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Grief And Rage After Texas Elementary School Massacre; CNN Obtains Text Messages Gunman Sent Ahead Of Shooting; 19 Children, 2 Teachers Killed In One Classroom; Official: Gunman On Scene At Least 30 Minutes Before Being Shot. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 25, 2022 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks one and all for being here. I really appreciate it. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. If you ever miss an episode, you can listen to "THE LEAD" wherever you get your podcasts.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call THE SITUATION ROOM. See you tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, grief and rage after the deadliest U.S. school shooting in nearly a decade, officials now revealing that the gunman posted messages about his plans minutes before he massacred 19 children and 2 teachers at a Texas elementary school. He also sent chilling texts about the attack to a girl he had met online. CNN has obtained those texts. Stand by for our exclusive report.

Also tonight, we're learning more about the innocent victims all gunned down in one classroom. Parents sharing stories about the wonderful young children they loved and lost and the heartbreak that will last forever.

Our correspondents are covering every angle of this story, including CNN teams on the scene in Texas.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, investigators are starting to put together the pieces of America's newest shooting massacre. The epidemic of gun violence invading yet another school and claiming 21 more innocent lives, most of them young kids.

CNN National Correspondent Jason Carroll begins our coverage at the scene of the attack in Texas. Jason, state officials revealed new details of how this horrible rampage played out.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And, Wolf, just a day after the shooting, the gravity of what's happened here has begun to sink in even more with this community. The governor here is saying that as far as they can tell so far, the suspect, the shooter here, had no known mental health history. He also had no known criminal history. And according to what they're saying, he purchased the assault weapons that he used for the shooting just last week.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): These kids will never attend school again.

CARROLL (voice over): Tonight, authorities revealed new details about what unfolded as the gunman entered Robb Elementary School and opened fire on a fourth grade classroom.

STEVEN MCGRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The subject was able to make it into the school, as the governor reported. He went down a hallway, turned right and then turned left and there were two classrooms that were adjoining. That's where the carnage began.

CARROLL: Law enforcement estimate the shooter was inside the school for 30 minutes.

ABBOTT: Border patrol consolidated ISD officers, police, sheriffs, and DPS officers converged on that classroom and a border patrol officer killed the gunman.

CARROLL: At least 19 children and 2 adults were killed only two days before the end of the school year. Officials say the gunman acted alone.

ABBOTT: The gunman was 18 years old and reportedly a high school dropout. Reportedly, there has been no criminal history identified yet. There was no known mental health history of the gunman.

CARROLL: The rampage began at his grandmother's home. Authorities revealing messages he sent just before he carried out his attacks.

ABBOTT: The first post was to the point of he said, I'm going to shoot my grandmother. The second post was, I shot my grandmother. The third post, maybe less than 15 minutes before arriving at the school, was, I'm going to shoot an elementary school.

CARROLL: Abbott says the gunman shot the grandmother in the face and then she contacted police. She is now fighting for her life. After leaving his grandmother's home, the gunman crashed her truck in a ditch, leaving the vehicle and walking toward the school with a long rifle and wearing tactical gear.

The gunman had legally purchased two AR platform rifles, posting an image of the guns on Instagram, sending an ominous message to one user that he had a little secret hours before the shooting.

Families throughout the community heartbroken, directly impacting even the officials responding to the scene.

ABBOTT: In addition to the students and the faculty, there were three officers who were injured who all remain in good condition. One deputy sheriff lost a daughter in that school. (END VIDEOTAPE)


CARROLL (on camera): And, Wolf, in addition to the assault weapons that were purchased last week, the 18-year-old shooter also purchased 375 rounds of ammo, again, all legally, all this as investigators try to piece together a motive for what happened. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Jason, thank you very much. Jason Carroll on the scene for us.

Let's hear more now from some of the families who are remembering the victims and sharing their own enormous grief right now.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has their stories.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): 21 lives brutally cut short. 21 families now shattered by an act of violence all too common in the United States.

ADELE MARTINEZ, UVALDE RESIDENT: It's really hard to see what happened today here as a grandma. Yes, it is very hard. I can't imagine going through that with one of my grandkids. My heart is broken for the parents here in Uvalde.

SANCHEZ: 19 children now gone just days before the start of summer break, none yet out of fourth grade. Like ten-year-old Uziyah Garcia, whose uncle calls him a great kid and full of life, he loved video games and anything with wheels. Uziyah's grandfather, Manny Renfro calling his grandson the sweetest little boy he's ever known. Renfro telling affiliate KSAT he played football with Uziyah, that he was fast, could catch well, and remembered all the routes they practiced.

And Amerie Jo Garza, just ten years old, after spending hours desperately searching for news of her, Tuesday, her father, Angel Garza, posting the devastating news on Facebook, quote, my little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don't take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you, Amerie Jo.

Javier Lopez, also ten, was excited to start middle school. His mom, Felizia Martinez, told The Washington Post he was recognized in an honor roll ceremony only hours before the unthinkable. She said she would never forget his smile. Quote, he was funny, never serious.

Jose Flores Jr., also just ten, his father, Jose Sr., telling CNN his son was an amazing kid and a loving big brother to his younger siblings. Always full of energy, he loved baseball and video games.

Alexandra Aniyah Rubio, Lexi, as she was called, had just received an award for the honor roll the morning of the shooting. Lexi's parents describe her as kind and sweet with a big future ahead. They tell CNN she loved basketball and wanted to go to law school. Her mother, Kimberly Mata-Rubio, posted this to Facebook, quote, my beautiful, smart Alexandria received the good citizen award. We told her we loved her and would pick her up after school. We had no idea this was goodbye.

And fourth grade teacher Eva Mireles, an educator for 17 years. Her profile on the school district's website describes her love of running and hiking and spending time with her family, a family that includes a college graduate daughter, Adalyn. Adalyn posting a gut-wrenching tribute to her mother on Twitter, describing her mom as her best friend and twin and calling her a hero, detailing how she tried to save the lives of her students by jumping in front of them.

AMBER YBARRA, RELATIVE OF EVA MIRELES: She was a vivacious soul. She spread laughter and joy everywhere she went. She was a loving and caring mom, relative, teacher to her students.

SANCHEZ: At least 17 others were wounded. University Hospital in San Antonio is still caring for four victims, three children and one 66- year-old woman, believed to be the shooter's grandmother, who is in serious condition. Officials say the gunman shot her in the face before he ran into school and began his shooting rampage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I seen this in the news somewhere else, but not here. But it is happening here. You think it's big town, big community, but small town like Uvalde.


SANCHEZ (on camera): And, Wolf, we have just confirmed there are two other wounded victims at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, both of them adults, both of them in serious condition. Of course, we're going to keep monitoring their status and bring you the very latest. Wolf?

BLITZER: Boris Sanchez in Uvalde for us, Boris, we'll stay in close touch with you. Thank you very, very much.

Let's get more on the shooting investigation. Joining us now, Sergeant Erick Estrada, he's a public information officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Sergeant Estrada, thank you so much for joining us.

First of all, just a day after this horrible, horrible massacre, how is the community -- and you're there in Uvalde right now, how is the community coping with this incredible loss?


SGT. ERICK ESTRADA, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: We're all very heartbroken. It's a very tragic, very sad incident. Just for me coming into this incident itself, I'm a father of two children, and it took me a while to even step out of my vehicle and know what I was about to see inside that school.

But, you know, we're all mourning. We're all heartbroken. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims. But one of the newest updates that we do have right now is that now we know that this suspect did not have any criminal history. Also, he did go into his social media and actually posted what he was about to do, right?

So, we have three different social media posts that he did post. The first one saying he was going to go shoot his grandmother. The second one where he actually did the crime, he actually shot the grandmother, and the third one, that he was actually going to go down to a school and he was going to do a shooting there.

Whenever he did arrive to the school here, he was encountered by a school resource officer who actually saw him carrying a large black bag. And inside that black bag was actually more ammunition. He actually dropped that ammunition and ran inside the school where he barricaded himself inside one of the classrooms. And, unfortunately, that's where he started conducting his business of shooting innocent children, shooting the innocent two adults that were inside that classroom, and it's very unfortunate.

BLITZER: As you know, the authorities say that school resource officer, Sergeant, actually approached the suspect before he made it into the school, but they didn't exchange gunfire. What exactly happened? Why didn't the officer engage the suspect?

ESTRADA: So, right now, we're still -- this is all preliminary investigation. We're still out there doing interviews with different officers that actually responded to this specific incident. As far as their engagement goes, we don't have details as far as if he did engage with his firearm or he didn't engage, but that's where we're at right now.

BLITZER: An Uvalde firefighter did tell CNN it took about 30 minutes from when the suspect arrived on the scene until the gunman was neutralized. Is that your understanding as well, sergeant? Can you walk us through that timeline?

ESTRADA: Right. So, I can't confirm on the timeframes, but what we know is that the first initial call did come out around 11:30. That was the first initial call that came in, and that call came in as a vehicle crash with a male subject exiting out of his vehicle with body armor and a long arm rifle.

BLITZER: Can you confirm that the 66-year-old woman in serious condition right now at the University Hospital in San Antonio is the shooter's grandmother who he says he shot in the face?

ESTRADA: So, that's correct. We did see with our governor and our director in this press conference that they did give that she did receive a bullet wound on her facial area. She was airlifted and she -- as of now, the last update was that she is found in critical condition.

BLITZER: Yes. Let's hope she survives. We wish her recovery, obviously. Do you have any update at all on her condition? Will she be able to make it through, do you think, based on what you're hearing, Sergeant Estrada, eventually maybe even shed some light on this overall investigation? ESTRADA: So, we're hoping, you know, she makes it out alive and well, and our prayers are also with her family as well. But the last update that they did give me in the morning was that she was in critical condition, and, as of now, that has not changed.

But right now, where we're at in the investigation, we do have several different agencies he assisting us, from ATF, DEA, we have Border Patrol agents here on scene, and we have other state agencies, also our district attorney office, the local one here. So, we have different agencies in play that are helping out with this investigation, but our Texas Rangers are the lead investigators for this investigation.

BLITZER: Sergeant Erick Estrada, thank you so much for joining us. I want to stay in close touch with you. I know you're so, so busy, and thanks for all you're doing. We really appreciate it.

ESTRADA: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, will the U.S. Congress here in Washington do anything, anything, to tackle American gun violence after yet another mass murder at a public school? Democratic Congressman Jim Himes is standing by live.


We'll discuss right after the break.


BLITZER: President Biden says he plans to travel to Texas in the coming days to visit with families devastated by the elementary school massacre.

Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is tracking all of this for us. Kaitlan, the president also delivered another very emotional plea today. What was his message?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. This is the second time the president has addressed what happened in Texas. The first was last night, after he found out about this on his return flight from Asia, learning about the details, speaking with officials in Texas. And now the president is confirming today that he and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Uvalde in the coming days to grieve with these families and the community.


It's unclear exactly which day they're going to go because, obviously, Wolf, as officials are planning this visit, they have to be mindful of not taking away from the response that's still happening on the ground right now given the shooter has just taken place in the last 36 hours or so.

But, Wolf, when the president does go, it's remarkable that White House aides are planning this trip when it's only been eight days since he last visited the scene of a mass shooting, when he was in Buffalo grieving with those families of those who have been killed at the grocery store attack.

And now they're making this plan as the president is calling for new commonsense gun laws in the wake of what happened in Texas, acknowledging, Wolf, that he doesn't believe new laws would stop every mass shooting from happening but he argued today something needs to be done.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We must ask when in God's name will we do what needs to be done to, if not, completely stop fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country. To state the obvious, Cory and a lot of other people here, I'm sick and tired. I'm just sick and tired of what's going on and continues to go on.


COLLINS: Now, during those remarks earlier here at the White House, Wolf, the president said he does not believe the Second Amendment is absolute. He says there are limitations to it. And that, of course, comes, as you have heard from Republican senators on Capitol Hill pushing back on Democrats' calls for new laws in the wake of the shooting.

The president also called on Congress to approve his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. That has not had -- the body has not had a confirmed director since 2015 and the president called on them to pass and to confirm him now.

BLITZER: So important. All right, Kaitlan, thank you very much, Kaitlan Collins at the White House.

So, let's discuss what's going on with Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

A decade ago, parents heard the worst news of their lives at that fire station near Sandy Hook Elementary School in your home state of Connecticut. How devastating is it to know that a whole new group of parents in Texas have now heard that same horrible, horrible news?

REP. JIIM HIMES (D-CT): Well, Wolf, as you point out, those of us who live in the close proximity to Sandy Hook, we know in a very special and horrible way what it is like for a parent to be told that their young child won't be coming home that day, that that young child, rather than coming home to a snack, to play with their friends, has been brutally, brutally murdered by someone with a gun. And we still have not in this part of Connecticut recovered from that.

And what makes it particularly horrible is that this stuff doesn't need to happen. There are ways to stop this. And other countries have done that. And we could do it and be consistent with our Second Amendment rights. But time and time and time again, we choose not to, for a whole bunch of reasons. But we choose this world, and as your correspondent pointed out, the funerals have only just begun for Buffalo, another brutal massacre by somebody with a gun. We choose this. And it is just -- it's awful enough to go through emotionally and psychologically what the parents are going through in Texas.

But to know that it's going to happen again, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week, makes this just almost hellish in its horror.

BLITZER: It's so, so horrible. I want you to watch and listen, Congressman, to some Republican senators, how they're reacting to calls, urgent calls for action right now in the Congress, in the Senate and the House. Listen to this.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): We have in our Constitution our Second Amendment rights and I'm not interested in taking away rights from law abiding citizens.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Inevitably, when there's a murder of this kind, you see politicians trying to politicize it. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn't work. It's not effective. It doesn't prevent crime.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Any firearm is potentially dangerous in the hand of a deranged lunatic. At the end of the day, the issue here is not the firearm.


BLITZER: So, let me get your reaction. Are these Republican senators that we just heard from, among others, the ones who are actually -- who should bear some responsibility for allowing this to happen in our country over and over and over again?

HIMES: Well, Wolf, we have been hearing this since Sandy Hook. I thought after Sandy Hook with the murder of 20 children, that maybe people would sing a different tune. It's nonsense. It's utter nonsense.

And you know what, Senator Cruz, yes, we're politicizing this. Politics are how we get things done in this country.


Politics is how we address Jim Crow. Politics is how we cover people with health insurance. Politics is how we keep people from driving drunk. So, yes, politics will be, hopefully, someday, the mechanism by which we stop the carnage that is unique to this country.

And the Second Amendment arguments, which you just heard, are complete nonsense. We have lots of rights guaranteed in the bill of rights. None of them are absolute. We shouldn't even be having this conversation. We have a First Amendment right to freedom of expression, but you do not have a right to say certain things. The classic example being, of course, that you can't cry fire in a crowded theater.

So, those arguments, I can't tell you how angry they make me because they are so stupid in the context of what in this democracy, we believe that we have a democracy, but something like 90 percent of Americans believe that there should be universal background checks.

But Ted Cruz and his Republican friends say, no, because I guess they know better. Many, many people believe we could do much better by things like safe storage, like requiring what we have done here in the state of Connecticut, requiring that police have the right in a very temporary way to take away the weapons, the guns of somebody who is seen to be a danger. We call it a risk warrant here in Connecticut.

So, we know we could fix that problem. Instead, you hear this constitutional nonsense. You hear these arguments, because at the end of the day, Senator Cruz and his fellow Republicans are scared. They're scared to do the right thing. They're scared because they think that the NRA or some other conservative group will call them not pure enough. So, their fear perpetuates a system, a cult that requires the weekly sacrifice of our children.

And how you fix that, I don't know, because this is not a legislative issue. It's not really a democratic issue because most Americans support some basic, basic commonsense second amendment consistent measures but Ted Cruz and his friends consistently say no for the stupidest of reasons. It's just beyond maddening.

BLITZER: Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, thank you so much for joining us. Clearly, we'll continue this conversation.

Coming up, the chilling texts the Texas gunman sent to a girl in Germany about his attack plans. CNN has now obtained the messages. Our exclusive report, that's coming up next.



BLITZER: Now, we have CNN's exclusive report on the chilling text messages sent by the Texas gunman about his attack plans in real-time.

CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin has this report.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the text conversation captured just moments before the 18- year-old shooter would attempt to kill his grandmother, then, in his words, shoot up an elementary school. You know what I'm going to do right now, he writes. Tell me, is the response. I can't, since my grandpa hasn't left. I'm waiting for this dude to leave.

Shortly after 11:00 A.M., Texas time, the suspect then complains about his grandmother and his phone bill. I'm waiting for this bitch. I'm going do something to her right now. She's on with AT&T about my phone. It's annoying. Five minutes pass, then, I just shot my grandma in the head. I'm going to go shoot up an elementary school right now.

That last message sent at 6:21 P.M. German time, which would have been 11:21 A.M. in Uvalde, Texas. 11 minutes later, police received their first call of a shooting at Robb Elementary School. The person on the receiving end of the text, a 15-year-old girl in Germany. She had never met him in person. They connected through a livestreaming app called Yubo, then Facetimed, texted, and he sent her videos of himself. She says the shooter told her he had bought some ammo Monday but she told CNN she had no idea what he was planning.

She's not the only person he was communicating with. The shooter's Instagram account showed a photo of two AR-style weapons and tagged another young woman who he messaged the morning of the shooting, saying, I'm about to -- but didn't finish his sentence, and then, I got a little secret.


GRIFFIN (on camera): Wolf, a teenage girl who spoke to CNN from Germany, with her mother's consent, shared her conversations with the shooter in which the suspect says she was going to fly out and meet her in June. The girl tells us, while she's 15, her only connection with the suspect was following him via social media. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Drew, thank you very much, Drew Griffin reporting.

Let's bring in our Senior Law Enforcement Analyst, the former FBI deputy director, Andrew McCabe, and the former Philadelphia police commissioner, Charles Ramsey.

Chief Ramsey, how disturbing are those messages you just heard? How challenging is it for law enforcement to act on them?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it's very disturbing, obviously, but it's very difficult for law enforcement to act on something like this. There's no way we can monitor every social media platform. But I do think that there are things that can be done, such as better educating the public, particularly young people, that if they do see a message where a person is threatening to harm themselves or others, bring it to the attention of authorities. That's the only way we're going to be able to get on top of this.

In this particular case, he sent those messages just prior to actually committing the act.


So, even if it had been sent to law enforcement, there may not have been a sufficient time to really react. So, it's very, very challenging, very difficult. And the only way we can deal with it is getting the public more involved to pass along information.

BLITZER: It's so, so important. You make a really critically important point, Chief.

Andrew, let me ask you, the gunman made these posts that we just heard. Governor Abbott of Texas said the gunman's grandmother actually contacted police after she was shot, but that doesn't leave law enforcement much of a window to get ahead of someone armed with what's a semiautomatic weapon with lots of ammunition, does it?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, it does not, Wolf. And, once again, we see what sort of tragedy results when law enforcement is not -- doesn't have any pre-event, pre-attack warning about an individual. You're essentially responding once the crisis and the tragedy is under way. So, the race is on for law enforcement to get to the scene and stop that person before they can continue their attack.

You know, Chief Ramsey is absolutely right. If this is a person who is not currently under arrest or being investigated for one reason or another, there's really no reason why any law enforcement entity would have access to or be watching their personal text messages with their friends. And there are hundreds of millions of messages like this every single day. So, it's just an overwhelmingly tough situation for law enforcement to deal with.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Chief Ramsey, the Texas governor, Abbott, he said today that tougher gun laws in Texas, he said aren't, and I'm quoting him now, a real solution, aren't a real solution. What is your reaction to that?

RAMSEY: Well, there is no one solution, but it's part of a solution. I think we do need to have better gun laws, especially when it comes to allowing an 18-year-old, for example, to purchase an assault weapon, having universal background checks, so there are things we can do. Nothing is going to be absolute. But to do nothing means that we just have this conversation over and over again.

Again, it's the inaction from Washington that's a big part of the problem but it's not the only problem. I mean, if we have people hiding behind the Second Amendment. And think about it. I mean, our founder fathers would not want to see this sort of thing going on right now. So, we have to do something about it.

BLITZER: We certainly do, and as I keep saying, commonsense gun control legislation is so, so important. Chief Ramsey, Andrew McCabe, guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, we'll take a closer look at the long history of congressional inaction in the wake of school massacres here in the United States.



BLITZER: Tensions flared in Texas today during a news briefing on the elementary school massacre. Former Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, who is running for governor of Texas against Republican incumbent Greg Abbott, confronted officials and accused Governor Abbott of doing nothing to stop gun violence. Listen.


GOV. CANDIDATE BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX): The next shooting is right now and you're doing nothing. You're offering up nothing. You said this is not predictable. This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, you are out of line. Please leave this auditorium.


BLITZER: The school massacre in Texas is clearly reigniting the gun control debate here in the United States.

CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us. Brian, this has become very sadly a very grim and predictable pattern after a mass shooting at a school.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a pattern that goes back at least 23 years, Wolf, to the days right after columbine. A horrific school shooting occurs. Action is demanded and promised here in Washington, and then it fizzles under the weight of partisanship and special interests.


TODD (voice over): Another slaughter of children inside a school, another instance where a shaken president pleads for an end to inaction.

BIDEN: When in God's name we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?

TODD: But if there's any new movement in Washington after the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting, any movement to ban or cut back the sales of assault weapons, any movement to strengthen background checks, it could join a heartbreaking list of past attempts following horrific school shootings that failed.

BILL CLINTON, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: We must do more to keep guns out of the hands of children.

TODD: That was President Bill Clinton three days after the massacre at Columbine high school in Colorado in April, 1999, when two students killed 12 fellow students and a teacher. Federal legislation was proposed to close loopholes for background checks at gun shows. It failed in Congress.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: For president after president since Bill Clinton, there are tragedies, there is a call to action, there are efforts at legislation, and that legislation falls short.

TODD: The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, when 20 children were gunned down along with six adults, was a moment so horrifying that Democrats and Republicans said something had to be done.

BARACK OBAMA, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: This time, the words need to lead to action.

TODD: Many believed tighter gun laws had a real chance of passing. They didn't pass. Not a proposed assault weapons ban, not a bipartisan measure for expanded background checks. President Barack Obama was still upset years later.

BARACK: Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.

TODD: Four years ago, after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, then-President Donald Trump went against the NRA and called for sweeping gun legislation.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We want to be very powerful, very strong on background checks and especially as it pertains to the mentally ill.

TODD: That movement lasted about a day at the federal level.


The father of a Parkland victim following the Texas shooting yesterday remained pessimistic and angry.

FRED GUTTENBERG, LOST DAUGHTER IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: It is so infuriating because all of these instances, we know the next one is going to happen because we haven't done anything to fix it.

TODD: One analyst says there's plenty of blame to go around. And not just among politicians who point fingers at the other side of the aisle.

TALEV: The public has not demonstrated a will to put this issue above everything else at the ballot box. Are they willing to prioritize that above voting on inflation or their pocketbook?


TODD (on camera): And now after the school shooting, a familiar conundrum in Congress. House Democrats passed legislation strengthening background checks. Now Democrats in the Senate can either try to ramrod that through quickly with the likelihood it will fail or take more time to try to negotiate something bipartisan with Republicans with that outcome very far from certain -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Really heartbreaking to see all those unfold.

Brian Todd, good report. Thank you very, very much.

Coming up, we'll return to Texas and questions about the police response to the gunman, as he entered the Robb Elementary School and opened fire. We'll be right back.



BLITZER: We're following all the new developments in the Texas school massacre. Authorities now revealing that a school officer confronted the shooter just outside the school, but did not engage him with gunfire. He was on the scene for at least a half hour before he was shot, and the rampage ended.

My colleague Anderson Cooper is reporting from Texas tonight. He's joining me right now.

Anderson, you did a really amazing excellent piece for "60 Minutes" a while ago on the training officers get for active shooter situations. What do you make of these details we're learning now?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, AC360: Yeah, the training for police has really evolved and changed radically since Columbine. They learned a lot of lessons there. As you know, in Columbine, initial units made a perimeter and waited for SWAT to come. By then, it was really too late.

The FBI has done extensive studies of every mass shooting that's occurred in this country and shown that most of the killings take place within the first few minutes. That's why now standard police training, as I saw when I did some classes with the New York Police Department, is to no matter what, the first officers on the scene, go and the emphasis is on stopping the shooter, whatever that might mean. That is the priority, because they know most of the killings will take place within the first five to six minutes, Wolf.

The shooter was alive for some 30 minutes, but, again, right now, we don't have a lot of very close details about the initial response. We've gotten some description from local law enforcement, but we need to hear more details, kind of a minute by minute account of exactly what occurred. And how that shooter was able to barricade himself inside a classroom and how quickly he killed those kids and the teacher inside that classroom, and then how long they waited before a tactical team was able to enter the classroom.

BLITZER: Anderson, you and I have covered far too many of these horrible tragedies. I wonder what goes through your mind now as you're on the ground to cover yet another one, this time as the father of two young sons?

COOPER: You know, it is -- it is horrific, and it doesn't get any less so. If anything, there's that -- the dread, the sickening sense that this will likely happen again. And it seems that there is, at this stage, not the -- enough of a consensus from anyone about what can be done, what should be done, and what will be done.

But, you know, my thoughts right now are with the families who have learned last night, waited all day long to hear the news of their children and many of them have gotten that sickening news and how their lives will be forever changed. And there's a lot of grief counselors and a lot of survivors of school shootings. And other parents who lost children who are reaching out to these families in their grief.

We'll talk to some of them tonight, but it is just -- it is an unthinkable tragedy for these families. And this is a community obviously stunned.

BLTIZER: Yes, it's so heartbreaking.

Anderson Cooper, thank you so much for being on the scene for us.

And to our viewers, be sure to watch "ANDERSON COOPER 360" later tonight, 8:00 p.m., for Anderson's special live coverage from the scene.

Just ahead, NBA head coach Steve Kerr sounds off on the Texas school massacre, making an impassioned plea for gun reform after yet another bloody mass murder here in America.



BLITZER: When Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr faced the news media before last night's NBA playoff game, he didn't want to talk about basketball. Instead, Kerr channeled the grief, the outrage and the frustration so many Americans are feeling right now after yet another massacre.


STEVE KERR, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS COACH: In the last ten days, we've had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. We've had Asian church goers killed in southern California. And now we have children murdered at school. When are we going to do something?

I'm tired. I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I'm so tired of the -- excuse me, I'm sorry, I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough!

We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote. Despite what we the American people want. They won't vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power. It's pathetic. I've had enough.


BLITZER: This is also very personal for Kerr. His father, Professor Malcolm Kerr, was shot and killed in 1984 while serving as president at the American University of Beirut.

To our viewers, thank you very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.