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The Situation Room

Texas Governor Says, I Am Livid About Being Misled About Police Response; Survivor Says, Gunman Told Teacher Goodnight, Then Shot Her; NRA Kicks Off Convention In Texas Despite School Massacre; Sports World Speaks Out About Gun Violence After Recent Massacres; All 19 Children, 2 Teachers Killed in Massacre Identified. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired May 27, 2022 - 18:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, the Texas governor declares he was misled and is now livid after police make a damning admission of mistakes in the Texas school massacre, one top official revealing to CNN that officers made the wrong call when they failed to confront the gunman for more than an hour after they entered the school.

Also tonight, as young survivors mourn the deaths of 19 classmates and 2 teachers, some are sharing terrifying accounts of what happened inside the school. One girl describing to CNN how the gunman looked her teacher in the eye, said goodnight and then shot her.

Our correspondents are covering this story from every angle, including our teams in Texas pushing for new information about the police response.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I am Jim Acosta and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, the fallout is just beginning after the stunning admission by police in Texas that a wrong decision was made in response to the school's massacre. Governor Abbott venting his anger at a news conference, saying he was misled.

CNN National Correspondent Jason Carroll has our report from Uvalde, Texas.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I was misled. I am livid about what happened.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, Texas Governor Greg Abbott aiming his ire at law enforcement.

ABBOTT: My expectation is that the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigations, which includes the Texas Rangers and the FBI, they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty.

CARROLL: After damning new admissions from Texas authorities surrounding the incident commander who made the decision not to immediately enter the classroom the gunman was in.

COL. STEVEN MCCRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: The decision was made this was a barricaded subject situation. There was time to retrieve the keys and wait for a tactical team with the equipment to go ahead and breach the door and take on the subject at that point. That was the decision. It was a wrong decision, period.

CARROLL: Officials explained how the shooter got into the school.

MCCRAW: What we knew, the shooter entered, Ramos, was prompt open by a teacher.

CARROLL: Investigators clarified the timeline as police arrived.

MCCRAW: The three officers that arrived went directly to the door and, two, received grazing wounds at that time from the suspect while the door was closed. At 11:37, there's more gunfire, 11:37 -- one at 11:37, and 16 seconds, 11:38, 11:40, 11:44. At 11:51, a police sergeant and USB (ph) agent started to arrive. At 12:03, officers continue to arrive in the hallway and there was as many as 19 officers at that time in that hallway.

CARROLL: Officers did not enter the room until a janitor provided keys.

MCCRAW: They breached the door using keys that we're able to get from the janitor because both doors were locked. Both of the classrooms that he shot into were locked when officers arrived. They killed the suspect at that time.

CARROLL: In that crucial time, survivors inside both classrooms made desperate calls to 911.

MCCRAW: She identified herself, whispered she's in room 112. At 12:10, she called back in room 12, advised are multiple dead. 12:13, again, she called on the phone. Again, at 12:16, she's called back and said there is eight to nine students alive.

CARROLL: Minutes later, a student called.

MCCRAW: A student child called back, was told to stay on the line and be very quiet. She told 911 that he shot the door. At approximately 12:43 and 12:47, she asked 911 to send the police now.

CARROLL: Alfred Garza says his daughter, Amerie, may have been one of those students who tried to call 911. She was killed during the shooting. Now that Garza knows first responders made a tragic mistake in waiting to breach the door, it has triggered a range of emotions.

ALFRED GARZA, PARENT OF DECEASED STUDENT: I am trying to process everything and move forward. And, you know, like I said, no matter what I do and how angry I get, it's not going to change. Something has got to be done now. Where do we go from here? You were wrong. What do we do now? It is my question. What are we going to do?

CARROLL: The accountability you're talking about?


GARZA: Right, the accountability. Somebody has got to be responsible.

CARROLL: Warning signs missed.

MCCRAW: That Ramos asked his sister to help him buy a gun. She flatly refused. That was in September of '21.

CARROLL: With social media group chats and posts as far back as last February offering red flags.

MCCRAW: Yes, at Instagram for a group chat, and it was discussed that Ramos being a school shooter. That was on February 28th of 2022. On March 14th, and there was Instagram posting by the subject in quotations, ten more days. The user replied, are you going to shoot up school or something? The subject replied, no, and stop asking dumb questions and you will see.


CARROLL (on camera): And so, Jim, the governor says that he expects laws to be passed as a result of everything that happened here. He also says both the FBI and the Texas Rangers are going to be investigating every single official that was involved in all of this.

And as you heard, there are people like Alfred Garza, parents like him will be watching very closely to see who, if anyone here, will ultimately be held accountable. Jim?

ACOSTA: Absolutely, there needs to be accountability. All right, Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

Let's bring in CNN Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz, he's in Uvalde, Texas. Along with us, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey, the former Philadelphia Police commissioner, and the former police chief in Bergen County, New Jersey, Brian Higgins, Chief Higgins, thanks for being with us as well.

Shimon, moments ago, we saw the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott's claim that he was misled about the details of how the shooting unfolded. This seems to be a recurring team from authorities. They can't get their stories straight. Now they're pointing fingers. But are we starting to piece together what happened and what went wrong?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I don't know that we know definitively, Jim, what went wrong, but someone was providing that information to senior leaders of law enforcement, whether people are lying, whether people were trying making themselves out to be heroes when they weren't, or quite simply did people know that there were mistakes made and they were trying to cover those mistakes up. And that, I think, is something that this investigation will hopefully figure out. The thing is with the governor, he presumably was being briefed by the head of DPS, the director of public safety, the Department of Public Safety here in Texas, who took to the podium today to reveal all of these information. So, that is someone who reports directly to the governor. So, presumably, someone on his staff, someone in that office would have been briefing the governor and then we're getting information from people here at the scene. Everyone calling for some type of an independent investigation, hopefully, that'll develop information that can shed lights. There is still so many remaining questions.

So, clearly, everyone calling for some kind of independent investigation, and, hopefully, that will develop information that could shed led light on still -- really, Jim, there are still so many remaining questions.

ACOSTA: No question about that. And, Chief Higgins, authorities now say it was the wrong decision for officers to wait outside the classroom instead of moving in to neutralize the gunman. You are a former SWAT Team commander. Tell us about this. This runs counter, I suppose, to what officers are trained to do in these situations. It is astounding to me that they did not know that at the time.

BRIAN HIGGINS, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Yes, I would agree, Jim. We need to really know the truth. We need to know the facts. And it seems like every time there is a press conference, there are two things that happen, there is more information that's given and there are corrections of the past information. So, that's very critical that the information that is released is truthful.

And when you speak of SWAT operations, Jim, it is a very tense situation even if -- and I've heard a lot of discussion about whether it is an active shooter or whether it's a hostage. Active shooter situations could become a hostage situation. When you are involved in those situations, it is always a question of will the officers' action make these individual hurt people? But we already had injured students inside that classroom and potentially more children who could have been killed. What we really need to know is did this delay contribute to more deaths?


ACOSTA: Yes, Chief, I mean, that's the question I keep coming back to, is why didn't they just charge in either way? No matter what they thought was going on, why not charge in? Do you fear that victims may have died during that hour long window while officers were there treating this as a barricaded suspect instead of an active shooter, and if you could pick up where the chief left off there?


RAMSEY: Yes. Well, listen, this entire situation has to be thoroughly reviewed. But in my mind, I find it difficult and hard to believe that some kid didn't bleed out, literally bleed out during that period of time. Again, I go back to something I said a couple of days ago, and that's just how devastating injuries are that are inflicted by an assault- type weapon like that particular shooter had. And you know to think that you had time to wait, it just makes absolutely no sense.

The other thing is the governor is saying he was misled, well, I mean, we were all misled. And I find it very hard to believe that officials within the police department did not know that this was not -- the facts in this case where not what they were reporting during these press conferences.

I have been to a lot of scenes, and it does not take long before you start to realize that what you've initially told doesn't line up with the evidence and other information that you're beginning to get in. And so they did not get that information out in a timely fashion. And now, they're in a situation now where they've got some major, major, major problems that they're going to have the deal with, and it is a shame. It just makes no sense and there is no excuse for it.

ACOSTA: And, Shimon, what can you tell us about the incident commander who made this decision? Where is this person? Why haven't we seen this person? What's going on with that?

PROKUPECZ: Well, we don't know. He wasn't at the press conference today. He runs this police department. It's a small police department. There is about four officers, a detective, a security guard and that's him. So, that's not a very large police department.

He was not at the press conference today. And I asked the police officials that were here, they're like he's just not here. They really weren't going to give us answers. We are trying to speak to him. So far, we have not had any success. His name is Peter Arredondo.

The other thing, Jim, that I think what Chief Ramsey there says is a good point because the people who have been briefing us on every step of this investigation is the Department of Public Safety, the Texas Department of Public Safety.

And every time we come to them for specifics on what was going on here in that hour when officers were involved, even yesterday, I approached one of the lieutenants, he was out here, I asked them. And I could tell that they were being evasive, like something was just not right. And then, obviously, today, we finally got that information.

And other small point is that there are video cameras that captured so much of this. So, it is hard to believe that police officials did not view this video sooner and that they would not have had some of these information days ago.

ACOSTA: I fear that we have been lied to all week. Thank you very much, Shimon and Chief Ramsey and Chief Higgins, thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.

A fourth grader who survived the massacre is now sharing chilling details of what she saw and endured. Listen as CNN Producer Nora Neus describes her exclusive conversation with 11-year-old Miah Cerillo. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NORA NEUS, CNN PRODUCER: She says the shooter looked one of her teachers in the eye, said, goodnight and then shot her. Then he opened fire shooting the other teacher and a lot of Miah's friends. And she heard screams and then heard him shooting in that classroom, heard a lot of gun shots.

After shots stopped, though, she says he started playing music, sad music. I asked her, how would you describe it, and she said, it just was sad, like you want people to die. She said she actually put her hands in the blood from her friend who lay next to her, she was already dead, and then smeared the blood all over herself, all over her body so that she could play dead.

She told me that she assumed the police just were not there yet, but then afterwards she heard the grownups say that the police were there but waiting outside. And that's the first time that she really started crying in the interview. She'd been pretty stoic up until then, but that's when she started crying, saying she just didn't understand why they didn't come in and get her. Why wouldn't they come in? Why wouldn't they come in?


ACOSTA: And other young survivors are describing how they hid from the gunman as bullets were firing.


JAYDEN PEREZ, UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Five of us hiding there and then the rest under a table, but that did not stop one of my friends getting hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened to your friend?

PEREZ: The shooter shot through the window and hurting my friend and my teacher, like my teacher got hurt like on right here, like on -- I don't know which side but she got hit, like hit on the side.

EDWARD TIMOTHY SILVA, UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: A lady came to the classroom and knocked on our doors with the purple shirt. She said, go and hide.


And we turned off all the lights and went to the back of the classroom and put desks in front of us, and we were hiding.

I had a fear of guns now because I am scared someone might shoot me.


ACOSTA: These children are absolutely precious.

As we hear these gut-wrenching stories, we are also learning more about the children who did not make it alive. That's ahead.

Up next, now that authorities in Texas have flatly admitted their mistakes, what needs to happen next? I'll ask the state senator who represents the community shattered by this school massacre.


ACOSTA: We are getting new reaction of the damning admission by authorities in Texas of mistakes made during the elementary school massacre.


We heard Texas Governor Greg Abbott say he was misled, claims he was misled by police about their response and he says he is livid. The state senator who represents the community where the shooting happened was at that news conference. And you can see him there in this video pressing the governor for actions.

State Senator Roland Gutierrez joins us now in THE SITUATION ROOM. Senator, thank you very much for being with us, our hearts go out to you and your community. Why did you decide to confront Governor Abbott tonight and what are you demanding of him in light of this horrific massacre?

STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): Jim, I represent this district. First off, Governor Abbott and his staff did not invite me to this event. Secondly, as I listened to him talk about state health services and what we offer to people and talk about reimbursing someone for a pair of glasses, it just sickened me.

The fact is -- I am sorry. The fact we're just -- these Republicans, this governor is responsible for why these things to happen. No way in the world an 18-year-old should ever have access to this type of weaponry, should be able to go into a store and access that kind of militarized weaponry.

I've had enough. I've been here for three days. I have been talking to my constituents. They've had enough and they want to see change. And so I've asked him, my colleagues in the Democratic caucus are asking for a special session. Jim, it's time. We have to have real solutions here.

ACOSTA: And you heard the governor say that or claim that he was misled about what happened and said that he was livid. What was your respond to that that?

GUTIERREZ: The fact is, Jim, I mean, I am here every day trying to solve problems for people, making sure that we have adequate resources. I have -- he's the leader of this state and he wants to us talk to us about gun solutions that -- I think he was asked today whether an 18-year-old should have a gun. And he says, well, we've had laws on the books for 60 years. That's when we were able to hunt squirrels with our .22 rifles.

At the end of the day, we have to do what's right for our citizens. Technology has changed. We shouldn't have this kind of militarized weaponry. And this man failed us and has failed to respond to that particular issue.

As to what happened over here, my concern with what happened today is the law enforcement that were here in place. At what point does our state agencies begin to take operational control? Nowhere should have taken over an hour to get into that building, an hour and 13 minutes to get into that building.

I have talked to little children that were in the building. I talked to a little girl just right now, I said are you brave, she says first, I was scared but then I got brave. I am so sorry. I'm just so frustrated of all this, Jim. I don't know what to do anymore. I don't know what to tell people anymore. I do apologize to you. It has been a hard, hard three days.

ACOSTA: I know it has been, Senator. I wonder when you hear the police admit that they made the wrong decision earlier today and the shifting stories and now the finger pointing has begun, do you believe that you have been lied to this week? What is your response to the police when they come out and say, when the Department of Public Safety comes out and says that they made the wrong call? Do you get any straight answers?

GUTIERREZ: Yesterday, the Department of Public Safety -- yes, yesterday, they told me that we would not get a full picture until Saturday. I said urge you to make sure we have a timeline by tomorrow. People are demanding transparency. And so we get their timeline today and the first thing that we hear is the school district police had operation control and then it is the police.

Listen, we all know what happens in an active shooter situation. He's already said they made a mistake. But at the end of the day, if our state troopers were here at some point, someone needs to take at a higher level operation of control.

So, there are still answers that have gone -- there are still questions that have gone unanswered. I don't want a Monday quarterback this whole thing, but I will tell you that there is some responsibility that should be held. There should be some accountability, and that accountability is where the policymakers who controls this state. I asked for a red flag bill in 2019 and that bill us was killed in the committee. It went nowhere.

In 2019, they passed open carry. The last thing I said on my floor speech, the last thing I said, was I said, because of this bill, kids are going to die. Never in my wildest dreams that I think that that would happen, that that bit of hyperbole would happen in my own district, never did I think.

ACOSTA: All right. Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you very much for your time this evening.


Thank you very much for -- GUTIERREZ: I am so sorry.

ACOSTA: -- opening your heart to us this evening. We appreciate it now, we do.

GUTIERREZ: It has been a long three days. I apologize for my frustration.

ACOSTA: I totally understand. Thank you very much.

Coming up, the NRA Convention is underway in Texas amid protests and criticism. Some politicians are pulling out of the event, but former President Trump is still taking the stage. We'll go there live next.

Stay with us. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.


ACOSTA: Just three day after the massacre in Texas, the National Rifle Association's annual meeting is underway in Houston, occurring as families plan funerals for the 19 children and 2 teachers murdered by a gunman with an AR-15-style weapon.


CNN's Chief National Affairs Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is joins live from Houston. Jeff, former President Donald Trump has now weighed in on the renewed gun debate in this country. I'm afraid to ask, but what did he say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jim, he did. He started the speech out here at the NRA Convention by actually reading a name of the victims, all 19 children and 2 adults who were killed in a Texas school massacre earlier with the tolling of the bells. But then, literally in the next breath, the former president went onto blame the shooting on anything other than guns, talking about safety in school, talking about mental health challenges, even taking a bit of a crack at the Biden administration for the money sent to Ukraine.

But the president squarely, clearly was behind the NRA in his address tonight.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens who know how to use their weapon and can protect a lot of people. The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law abiding citizens.

Sadly, before the sun had even set on the horrible day of tragedy, we witnessed a now familiar parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families to increase their own power and take away our way our own constitutional rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ZELENY: So, even with thousands of NRA members gathering here for its convention, literally, less than 300 miles from Uvalde, there were also thousands of protesters outside the convention hall, Jim, clearly showing how entrenched this debate in America is. No solutions here, just people pointing to different parts of the problem. Jim?

ACOSTA: All right. Jeff Zeleny in Houston, thank you very much.

Let's discuss with former Ohio Governor and CNN Senior Commentator John Kasich and along with USA Today Columnist and CNN Senior Political Analyst Kirsten Powers.

Governor John Kasich, how exactly does the former president rail against cynical politicians, I guess, is what he was saying a few minutes ago, exploiting this tragedy? I mean he is at the NRA Convention. Give me a break.

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, and to say that -- basically implying, well, maybe we need more guns. We have so many guns in this country right now and there is just no reason for this proliferation. And now people are going to say -- some people are going to say, well, we need more guns, because if we have more guns, we would be safer. I mean, that's not rational. It is ridiculous.

And as I listen to him start to criticize these cynical politicians and all that, it really reminded me why I spent my whole time trying to oppose him for president in the first place. I mean, it's a terrible message and it should be a message that brings everybody together, not divide us. And I don't know anybody in this country does not think we have a problem because we have too many guns.

One thing I will say that he's right about, and that is mental health issues. And not just for adults but for our children as well. This is something that is very serious problem and it is not just money, we need the build a network with pediatricians, with the doctors that we see, our primary care doctors. We need to get people help. This was the case, this guy, and what he was doing, the behavior he was engaged in with animals. That's a first sign that you know he's got deep trouble. Nobody did anything.

But we just can't throw a little money. There has to be a comprehensive plan on that. And, of course, what he should have mentioned is a red flag law, which would say that if you know somebody that has a mental health problem, you would take their gun away or you don't give them a gun, but he never said that. He's stayed away from that because he is there trying to suck up votes. That's what that was about.

ACOSTA: And money as well. He's not going to cross the NRA while he's trying to raise money for whatever he's doing.

And, Kirsten Powers, let me get you to weigh in on this. What thoughts are going through your mind as you are hearing all this?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, just, you know, a little bit of his speech that I was able to read before we came on and what you played, he's doing what the NRA likes to do, which is to point to every single thing except for the gun, the gun, and it is usually the same gun that's used whenever we have these massacres.

And so, yes, mental health obviously is an issue in the country and I would say separate from gun violence. We need to take it seriously because people are suffering. But there are mentally ill people in other countries. The difference is other countries don't arm them with semiautomatic weapons. So, I think there are other things that could be done. I should also mention that Donald Trump also blamed broken families for this. He's been divorced twice.

So, the problem is the guns. And so we have to do something to keep these guns out of the hands of dangerous people.


And one of the things they can do immediately would be raise the age to purchase a gun because most violence with guns is actually committed by young men between the age of 18 and 21, or whatever. So, raise the age to 21 would be one that we can do right away.

ACOSTA: What do you think of that, Governor?

KASICH: And comprehensive background checks. That's another thing that should be done.

And, by the way, did the politicians who live in fear of the NRA, let me tell you, in 1994, I voted for assault weapons ban. My party -- there were some in my party that wanted to take my committee away, the Budget Committee. They lost that. I ran for reelection. I won. I ran for governor in 2010 and the NRA went after me from one part of Ohio to the other. And guess what? They lost that one too. So, the politicians who worry and shake about the thought that the NRA will come after them, you can win, you can beat them, do the right thing.

ACOSTA: All right. And that assault weapons ban, by the way, that you supported, it did have some effect. It had an impact.

All right, Governor Kasich and Kristen Powers, thank you very much.

Just ahead, we'll look into another key admission by police in Texas that a resource officer who was supposed to be protecting the school wasn't on campus when the shooter arrived.



ACOSTA: We're bringing down disturbing new revelations about mistakes made by police and other authorities in response to the school shooting in Texas. It turns out a key official was not on campus when the gunman arrived.

Brian Todd is looking into that. Brian, what can you tell us about the school resource officer? He should have been there. BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, as you mentioned, the Texas director of public safety says that resource officer was not even on campus when the first shots were fired on Tuesday.

Tonight, we're taking a deeper look at whether resource officers across the country are really effective at stopping shootings like this.


TODD (voice over): Among several disturbing accounts from a Texas law enforcement official regarding the response by officers to the Uvalde shooting, an admission that the resource officer for Robb Elementary School not only didn't engage the shooter, as was originally claimed.

MCCRAW: That officer was not on scene, not on campus, but had heard the 911 call with a man with a gun, drove immediately to the area, sped to what he thought was the man with a gun to the back of the school who turned out to be a teacher and not the suspect. In doing so, he drove right by the suspect who was hunkered down behind the vehicle where he began shooting at the school.

TODD: A misstep that analysts say could be attributed to the confusion in the first moments of any mass shooting.

But tonight, new attention is being focused on the roles of school resource officers, local police whose biggest jobs are to be on campuses of elementary, middle and high schools across America to protect students from shootings like this.

PROF. JAGDISH KHUBCHANDANI, PUBLIC HEALTH, NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY: There are no studies to show that they have been effective in preventing damage or minimizing the damage. And that's the sad part of it.

TODD: Professor Jagdish Khubchandani of New Mexico State University co-wrote a 2019 study on measures taken to prevent schools violence. He says, in many cases, training for these officers is inconsistent or outright insufficient. And often, he says, school officers are simply tasked to cover too much ground.

KHUBCHANDANI: They have to be in the exact same place, exact time, exact moment in front of the shooter to confront them and minimize the damage. But that does not happen. It's not effectively possible for the S.R. to be in front of a shooter every time a shooter comes in. And shooters do plan a lot, so they don't really want to confront people as well.

TODD: And in one infamous case, a resource officer was accused of hiding from a shooter. Parkland, Florida, February 2018, Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Peterson, resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was widely criticized for staying outside for 45 minutes and not going inside to confront a gunman who killed 17 people. Peterson denied the accusations, saying he thought the shots were coming from outside. The National Association of School Resource Officers acknowledges there were failures at Parkland but rejects the idea that the thousands of officers on school campuses don't make a difference.

MAC HARDY, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS: S.R.s do a make a difference. They stop acts all the time from becoming a disaster and a massacre, like occurred in Uvalde.


TODD (on camera): The Association of Resource Officers says it's pushing for better training of these officers and for those who assign them to assign officers who are a year away from retirement, not to assign officers who have had trouble with their patrols on the regular beat. Jim, they say that happens way too often with those guys replacing those schools.

ACOSTA: All right. Brian Todd, thank you very much, disturbing report.

Coming up, the manager of the San Francisco Giants now joining the growing wave of sports celebrities taking a stand on gun violence. We'll tell you how he is planning to protest, right after the break.



ACOSTA: Another member of the sports world is speaking out after the horrific massacres in Uvalde and Buffalo. San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler publicly decrying the state of the country saying, quote, I don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel better about the direction of our country. He explained on his blog, quote, every time I remove my hat and place my hand over my heart, I'm purpose pertaining in a self-congratulatory glorification of the only country where these mass shootings take place.

Joining us now to talk about is CNN contributor Bob Costas.

Bob, great to have you. What do you make of all of this. It's a powerful statement coming from the giants manager. He's not a player in this case, but a manager. I suppose that players may take his lead there.

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Gabe Kapler's background, Jim, is a liberal background and I say that with appreciation, not disparagingly. His parents were activists and participated in the march on Washington in 1963. He is a well read guy and his sensibilities would lead you not to be surprised that he feels this way.

The only distinction that I would put in there is that, yes, we are the only country that has these sorts of school shootings. Hundreds of them over the last two decades. Meanwhile, Canada, two, France, two, Germany, one. Japan, Italy, the UK, zero. So, he's right about. But many people who are aware of the nation's problems and injustice is in shortcomings, nonetheless stand proudly for the national anthem because they have other reasons for doing so, other reasons to feel proud of their country and to align themselves with its best ideals, if not always its best attempts to meet those ideals.


ACOSTA: Yeah. And, Bob, this comes after the warriors head coach, Steve Kerr, spoke out. He urged fans to contact lawmakers. The Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays use their Twitter accounts to put out information on gun violence. What does it say about -- and I know Steve Kerr is very vocal and we hear from him from time to time.


ACOSTA: But it does feels like in the sports world, maybe not in the political world, that we have reached a tipping point.

COSTAS: Yes. It is not the first time post George Floyd. Many people in the sports world were involved in. And in a different sense, post 9/11, they were involved.

But my takeaway is that this is, essentially, not a left-wing or right-wing situation. If it were not, for those who cling to an absolutist interpretation of the second amendment -- and you simply presented what our gun culture in this country's, and the idea that a kid on his 18th birthday can walk into a gun store, buy an AR-15, then the next day accumulate a whole artillery worth of ammunition, and then go back and buy a second AR-15 the day after that, on its face, absent the sweeping justification of the Second Amendment -- and this is what the founders would have wanted. On its face, that is insane.

And I think that when you remove the NRA and the gun fetishism from it and the Republicans, who are either nuts themselves or too cowardly to stand for principle over power, if you remove that, I think the vast majority of Americans of all political stripes are in favor of universal background checks and some sort of common sense gun safety measures. That has nothing to do with abrogating the second amendment or with gun confiscation's that's despite the fact that the extreme right wing tries to make it seem that way.

ACOSTA: I think these figures, obviously, could have an impact. They did after George Floyd. Colin Kaepernick gotten so much trouble for taking the stand that he did. We saw much of the rest of the sports world events we follow his lead.

Bob Costas, great wisdom as always, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

COSTAS: Thank you, Jim

ACOSTA: Just ahead, all 21 victims of the Texas school shooting have now been identified. New details on their lives and how their families are feeling the loss.



ACOSTA: We now know the names of all 21 people who were gunned down at Robb Elementary School in Texas.

Boris Sanchez is sharing their stories.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days after 21 innocent lives were taken --


SANCHEZ: -- we're learning more about the loved ones this small town is grieving.

DORA MENDOZA, GRANDMOTHER OF AMERIE JO GARZA: Don't forget them, please. Do something about it, I beg you.

SANCHEZ: Miranda Mathis was 11 years old. A friend of her mother's told "The Washington Post," Miranda was a fun, spunky, bright girl.

Ten-year-old Rogelio Torres, his aunt telling CNN affiliate KSET, he was a, quote, very intelligent, hardworking and helpful person. He'll be missed and never forgotten.

Maite Rodriguez, also 10 years old. Her mother Ana says Maite dreamed of becoming a marine biologist and wanted to attend college at Texas A&M. In a touching Facebook tribute, Ana calls her daughter, quote, sweet, charismatic, loving, caring, loyal, free, ambitious, funny, silly, goal driven, and her best friend.

Other victims' names have also been confirmed. Layla Salazar, 11 years old. Mekenna Lee Elrod, Alithia Ramirez, and Jayce Luevanos, all 10 years old.

And in a tragic twist, the husband of Irma Garcia, one of the murdered teachers, has also died. According to the archdiocese of San Antonio, Joe Garcia suffered a heart attack after news of his wife's death and passed away on Thursday. The couple had been married more than 24 years and were high school sweethearts.

EDUARDO MORALES, SACRED HEART UVALDE: They came to mass every Sunday.

SANCHEZ: Father Eduardo Morales of Sacred Heart Church in Uvalde knew the family well, and greeted Irma when she walked into service. He says the couple were a fixture in the community, and leave behind four children who privately consoled shortly after Joe's death.

MORALES: I told the community that in my own family when we have had a death, that it's church and prayer that has gotten us through all this. Not that it takes the pain away.

SANCHEZ: The Garcias among a list of names of lives cut too short. Eva Mireles, Amerie Garza, Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Jose Flores Jr., Lexi Rubio, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, Jacklyn Casarez, Tess Mata, Nevaeh Bravo, Ellie Garcia, Jailah Silguero, Elijah Torres, names that will forever be etched in the memories of those touched and affected by this horrible tragedy.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ, GRANDFATHER OF JOSE FLORES JR.: Jose Flores, show him to the state, the nation, show him to the world. I want everybody to know him. When he died, I died part with him.


ACOSTA: Our thanks to Boris Sanchez and our hearts go out all the family scarred by this horrific shooting. As the grandmother said in that piece, don't forget them, please.

I'm Jim Acosta, I will be back here tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.