kids about this issue.
That's the choice I made. Every parent will have to deal with it differently, but that is what worked for me.
BURNETT: So, let me ask you because, obviously, you right now have a position where if you look at the raw control, Democrats have control of the House, the Senate and the White House, right? This is -- this is a moment where one could accomplish something. However, of course, you have the 60 vote threshold you need in the Senate if you were to pass something.
It has been clear for financial issue, it has been clear for judicial issues, it has been clear for the abortion issue -- all right, Senator, I'm sorry to interrupt you, local authorities are just now updating and I want to listen in. My apologies.
Let's listen in, everyone. These are local authorities in Uvalde, Texas, about to brief us on the latest in this investigation.
ANNE MARIE ESPINOZA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING, UVALDE CISD: I apologize, I did not realize we were not on and you probably could not hear what I was saying.
I am Anne Marie Espinoza, executive director of communications and marketing for Uvalde CISD.
This is a tragic time in our district so please know the investigation is not complete. We will only be sharing a statement with you, not providing questions. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding.
Here to share a statement and not take questions is our Uvalde CISD chief of police, Pete Arredondo.
PETE ARREDONDO, UVALDE CISD CHIEF OF POLICE: Thank you.
Again, briefly, as of now, we're still working on this active investigation. Once we're able to provide information to the families, we will do so. First and foremost, obviously, our priorities is to get information to our families and give them some information so please bear with us in regards to that.
Secondly, once we do get some information we can release to the public, we will be doing that so please know once we do get some information, we will share that with you and call another press conference.
Let me assure you, the intruder is deceased and we are not actively looking for another individual or other suspects in this case. We definitely ask you all to keep the family, the families that are involved in your prayers. Thank you so much.
ESPINOZA: Here to provide a statement and not take any questions is our superintendant, Dr. Hal Harrell. DR. HAL HARRELL, UVALDE CISD: Good evening.
This was a tragic, senseless event today and my heart is broke today, our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with all our families as we go through this day and days to come.
A few announcements we need to make is beginning tomorrow, 10:00 a.m., we will have grief counseling and support at the civic center for our students, staff, community members, anybody that needs to come at that time and may be there more than one day, maybe several days. Our Robb staff will meet 8:00 a.m. at the civic center as well, we will begin visiting with them and seeing what those needs are.
School will be closed. The school year's done. We will have no school tomorrow or Thursday. All activities are canceled throughout the district. No graduation is on peoples' mind. We will come out with a notice on that at a later time.
All the staff members will report to their campuses, other than Robb campus, which will come to the civic center. Again, my heart is broken today. We're a small community and we we'll need your prayers to get us through this. Thank you.
ESPINOZA: Again, this is a tragic event in our community. We are very sorry that we cannot provide you more information. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding during this very difficult time.
We ask that you pray for all of the families affected. Thank you, and be safe.
BURNETT: All right. Just so everyone understands there, we just heard from the chief of police, Pete Arredondo. They gave statements, didn't take questions.
It was obviously very little information, just confirming there were no suspects and that the shooter is dead, the superintendant saying there will be no more school in the district through the end of year, obviously very little information. I do emphasize this is an incredibly small community of 16,000 people about 85 miles away from San Antonio.
We're going to take a brief break and be back in a moment.
BURNETT: We are covering the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The state senator who represents the area telling me now that 20 people are confirmed killed, 18 of them children, two adults. We understand children were primarily in grades two, three, and four. CNN's Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT in Texas tonight.
And, Ed, we just had the local news conference. Obviously, as I said it is a very small community but obviously they did not really have any information at all to share and they did not take any questions. What are you learning about the investigation at this point?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can, I think, kind of gather from that brief briefing with the school there, school officials are simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event that they are facing there today. Not taking any questions, not even confirming the numbers of deceased students and victims in this that have been widely reported, especially coming from state-wide officials.
But the superintendant saying that essentially, the school year is over for Uvalde. The Robb Elementary is supposed to end on Saturday, graduation ceremonies up in the air but that was the main headline coming from the latest briefing -- Erin.
BURNETT: Yeah, yeah, as they said, no more school for the rest of the year.
Thank you very much, Ed Lavandera.
And I want to go OUTFRONT now to Fred Guttenberg. His daughter Jamie was killed in the Parkland High School shooting in 2018.
And, Fred, you and I had a brief moment to speak during the break. But, you know, you devoted your life to not having this ever happen again and then it did today. How do you even react to news like this?
FRED GUTTENBERG, DAUGHTER DIED IN PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: Shock. Horror. Anger at the fact that these shootings are preventable, but they're also predictable. Anger at the fact that as I speak to you tonight, I know we're going to have this happen again because we haven't done anything.
You know, I've listened to all the talk tonight about why did this happen and it's -- listen, Erin, when my daughter was killed just over four years ago, we had 300 million weapons in America, now we're at 400 million plus and ghost guns.
This isn't rocket science. This isn't hard to figure out. We are making it easier for those who intend to kill to have the means to do so. I am -- I can't ignore the fact that this is in Texas with a governor, with senators, with congressmen who have worked overtime to make this environment easier.
I can't ignore the fact that this weekend, the NRA convention will be in Texas and will all be speaking there. Okay?
This is not hard to figure out. Now it's only a question of who is going to have the courage to say "no more".
I heard you with Senator Murphy earlier. He has been heroic. He needs one of these Republicans. This can't be Democrats solving this. These Republicans need to actually love their children as well and they need to walk into his office and they need to grab him by the arms and say, we're with you.
Because if not, we shouldn't act shocked. I can't believe there's going to be 18 families planning funerals. All the other collateral damage, did they have other kids in the school who experienced this? And why do we let this happen? This isn't normal.
BURNETT: Fred, you know, those families, you know, they don't have kids, you know, to put to bed tonight. I mean, I think it is impossible for anybody to truly grasp what's happening here. From the conversations you've had, Fred, from -- and where we are, you talk about 300 million guns going up to 400 million guns in four years.
Do you -- do you see any hope that even something like Senator Murphy said like moving the age to 21 to purchase something from 18, even something like that would be possible?
GUTTENBERG: Here's why I do have hope. When Jamie was killed in 2018, we followed up with, by turning the Congress -- to a House of Representatives that will pass, a president that will pass, we need the Senate. If we can get a few people in the Senate do the right thing, at a minimum, pass background checks.
Let's do the age, we can do this. We're better than this.
BURNETT: Fred, I'll leave it on that note, just that amidst this horror, the horror you've gone through and are reliving tonight could have that hope. I hope you're right, and I appreciate your time and thank you so much for speaking to me tonight.
GUTTENBERG: Thank you, Erin.
BURNETT: And thanks very much to all of you who have joined us to cover this sorrow.
Let's pass it off now to Anderson.