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CNN TONIGHT: Texas Department Of Public Safety: Uvalde Gunman "Not Confronted By Anybody" While Entering School; GOP's Sen. McConnell Says He Directed Sen. Cornyn Of Texas To Engage With Dems About A "Bipartisan Solution" On Gun Violence; Second Grader: "I Have The Fear Of Guns Now Because I'm Scared Someone Might Shoot Me." Aired 9-10p ET

Aired May 26, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: CNN's coverage of the tragedy in Texas continues, with Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.


LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Anderson, thank you so much.

I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.

And this was Alithia Ramirez. She was 10-years-old. And we've just confirmed that she was one of the victims killed, in the Uvalde school massacre. She was only a fourth grader. And her father says, she loved to draw, and wanted to be an artist.

And this was 10-year-old Jayce Louie - Luevanos. I want to get his name right, because I want to honor him. Jayce Luevanos, another victim, identified this evening.

And yet another 10-year-old Makenna Lee Elrod. Her family confirmed to CNN this afternoon that she too, died in the attack.

Now, for them, and for all the victims, we now must ask some very tough questions, as to what we heard today. And I know that I'm an anchor. But I'm also anchored, in the fact that I am a mother, of a second grader, of a third grader, an 8-year-old and a 9-year-old, who sends my children, just like you, to school, every single day.

And I want to know, did the Texas school gunman effectively have total freedom, to walk in, and start killing those 19 children, and two teachers?

Now, despite the massive law enforcement response, when you hear me say words, tonight, like - or you hear the word said, like, "Police say," over the course of this hour, I want you to keep those words in mind, more than you might otherwise.

Because the official version of what happened is changing. And we're going to now examine all the new questions that are coming in, as a result of what we continue to hear. So, how did we go from a School Resource Officer, supposedly engaging with the gunman, to no one actually ever getting in his way?

12 minutes passed, from the time he crashed his truck, at 11:28 AM, opened fire, on two people, across the street, at a funeral home, and found an unlocked door, at 11:40, to walk into the school, and begin a full-on rampage.

Now, law enforcement, we are told, made entry, at 11:44. That's four minutes, after the gunman, first got inside of this school. And yet, this unbelievable slaughter, would not end, for up to 60 awful minutes.

Think about that for a moment! As a parent, you don't want your child to be afraid, for 10 seconds! To think that a period of 60 minutes may have gone by, a child enduring any aspect of it, until a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team arrived and went in. We have questions about that timeline.

And there are other startling questions about the response before the Border Patrol team killed the gunman.

A fourth grader, at Robb Elementary, tells a Texas TV station that while he and others were hiding, quote, "When the cops came, the cop said: 'Yell if you need help!' And one of the persons in my class said 'Help.' The guy overheard and he came in and shot her. The cop barged into that classroom. The guy shot at the cop. And the cops started shooting."

Now, if that account is accurate? And terrifying! If it's accurate? It raises the possibility that at least one officer may have unwittingly revealed the hiding place of a victim. But that is far from the only question about protocol.

All those families faced absolute, agonizing torture, being held back by police, with some parents, even pleading, to let them go inside, themselves.

Now, what I'm going to show you, is hard to watch. But it's the reality of what happened.





COATES: A truly heartbreaking scene, for everyone!

And you might be thinking, this is all because the Uvalde Police Department, and the school police, "Well they're not used to something like this. And so, maybe holding them back was something that they were thinking, was necessary to do?" [21:05:00]

We're talking about a town, of 16,000 people. 16,000 people. Two officers, who work in that small city, were shot, during the response. And thankfully, they will recover.

Yet, as a nation, we are all now used, used to this obscene idea that our nearest school could be the target of a madman. And this is what happens more than two decades, after Columbine? Nearly a decade, after Sandy Hook?

We need to know how this hell continued to rage for an hour, more than a half a century, after this United States of America, first realized that schools are no sanctuary, from bullets.

I have a mother, and her son, here, tonight. And you can see them, so happy, in this photo. Look at this photo, of this little boy, kissing his mom. He is a student, in the second grade, who hid not far from where his schoolmates were being killed, everyone!




COATES: "Why is this happening?"

My full conversation, with them, in just a few minutes.

But first, we got to get to the astonishing new revelations, in this timeline that can only be described, as a timeline of terror.

And CNN's Ed Lavandera brings us the very latest, from Uvalde.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (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.


I don't have enough information to answer that question just yet.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The new details revealed in a 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 (voice-over): Police revised earlier reports that the gunman engaged with a School Resource officer. According to investigators, 12 minutes past, when the suspect crashed, his grandmother's truck, on Tuesday morning, and when he entered the school, through an unlocked back door.

ESCALON: He went in at 11:40. He walks. And I'm going to approximate 20 feet, 30 feet. He makes a right. He walks into the hallway. He 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, they receive gunfire. They don't make entry, initially, because of the gunfire they're receiving.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): 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?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain to us how he was barricaded?

ESCALON: I hear you.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like shooting, shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bullet was like hitting the dirt (ph) on the floor and just--

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The bullets were hitting close bullets from where?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess, he was--

CARROLL: That guy was shooting?

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

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Parents were frustrated police wouldn't let them help save their children, despite safety procedures that keep people away, from an active crime scene.

Jesse Rodriguez lost his daughter, in the shooting. He's angered by what he saw officers, doing outside the school.

JESSE RODRIGUEZ, PARENT OF CHILD KILLED IN SHOOTING: They should have moved in. You know what? I don't think they had a right to sit down on their ass, waiting. You know what? They should have moved in faster.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): 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. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All we saw were thousands of police and Border Patrol coming into the cafeteria. And we were all hiding, behind the stage, in the cafeteria, when it happened.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): 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, 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: Laura, Texas DPS investigators say, they are trying their best, to process all of the information, to provide an accurate account, of what happened. But that hour, inside the school, is just simply an area, where we don't have clear answers, at this point.

We know that there were as many as seven different officers there, in the hallway, near the room, where the gunman was barricaded. But what happened during that hour, the decisions that were made, to not go in, for an extended period of time, exactly how all of that unfolded, is still just not clear, tonight.

COATES: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.


With the police response, raising a lot more questions, let's get insight now, from two law enforcement veterans. Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI. And Ed Davis, former Boston Police Commissioner.

Gentlemen, thank you for being here, this evening.

I want to begin with you Andrew. Because, the number, and the phrase that is sticking in my mind is 60 minutes. 60 minutes! Is there any way to explain, or try to help people to understand, if not justify, why there would have been such a long period of time, and why they were not intervening sooner?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Well, Laura, the officials, from the scene, have told us today that essentially the theory was, they had three officers, who followed the suspect, into that classroom.

They maintained a position of cover, outside the classroom. They drew his fire. And they felt that by doing so, they essentially pinned him down, into that classroom, and prevented him from going from other places - going to other places, in the school. And that is certainly a theory. We'll see if that bears out.

The question still remains whether or not they could have prevented additional loss of life, by following, essentially, the protocols, of an active-shooter event, which say, you have to get in front of that offender, that shooter, that attacker, as quickly as possible, to try to neutralize the threat.

We now know that an hour went by, where that didn't happen, until the tactical team came in. And that is a decision that they are going to have to live with, and that I'm sure many, many parents are questioning, tonight.

COATES: Ed, when I hear about the words, theory, that we're talking about, the idea of why we're getting new information? And it's one thing to have new information trickling in, and to get better clarity, on certain aspects. But we're hearing a shifting police narrative, in many respects.

What is your assessment of what you've been hearing?

ED DAVIS, FORMER BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER, FOUNDER, ED DAVIS LLC SECURITY: Well, Laura, it's infuriating, to see armed police officers, heavily-armed officers, standing on a perimeter, when there's this type of carnage occurring. And I agree with Andrew. It's just possible they had pinned him down, and were waiting for reinforcements.

But the problem we have, right now, is a lack of command and control, by the people, who were in charge of this investigation. There is - has been more than 48 hours, 50 hours that have elapsed, since the incident happened. And we still don't have a clear timeline, on what happened.

There's more information coming out today. But it was coming out in dribs and drabs. And it wasn't logical, in its presentation.

And the idea that you're going to have days, or weeks, as a commander, of this kind of an incident, that you're going to have days or weeks, to unravel what happened, and give a full report, is not realistic.

There's a vacuum of information, right now, out there. That's the fault of the authorities, who are running the investigation. And that needs to be filled. Because if it's not filled, it's going to get worse and worse every hour that goes by.

COATES: And, of course, part of the reason, for that, Andrew, as he's articulated, is the idea of what is the collateral damage, of that? The idea of people not trusting in, or under - having their own vacuum undermining the credibility?

And with all the questions raised, and the idea, as you've described, what the protocol ought to have been? What will this do, for the public's confidence and trust, knowing that, really, the nation, right now is reeling, wondering if another school might be next, God forbid?

MCCABE: Well, it's devastating, Laura. Like, first of all, we know that another school will be next. That's the - that's what we've learned over this tragic history of mass shootings, and active-shooter events, in schools. That's a different issue.

But in terms of this event, it is really unfortunate that the folks, who are communicating with us now, are doing so, in such a confusing, conflicting way that they are undermining their own credibility. And, at the end of the day, they're going to put forth a conclusion that the parents, and the victims, of this event, are going to very naturally question.

Just earlier, on CNN, we had Lieutenant Olivarez, who was interviewed. And when asked about the delay, of getting into the room, and confronting the shooter? Each, each question is answered with a high degree of defensive statements, about telling us why we should respect, and accept the decisions that were made, on the ground, by the officers, who responded. That's not really your role, right now.

What they should be doing, is telling us, exactly what happened, and let people make their own decisions, about whether or not they think it was appropriate, later on, down the line. But we are not getting clear information from them. The Police Chief is absolutely right.



MCCABE: Their failure, to communicate clearly, is undermining their effectiveness, here.

COATES: Andrew McCabe, Ed Davis, thank you both so much. We'll be hearing a lot more, from both of you. I appreciate it.

DAVIS: Thank you.

COATES: The question now, with all the questions we have, what about the children? How do they respond, to this gunman's declaration of virtual war, on their school?

I want you to hear more, from one of the second graders, who survived the attack. And he joins me, along with his mom, who desperately waited for word, on his fate. That's coming up.




COATES: So, Mitch McConnell tells CNN that he's directed Texas Senator, John Cornyn, to work with Democrats, on a, quote, "Bipartisan solution," unquote. Meanwhile, Democrat Joe Manchin says that this time, quote, "Feels different."


Now, Dana Bash has been talking with sources, on the Hill. And Doug Heye, was in the trenches, for a big stretch of this history, when he worked for Eric Cantor, the former House Majority Leader.


COATES: When I hear this phrase that "This time feels different," Dana, I naturally wonder what about this feels so different, given that, in so many tragedies that we have seen, over the course of just modern American history, that the reason, this is so tragic, in part, is because we have seen this before.

What about this politically, though, has felt different, on Capitol Hill, to try to urge McConnell to say, "Now it's time for a different type of solution?"

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN CO-ANCHOR, "STATE OF THE UNION": It's understandable, to be skeptical, even cynical. And the answer to that question, is even those, who have been skeptical, and even cynical that anything can get done, are singing a different tune, behind-the-scenes.

And just the fact that CNN has this great reporting, our Hill team, talked to Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader that he tasked John Cornyn, the senior senator, from here, in Texas, to try to work on a bipartisan bill that can get through, that can get 60 votes, in order - that's what's going to be needed, 10 Republicans, in order to get past the Senate? That in and of itself is a big deal.

Does it mean that something will get done? Absolutely not. It doesn't mean that. But, the question is going to be, what's the "It?" How narrow, could the scope be?

For example, after a shooting, here, in Texas, several years ago, there was a very narrow bill that did pass, on a bipartisan basis, with John Cornyn, along with Chris Murphy, the Democratic Senator, from Connecticut.

They worked to fix what's known as the NICS system, the Instant Background Check, the National System, which that shooting showed that there was a something fell through the cracks.

So, in this case, Laura, could it be that the fact that an 18-year-old was allowed, legally, to buy a gun, here, in Texas? Could they change the law, like they did, like then Governor Rick Scott, did in Florida? Maybe. Could there be a red flag law, signed here, like Governor Ron DeSantis, did in Florida? Perhaps.

It's those kinds of maybe narrow, much narrower than what you saw pass in the House, but maybe potentially--


BASH: --significant that they could work on.

COATES: Doug, what do you think the "It" will be? And does it feel different, in terms of the dynamic? We know, we've got quite a bipartisan - a partisan stalemate, in so many respects, and sort of the issues surrounding the Second Amendment, and whether people think it's gun control, or it's a call- for-gun confiscation, the way that this umbrella term, has been misconstrued, and applied, depending upon which side, you are, on the issue.

Is the "It" that could possibly come out of this, I mean, productive for both parties? What do you think?

HEYE: Yes, I sure hope so. And it looks like red flag laws may be a good place, and a safe place, for Republicans, to go to, politically, where they can work with Democrats.

And, I think, it was really smart of Dana, to mention, Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis. I'd also add Tim Kaine. He was the Governor of Virginia, when we had the Virginia Tech shootings.

When I worked for Eric Cantor, whenever the Virginia Tech shooting, would come up, the tone of how we would talk about people, who worked at the time, in the Virginia delegation, would talk, changed. They became subdued. They talked with all in respect about the process that Tim Kaine brought in this to bring disparate groups, and disparate interests, together, to get something done.

And we hear so often, Laura, Dana knows this so well, especially around issues, like this, that we have to do something. And when you talk about doing something, without being specific, it makes it very hard.

I know when Dana would call me, from time to time, in really tough moments, in the Capitol, I could tell her about what we wanted to do, and what we hoped we could do. It was very hard to talk about what we could do, and what we would do.

We're starting to see some difference in that now. And I think red flag laws may be the first place where we can go with that.

COATES: One of the concerns, I have, and just thinking about this story, and we're talking about the really tough questions, tonight, Dana, the questions about the police response?

I do wonder, and have concerns, about whether the questions themselves will translate into a scapegoating that will make Congress say, "Well, this is not for our work to do. We would have operated differently"--

BASH: Yes.

COATES: --"This is really about a policing issue."

When you look at this notion, Dana, do you think that there are any sort of exit ramps that they will use, as ways, to say, "We can't do anything about it?" Is that a concern, right now?

BASH: There are always exit ramps, if that is what politicians are looking for. We know that, since nothing was done, after Sandy Hook, nothing was done, after Parkland, on a national level. It was done, as I said, on the state level, and on and on and on. So, certainly they're there.


I was talking to a law enforcement official, today, who said? Maybe because this person is not a politician, and is speaking, in a somewhat logical fashion? Both things can be true.

It can be true that the law enforcement didn't proceed the way that they were supposed to, following protocol, as you were just talking about, in your last segment.

It can also be true that this gunman, who was a teenager, maybe should not have had the gun, and perhaps these laws should be looked at. Or that the red flag law can be talked about, or put into place? So that people are encouraged, when they see somebody, who is unwell, and perhaps shouldn't get a gun that they can be reported, so that they don't get a gun.


BASH: All those things can be true at the same time.

COATES: Anyone else's (ph) both can be true that they can walk and chew gum at the same time, and they can give thoughts and prayers, while they're thinking of a prayer for relief that is specifically codifying what we need, in legislation.

Dana Bash, Doug Heye, thank you so much, to both of you.

HEYE: Thank you.

BASH: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: And coming up, what a second grader had to do, in order to survive, the rampage, on Tuesday. A second grader! He and his mom will join me next.





COATES: Well the National Rifle Association is still going full steam ahead, with its annual meeting. And it begins tomorrow, in Houston, Texas. And that's just a four-hour drive, from the latest mass shooting site.

Former President Donald Trump, and other leading Republicans, scheduled to speak, at the three-day event. The NRA says, it's gearing up to, quote, "Reflect on these events," unquote, in Uvalde. But, I wonder if this is just code for deflecting, not reflecting, and maybe denying the tragedy, at hand, at least in a way that's productive, to the American people.

I want to bring in Ryan Busse, former firearms executive, and Author of "Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America," to take us inside the gun industry's mindset, and perhaps most importantly, the way forward.

Ryan, thank you for being here.

When you hear about this conference happening? And again, this was obviously scheduled, prior to the tragic events of Uvalde. And it happens, coincidentally, to be in Houston.

But what's not a coincidence is the power, of the lobbying efforts, of the NRA, and the firearm industry. What is your reaction to the stance that they have taken consistently over time? And what can be done about it?

RYAN BUSSE, FORMER FIREARMS EXECUTIVE, AUTHOR, "GUNFIGHT: MY BATTLE AGAINST THE INDUSTRY THAT RADICALIZED AMERICA": Well, my reaction is, as I detail, in my book, I spent much of my career, fighting against the NRA, from the inside.

I think that the stance that the NRA has taken, after every mass shooting? Instead of being a part of the solution, they have decided to be a part of the problem. And in so doing, they've created a politics that has divided our country.

And I'm of the opinion that much, if not all, of the political division, and rancor, and chasm that has divided families, and workplaces, and now invades our school board meetings, and everything that we care about, lies at the feet of the NRA. And it's because they've decided to say, not just "No," but "Hell no," after every single - after every single one of these horrible events.

COATES: Well, what do you say to the retort that they often speak of?

And the NRA has been very clear, in saying "No, this was not our doing. We are an advocacy organization, hoping to solidify, and affirm, and uphold the Second Amendment. And that's the right to bear and carry arms. And so, why do you connect what's happening with the NRA? This is individual people!"

What's your reaction to that?

BUSSE: Couple things. First off, we live in a complex democracy. And yes, we all enjoy freedoms. I'm a gun owner. I enjoy that freedom. I hunt and shoot, with my boys, every chance I get.

But any reasonable citizen knows that any freedom must be balanced with responsibility, or our country's going to get badly out of whack. And it feels pretty, pretty out of whack, to me, right now.

With regards to what I think? An important - an important point, to bring up, Laura, is that for a long time, in the industry, as late as 15 years ago, the industry itself, through the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which controls the largest trade show, SHOT Show, would not allow tactical gear, or tactical weaponry, to even be displayed, at its own trade shows, in the consumer part of the show.

And they did that, for obvious reasons, because somewhere in the DNA, of decent people, you know that proliferating that throughout a society, the way we have, and mixing it with volatile politics, the way we have, is going to lead to disastrous outcomes.

Now, the NRA, for political gain, and for monetary gain, and then, the industry following for-profit gain, has let loose of all those old norms, and our country and responsible gun owners, everywhere. And sadly, those beautiful little kids are paying the price.

COATES: So what, to you, would be the way forward, here?

Because, you speak about the idea that there are some - there is some form of internal regulation, in the industry. There is some notion, about questions that are happening about the culpability, of gun manufacturers, or those who are within an industry that you know, so well.

Tell me, what do you think is the path forward? What are the most basic legislative measures that you think might be a part of the, what we know to be, at least the beginning of a conversation, on the path, to a possible bipartisan solution?

BUSSE: Well, I think, the first path is that responsible gun owners have to stand up, and they have to say, that "NRA, and this craziness does not represent us." I am one of these people. There are millions of these people, across the country.

It is time to stop being silent. It is time to stop being led around by the Nos, by a group that cares - that cares nothing about this country. It cares about political power, and money. And it's time to be done with that.

So, it's time for gun owners. I think, we have to kick down the door, and say, "This can't happen." We have to send the message that there isn't a singular voting bloc, of gun owners, out there, like the NRA says there is. That's just not true.

With regards to specific actions? I think there's some just absolute no-brainers that essentially 80 percent of the country does not argue with.

First, universal background checks. That has to get done. It should have been done long ago. It should have been done with the Manchin- Toomey legislation, after Sandy Hook. It needs to be done, now.


Every single sale needs to run through a background check. And one other thing. That's not anti-gun, to say that. That's just pro- responsibility. The NRA likes to say, likes to castigate people, like me, who simply advocate for responsibility, saying, "Well, that's anti-gun," or "You're being anti-freedom." No, I'm not. I'm done with those definitions. And so, those every single reasonable gun owner needs to be done with those definitions, as well.

The other one, red flag laws?


BUSSE: We need to strengthen them.

COATES: Ryan Busse, thank you. I'll be curious to see, how the NRA does indeed, reflect, on what you've just spoken about. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BUSSE: Thank you so much, Laura.

COATES: My conversation with a second grade survivor, I can't even believe I have to say that phrase, a second grade survivor, of the shooting, and his mom, next.




COATES: My next guest is an 8-year-old little boy.

Edward Timothy was in the room, near the classroom, where a gunman murdered other children. Now, Edward Timothy didn't know, what was going on. But he knew things weren't right, when his second grade teacher, told him, and his classmates, to pray.

Now, how awful that kids are the bystanders, who are now tasked, with giving people, like me, and all of us, adults, the details, about this tragedy?

Edward Timothy joins me now - or joining me, with his mom, Amberlynn Diaz.

I'm so glad to speak to both of you, this evening. But I have to tell you, our hearts are so full, for the entire community.


And Edward Timothy, if I can just start with you? I mean, my little girl, who is only 8-years-old, first, she wanted me to say hello. And she hopes that you know that other little kids are thinking about you all, today.

How are you doing, Edward Timothy? How are you feeling, right now?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I was feeling better, before the day that happened. And I'm a little more better, because I'm with my mom, and my dad, and my brother. I'm a little better, with my family, now, when I got to meet them again.

COATES: For a while, you weren't able to see them, because you were inside of the school. Can you tell me a little bit about what that was, like? What were you hearing, Edward Timothy?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I was like hearing like loud noises.

COATES: What did you think those were?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Like it was like really loud.

COATES: What did you think they were?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well - well, at first, they sounded like, like, something like was popping.

COATES: When you were--

TIMOTHY SILVA: Like kind of like fireworks.

COATES: Oh? So, when you heard the firework-type sounds, did you think it was far away from you? Or close to you?

TIMOTHY SILVA: It was like - I heard like it - like a little like far. Well, I heard it like, really loud.


COATES: So, it was louder?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Like I heard it like following me.

COATES: Edward Timothy, was your teacher with you--

TIMOTHY SILVA: First, we saw--

COATES: --when you heard the sounds?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Yes. Well, at first, a lady came to the classroom, and knocked on our doors, with a purple shirt. She said, "Go and hide." And we turned off all the lights, and went to the back of the classroom, and put desk in front of us. And we were hiding.

COATES: Did you know, when the lady with the purple shirt came over, did you know why you were having to hide, and close the door, and turn off the lights?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Yes. I learned that we were having a real drill. Because we've practiced a lot. And I think, we were safe, because we practiced.

COATES: How many times had you had to practice a drill like that, before?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, we started in kindergarten. COATES: Since kindergarten, you've been practicing this drill. And that made you feel safer.

Mom, when you hear your son describing that, the - sounded like firecrackers. He's been practicing a drill, for something like this, for several years, now, what goes through your mind, as a mother?

DIAZ: Yes. I just felt really bad that he had to go through this. Any - no kid should go through this.

The fear of your child, being in that classroom, to me, in my position, I was - somebody had told me that the shooter was next door, to my son. And what was going through my mind, was the shooter, was going to be shooting everywhere, and one of the bullets was going to shoot him, and kill him. So, that's when I completely lost it.

The teacher had texted me, maybe like 40 minutes later that they were on the way, to the civic center. So, in that moment, I was a little bit OK. But then, I had to rush, over there, to make sure, you know, I have to see him, to believe him - to believe them. And once I saw him getting off that bus, I was OK, yes.

COATES: That must have been excruciating, for that 40-minute period, to be waiting--

DIAZ: Yes.

COATES: --to actually hold him in your arms, to see him.

DIAZ: I know.

COATES: To know that he was safe.

Edward Timothy, what were you thinking? How long did it feel like that you were waiting to leave the school? And how did you get out of the school?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, we were running out of the doors because like two police cars were covering our doors, of the shooter was going to come in. And then, they were just - we just ran out of the room, whenever the cops told us to run.

DIAZ: You didn't care about cutting?

TIMOTHY SILVA: No. We just started to run. All of us started to run.

COATES: Did your teacher tell you to pray, at some point?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Yes, I was praying, thinking, why is this happening?

COATES: What did you - when you were praying, and asking, why do you think this is happening, were other children, in your class, praying, as well?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Yes, I was praying in my head though.

COATES: What were the other kids in your class doing, when you were hearing those pops, and you were praying in your head?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I heard - my other classmates were praying - were crying.

COATES: Did you ever see the person, who was shooting?

TIMOTHY SILVA: No, I didn't see him.


COATES: Did you see the other kids, in the other classroom?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Yes, we all - every classroom - ran out of their classrooms.

COATES: How are you feeling now? I mean, did you - how did you sleep, last night?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I was sleeping, with my mom and dad, again, because I was a little scared.

COATES: What are you afraid of now, Edward Timothy?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I have the fear of guns now because I'm scared someone might shoot me.

COATES: Amber, when you hear your son say that, had he expressed that, to you, before, ever? His fear?



DIAZ: No, this is my first time, hearing this.

COATES: What's that like hearing that?

DIAZ: It breaks my heart, yes.

COATES: Did you know some of the other children, Amber?

DIAZ: No, not personally.

COATES: I know that this is very emotional. It broke your heart, to hear your son say he was afraid?

DIAZ: Yes.

COATES: Amber, what do you - what do you want to happen?

DIAZ: I just don't want my - because he was asking me, does he have to go to school, next year? And I just don't want him to be afraid of school. I want him to continue learning, and not be scared, of going back to school. Yes.

COATES: I know it hurts. DIAZ: I want him to have a normal life again, and - yes.

COATES: Amberlynn, it breaks my heart, as a mom, to see and hear this. I know my own children have to do these drills, as well, in school, beginning, for the same age, beginning in kindergarten. And I - it's just so hard to hear a child have to go through this.

If I can just ask you one more question, Edward Timothy? What would make you feel better? Anything?

TIMOTHY SILVA: Well, I already am better a little. Yes. I'm already better.

COATES: And I'm so glad I got to speak with both of you. And, of course, our heart is breaking, for the children, who we would have loved to speak to, today, as well.

Amberlynn, Edward Timothy, thank you. I hope that when you go back to school, Edward Timothy, you are not afraid, and that you get to live out all the dreams you want.

Thank you.

DIAZ: Thank you.


COATES: I watch, these scenes of memorials, of grief. And I wonder where do the families of the 21 Fallen go, to find justice? That's next.




COATES: For the families, of the 21 killed, in Uvalde, the truth is, the person, who ripped their lives apart, will never stand trial, and never do time. If someone is to be held accountable, for this tragedy, the question is who, and how.

That moves us from the lawmakers to now the court of law. And that's where Elie Honig comes in.

Elie, thank you for joining me tonight.

My number one question, when you think about this, we know what Congress is thinking about doing. But what would be the legal recourse, for the parents, knowing that the suspect is dead?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, Laura, like you said, there will be no criminal case here, of course.

So, the only legal recourse can be, in the civil courts, where the parents can file lawsuits. Now, who might they sue? Can't sue the shooter. Of course, he's dead. His family is not going to have anywhere near enough money to pay a verdict.

The parents, however, could potentially sue the city, the school board, even the police. Now, that's a high legal standard. They'd have to show what we call reckless disregard, for the safety of the children. A lot of this is going to turn on the story that's developing now, about specifically what the police did, and when.

And the other option, for the parents, Laura, and it's a difficult one, legally, is to sue the gun manufacturers. There is some history of this being done. Texas State law and federal law, though, make that very difficult. But it is something the parents can do, to try to get some measure of justice.

COATES: Part of that history is analogy, people are now raising, of course. This is reminiscent of what happened at Sandy Hook, another elementary school. The parents in the Sandy Hook shootings, they also tried to do this, in terms of gun manufacturers. Did that work out?

HONIG: Yes, no, Remington, the gun manufacturer, which was sued, did settle that case, for $73 million. The difference was, that case was brought under Connecticut state law, which is much more open, and forgiving, to this type of lawsuit, than Texas State law, and federal law.

So, yes, there is precedent for gun manufacturers, paying out enormous settlements, in this kind of lawsuit.

COATES: So, we're clear, of course, when we're talking about settlements, this is obviously no replacement, for the precious lives that have been lost. But this is one of the methods, for having some sort of accountability.

The Supreme Court, we always watch, Elie, and look to what's on their docket, what might be in the next term. What does the Supreme Court had to say about issues like this, and especially the Second Amendment? Are we seeing something changing on the horizon?

HONIG: Yes, Laura. Well, first things first. The Second Amendment is very broad. But it is not unlimited. Don't take that, from me. That's a quote from the Justice Antonin Scalia. He said, back in 2008, the Second Circuit is not unlimited, the - excuse me, the Second Amendment is not unlimited.

Now, the question is, where is the Supreme Court going to draw the line, Laura? Over the last 15 years, it's only moved one direction. Towards broader gun rights.


They have ruled, over the last 15 years, essentially that there's an unlimited right, for people, to possess a handgun, in the home, for legal purposes. Now, there's a decision, pending, right now that could expand that to carrying firearms, on the person, for legal purposes.

And, I think, what's happening here, is the Supreme Court is forgetting a quote, from Justice Scalia, where he said, it is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever, for any manner whatsoever, for any purpose whatsoever.

And so, that's a quote, from Justice Scalia. It seems the Supreme Court is moving away from that, however.

COATES: And yet, as a nation, we're moving closer and closer to this being, so prevalent, that it is haunting--


COATES: --to a civilized society. The loss of life, immeasurable.

Elie Honig, thank you so much.

HONIG: Thanks, Laura.

COATES: We'll be right back.




COATES: Thank you for watching.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT," live from Uvalde, Texas, starts, right now.

Hey, Don?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Hi, Laura. Here we go, with another mass shooting, at a school. And it is just horrific to have to report it. But I'm going to get to it. Thank you.

COATES: Thank you.

LEMON: I'll see you, tomorrow.

Hello, everyone. I'm here, in Uvalde, Texas.