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The Situation Room
Funeral Services Begin Amid Anger At Police Response To Massacre; Ukraine Says, Russia Striking With Maximum Intensity In East; Justice Department To Review Police Response To Texas School Shooting; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Husband Charged With DUI; Pro Athletes, Coaches Demand Change After Uvalde Shooting. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 30, 2022 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Also tonight, Ukraine says Russian shelling does not stop with the east being hit at maximum intensity only hours after President Zelenskyy's first tour of the frontlines since Vladimir Putin's invasion. This comes as President Biden is now ruling out giving Ukraine weapons that could fire into Russian territory.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Jim Acosta and this is a SITUATION ROOM SPECIAL REPORT.
And we begin this hour with a disturbing new audio recording that's adding to the outrage over the police response to the Texas school massacre. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is following all of the developments for us in Uvalde, Texas. Adrienne, what can you tell us?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): We're now getting our first glimpse at some of the information relayed to officers outside Robb Elementary School, as a massacre was unfolding on the inside. ABC News obtained a portion of video that appears to be audio from one 911 operator, relaying information from a child inside the classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a child on the line. Child is advising he is in the room full of victims.
BROADDUS: CNN has not been able to independently confirm the audio or at what point in the incident it was heard. On Friday, the Texas public safety director said there were at least eight 911 calls from two callers in the school pleading for help. Investigators now say 19 officers waited outside the classroom where the gunman was for about 50 minutes until a Customs and Border Patrol team decided to go in without direct orders. That's according to Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez.
STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): What's been made clear to me is that, at that point, the CBP team that went in, in frustration, said, we're going in. BROADDUS: The Justice Department now says it will review the law enforcement response, which Texas officials say deviated from active shooter protocols.
ALFRED GARZA, FATHER OF AMERIE JO GARZA: Had they gotten there sooner and somebody would have taken immediate action, we might have more of those children here today, including my daughter.
BROADDUS: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez said President Biden told him Robb Elementary School would possibly be razed and rebuilt. Gutierrez says there is a federal grant process for schools where there have been mass shootings.
GUTIERREZ: What kind of world are we living in that legislation was created for razing these schools?
BROADDUS: For too many Uvalde parents, those questions coming too late.
GARZA: No matter who is held responsible, it's not going to bring my daughter back.
BROADDUS: This is how those who loved ten-year-old Amerie Jo Garza will remember her, a decade of photos showing a happy girl with a sweet smile described by family as sassy, funny and a little diva who hated wearing dresses. Memories of happier times as her family, friends, and community say goodbye during visitation and a rosary service.
GARZA: It brings me joy to know that I got an opportunity to have such a great daughter and, you know, I tried to be the best father that I could be.
BROADDUS: Just down the road, another grieving family says goodbye to Maite Rodriguez, also ten years old.
DESTINY ESQUIVEL, MAITE'S COUSIN: I love her, that I miss her, that I'm proud of her. She wanted to be a marine biologist before she could even say the word. She loved animals.
BROADDUS: She had so much potential. That was Maite's cousin who spoke with us. And she also shared that Maite's classmates called her a hero. They said she was brave. When the shooting started, she told the other classmates where to hide and she helped them hide moments before the shooter entered the room. Jim?
ACOSTA: All right. Adrienne Broaddus, thank you very much for that report.
Let's get more on the Justice Department's investigation of the police response to the school shooting. We're joined by CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez. Evan, what are you learning about this investigation? EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this is an investigation that's going to be handled by some outside experts at the Justice Department is going to bring in. The mayor requested this. That was an important step for this, what's going to be an independent accounting of what happened that day.
The hope from the Justice Department folks is that this is going to provide some answers, perhaps some best practices, perhaps changes in police protocols, so that as we did with Columbine and some of the past shootings, police can learn some things, perhaps for the next one, because we know in this country, unfortunately, we keep having these incidents.
And what we expect is that these people are going to go to Uvalde. They're going to interview some of the first responders. Hundreds of people perhaps will be interviewed.
If they can, they'll talk to some of the survivors, family members, some of the people you saw outside of the school trying to urge police officers to go in.
At the end of all of this, the Justice Department is going to publish a report. That will probably take a few months. I'll read you just a part of what they say they're trying to accomplish here. They say the goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day and identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active shooter events. This is something, unfortunately, we know they have to prepare for because they keep happening around the country.
ACOSTA: Absolutely keep happening. And it's time to get something done about this. Evan Perez, thank you very much.
A lot to discuss now with our experts, Senior Law Enforcement Analyst Charles Ramsey, Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd, and Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. Gentlemen, thanks to all of you. We appreciate you coming on.
Phil, you hear that apparent dispatch audio. In the audio, you hear, quote, child is advising he is in the room full of victims. If officers knew that, is there any explanation for the delay in charging this gunman? I mean, what we were told late last week was they thought that this was just a barricaded person situation and that there weren't any folks still alive inside, or at least that was an impression they were going with at the time. This seems to negate that.
PHILLIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERROSIM ANALYST: I agree. I think I'm going to give you two answers, one as a citizen and one as a former professional. As a citizen, you look at this and say, there can be no explanation, end, stop. As a professional, thinking about the Department of Justice team going in there, reviewing video, reviewing the dispatch transcripts, talking to obviously the people involved, the officers, the witnesses, you have got to go in cold, answering the question of why.
Clearly, and the police have already said this, a mistake was made. Were there crossed lines of communication? Did everybody have different ideas of what was happening in that room? Did some of the officers say, I'm getting different information that suggests there are no students in that room? As a citizen, I want to say the officers are to blame. That is too fast to judgment.
As a professional, I want to go in and say, there's a problem with protocols that allow an officer not to storm that room. How do we change that protocol? And, Jim, the only way to do that is to go in, do the interviews, and do the report. And that's going to take a couple months.
ACOSTA: Yes. And, Chief Ramsey, it's unclear there was ever a command to breach the classroom. A Texas state senator said Border Patrol Agents made this call to go in out of frustration. How far is this from what officers are trained to do in this type of situation?
RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, one, I wish they had done it 15 minutes earlier. I mean, you know, the active shooter training, you don't wait to be ordered into a building. That's the whole point of it. When you arrive at the scene, you go in. You engage the suspect. You incapacitate him. You kill him. You do whatever you have to do to stop the killing, period. That's all. So, what they were doing for that hour and some odd minutes, I have absolutely no idea.
One question that I have was whether or not dispatch let them know what was going on and now that's been answered. But even if they had not told them what was going on, that's still no excuse not to go into that classroom. You have people that are shot, they're laying there, they're wounded. I'm certain that some of those kids probably bled to death. There is absolutely no excuse for not entering that classroom. The protocols are there. They just didn't follow them.
ACOSTA: Elie, as you heard, the Justice Department is going to investigate. How will this work and how can the Justice Department deliver some sense of justice to these families? I mean, I can't imagine, you know, looking at this after the fact that it's going to do a whole lot for them.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Jim. Well, DOJ, I'm sure, is keenly aware they can never undo what has been done. The best they can do is give us some answers. And it's entirely right and appropriate that DOJ do this investigation.
First of all, DOJ has resources and expertise far beyond what local and state law enforcement would have, all due respect, to state and local law enforcement. DOJ has the entire FBI, ATF, marshals, and they're bringing in outside experts. But even more importantly, DOJ has integrity, independence and credibility that I think local and state law enforcement officials in Texas have given away. They have given us statements that have been incorrect, inconsistent and not at all transparent. So, we need DOJ to go in there to give us answers in the way that the American public can believe and accept. ACOSTA: Right, because we didn't get straight answers last week. I mean, they were all contradicted by answers we got later on in the week.
Elie, do you see this resulting in charges potentially? Could it reach that level?
HONIG: Well, Jim, it's very, very rare to see police officers charged with crimes based on their emergency response. Really, the only situation we have seen where someone has been charged was in the Parkland, Florida, shooting, where a school security guard was charged with child endangerment and other crimes.
Now, that case is still pending. It hasn't even gone to trial yet except for trial this fall.
Now, Texas has some laws that are similar, not identical, but similar to the law in Florida. Texas has child neglect laws and child abandonment laws. But it's going to be tricky for prosecutors here. They're going to have to show that law enforcement under Texas law placed the children in danger. There's an argument as to what does that mean to place a child in danger. But it's going to turn on the very nuances of the facts and that's why every fact, every moment that DOJ is going to uncover will be critical here.
ACOSTA: Phil, do you expect this Department of Justice report to definitively tell us whether this delay cost victims their lives?
MUDD: No, I think the first --
ACOSTA: Well, I think it will give us a minute-by-minute, second-by second blow.
ACOSTA: Going to Phil on that one, Elie. Hang on.
MUDD: No, I'm sorry, I don't think so. I think the first responsibility of the report is to explain what we can do in the future. Let me give you one word, protocol. I'm going to judge that the officers involved in this are going to have some questions about whether they thought, as we have heard, the individual was barricaded. That is whether they thought this was a live shooter situation.
The primary thing I'm looking for the report, Jim, would be to tell to officers in the future in terms of protocol and training, if you have any doubt, if you suspect the individual is barricaded but you do not know, you don't have an option. If there's any doubt, move, move now, save a kid. That's what I would be looking for, Jim.
ACOSTA: And, Chief Ramsey, the Justice Department conducted similar reviews after the mass shootings in San Bernardino and at the Pulse Nightclub, but is the problem ultimately this easy access to these high-powered weapons? I mean, they just keep coming up, these AR-15 style rifles, time and again in so many cases. RAMSEY: Well, I mean, assault weapons can kill a lot of people in a very short period of time, but the solution is not as simple as just getting rid of assault weapons. I mean, I wish it were that simple but it's not. This is very complicated and a lot of things have to happen but there needs to be some action taken on the part of the government. It may not all be all inclusive, but they need to do something in order to get -- at least get started making a difference in trying to minimize the opportunity for people to go in and do this.
And just one last thing, Jim, you mentioned criminal charges. In my opinion, those officers have something far worse than dealing with criminal charges. They have to live with this. And to think that they stood by while those kids were in there dead and dying, that's a hell of a thing to have to live with. I'm sorry. And to me, that's probably the worst thing that they're going to have to face no matter what.
ACOSTA: Absolutely. All right, gentlemen, thanks to all of you for all those insights. We appreciate it.
Just ahead, President Biden holding out hope that, quote, rational Republicans could move the needle on gun reform. So, which Republicans might change their tune? That's next. This is a SITUATION ROOM SPECIAL REPORT.
ACOSTA: President Biden was met by chants of do something by a crowd in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday. He responded by saying, we will. Just some remarkable video there from the scene when the president was on the ground trying to comfort some of the victims' families there.
CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us live from the White House. Phil, that must have been just an intense moment for the president and the first lady. Have any Republicans said that they're open now to new gun control legislation, because that might potentially be a game changer?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, incredibly poignant and potentially powerful moment, but one that still leaves the question of will anything happen.
Jim, to your question, Republicans have made clear they're willing to come to the table, at least some Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, saying one of his point people, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, should get into negotiations with Democrats. Whether or not they will entertain any ideas and actually vote for them, that is still an unanswered question and that creates a problem for the White House and also helps explain why the president has been careful not to demand specific legislative items and ideas. He's also made clear he can't do anything without Republicans. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I know have to, but I -- there's the constitution. I can't dictate this stuff. I can do the things I have done, and any executive action I can take I'll continue to take, but I can't outlaw a weapon. I can't change the background checks. I can't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And, Jim, despite years of failures when it comes to gun restrictions, new gun laws, because of Republican opposition, the president is striking some tone of optimism, saying he believes there are some Republicans who realize, quote, the country just can't go on like this. Whether those Republicans actually come to the table and try to push something over the finish line, that remains to be seen.
One thing to keep an eye on, Senator John Cornyn, that Texas Republican, said a group of bipartisan senators will be meeting via Zoom tomorrow afternoon, the negotiations continuing. Jim?
ACOSTA: All right. It's been Lucy and the football so many times on this issue.
Phil, it's been a weekend of grief and reflection for President Biden ending in today's Memorial Day events. What did he say? What can you tell us about that?
MATTINGLY: Yes, it really has. Obviously, the president commemorating Memorial Day, having a private breakfast with gold star families, those who have lost their men and women in their service. He also traveled to Arlington National Cemetery, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, giving remarks, underscoring that both pain and pride that those families feel in this moment, and also taking a look at his own son, Beau Biden seven years ago today died.
Now Beau obviously served in the Delaware National Guard, died of brain cancer after he came home from Iraq.
The president actually saw Beau Biden's grave earlier today in Delaware. That's where he started his day before coming here to commemorate Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery and the White House, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right. Yes, Memorial Day is personal for this president. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
Just in, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to cap the market on guns in his country, announcing a new bill that would mean Canadians would no longer be able buy, sell, transfer or import handguns, quote, anywhere in Canada, a pretty remarkable development.
Let's bring in Congressman Colin Allred, a Democrat from Texas. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. What goes through your mind when you see Canada taking a step like this towards a handgun freeze? One thing that we have seen time and again, and we've been talking about this over the last several days, when other countries experience mass shootings, like the one we saw in Texas, they pass gun laws and they end up having an effect. What do you make of that and what took place in Canada?
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Yes. Well, I'm not familiar with the specifics of that law, but I am familiar with the way democracies are supposed to work. They're supposed to be responsive to the concerns of their constituents. And one of the top concerns for Americans of every stripe, particularly for parents -- you know I have got two kids, this last week has been so tough for parents, it's been an act of mass trauma around the country, everybody hugging their babies a little bit more tightly.
In a democracy, when you have a problem like that, you're supposed to respond with legislation that protects lives, that takes appropriate steps, consistent with your constitution or with your laws. We obviously have been unable to do that in this country.
But you're right in what you said earlier. It has been Lucy with the football with our Republican colleagues. After an event like what happened in Uvalde, they say they want to do anything but then they end up not actually helping us and joining us in trying to pass the legislation.
ACOSTA: Well, let me ask you about that, because Texas Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, is now involved in bipartisan talks on gun control and says he'll try to, quote, meet my colleagues across the aisle halfway. What does halfway look like in this Congress? I mean, they can't get anywhere on this issue, it seems, because we haven't seen gun control legislation passed in years.
ALLRED: Yes. Well, I don't want to say that it's not going to happen. I really don't, because I'm hopeful. Like every American, I'm hopeful that Senator Cornyn, that we can find ten Republican senators in the United States Senate who will join our Democratic senators trying to do something to save lives.
The House of Representatives will pass whatever they're able to get through the Senate. Even though it might not be everything that we want to do, we are more than willing to meet them halfway. But we have to have a partner. It takes two to tango. So, I really hope that Senator Cornyn, particularly after the rash of shootings that we've had in our state, here in Texas, that he is serious about this, and this is not just some attempt to allow the anger and the pain of this to dissipate until they no longer have to act.
ACOSTA: And your state of Texas has been loosening gun restrictions on a state level over the past several years. Do you have any hope that this massacre will prompt Texans to rethink the issue of gun control?
ALLRED: I don't have much hope in our statewide leadership. They immediately were on television in the hours after Uvalde's -- this crisis in Uvalde, they were immediately on television saying they weren't going to do anything to restrict guns. They were all going directly and using the same talking points around mental health as if they have done anything to expand mental health in this state. We haven't an expanded Medicaid. We have the highest uninsured rate in the country. In my opinion, they have done a lot to undermine our ability to treat mental health. But I don't have a lot of faith in our statewide elected leaders right now.
But I also, as I said earlier, I do have faith in Texans. I have faith in Americans. I have faith in our democracy. And when I was in the NFL, if we had a game and we lost that game, we reviewed the tape afterwards and we had accountability. We said, you have to fix that. And if you didn't fix it, then we found someone else who would. That's how our politics should work too. We've had a crisis, we've had terrible things happen. If we don't fix it, then let's get someone else in there who can.
ACOSTA: And this country is clearly on edge right now, Congressman. I want to show you this video, this scene of panic at the Barclay's Center in New York, and this was over a false alarm of a shooting over the weekend. But people inside thought it was the real thing and they were scrambling and running for cover. And it was frightening for the people who were there. What does it say that so many Americans fear that they could be next, that this could happen in their community?
ALLRED: Well, that's what I mean about this being -- these school shootings being acts of mass trauma. My kids are little. They're three and one. But their daycare has increased security this week because people were worried about a copycat event. A gun was found in a car at a high school in my district that had the school locked down, and had everybody panicking.
Americans are on edge. And they're on edge because they don't know if it's going to be their place of worship, a mall, a concert, their children's school. They don't know where it's going to happen but they know anyplace that people gather could be the next site of one of these mass shootings.
And it doesn't have to be this way. It does not have to be this way. Other countries don't experience this. We don't have higher levels of mental illness in the United States and I don't think we're inherently more violent. We have laws that have made it too easy to get access to these weapons and we have not done enough to keep them out of the hands of folks who shouldn't have them.
ACOSTA: And we had a rash of shootings over the weekend in a variety of cities across the country. As we were talking about Uvalde, other communities were dealing with this. There you see it on screen right now, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Chattanooga, Oklahoma, Henderson, Nevada, it just keeps happening and happening and happening. And we just don't do anything about it.
Congressman Allred, maybe this time will be different. Thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.
ALLRED: Thanks, Jim.
ACOSTA: Coming up, President Biden is now ruling out sending Ukraine weapons that could strike inside Russia. Will that make a difference in who wins this war?
ACOSTA: Tonight, we're getting new reports of fierce fighting in Eastern Ukraine as Russian forces are trying to break through Ukrainian defense positions.
CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance joins us live from Kyiv. Matthew, Ukraine says Russia is attacking with maximum intensity. Give us the latest.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, maximum intensity in that northeastern corner of the country around the city of Severodonetsk, which is really the last, the most eastern most holdout of Ukrainian forces in the country, fierce fighting in the streets taking place in that city as Russian forces make slow but significant progress to take hold of that area.
There's fighting elsewhere as well in the region, particularly in the southeast of the country, where Ukrainian forces say they have launched a counterattack against the Russians to try and push them back out of territory they captured some weeks, some months ago. They say they have had some success in that, killing dozens of Russian troops and destroying several Russian armored vehicles as well.
The way to stop the fighting or at least to turn the tide in the northeast where Russia is making these gains, the Ukrainians say, is for the United States to step up and to provide long-range artillery systems that the Ukrainians say they need to hit back at the long- range attacks they're coming under from Russia, but, of course, President Biden earlier today saying that he would not provide Ukraine with weapons that were capable of hitting Russia. Not ruling out completely, but, you know, at the moment, it looks like the Americans are holding back from that long-range deployment.
ACOSTA: He certainly sounds cold on that idea.
Matthew, there's growing speculation around Vladimir Putin's health. Interesting that the Kremlin weighed in on this. What did the Kremlin have to say about this today?
CHANCE: Yes. I mean, Jim, there's been a lot of speculation about Vladimir Putin's health for the past several weeks, even months, when he was seen sort of gripping a desk when he was in a meeting with the defense minister, looking very uncomfortable. And there's been all sorts of speculation about what could be wrong with him, particularly amongst the critics of the Kremlin, who are perhaps, a certain amount of wishful thinking, that he could be subject to some sort of grave illness that would sort of end the problem of Russia, as it were.
Look, I mean, the Russian Foreign Ministry today has stepped in, the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, saying, that, look, basically restating this idea there's nothing wrong with Vladimir Putin, saying people, to paraphrase Sergey Lavrov, there's nothing wrong with him, he appears on television all the time. And I have to say, despite all this circling rumor about his health, there's not very much substantial in these suggestions at there's something gravely wrong with the Russian president. But I expect we'll see.
ACOSTA: Possibly a lot of wishful thinking, I guess. All right, Matthew Chance, thank you very much. We appreciate that.
Joining me now is the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor. Ambassador Taylor, thanks so much.
How hard is it for the Ukrainians to fight back in the Eastern Donbas region amid this brutal bombardment? It just doesn't seem to let up.
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Jim, you're exactly right. The Russians now can use their artillery and that's what they have been doing. They have been bombarding cities. And Matthew mentioned Severodonetsk. They have just been bombed mercilessly with long range artillery, even with other kinds of thermobaric bombs, which will push the Ukrainian soldiers out of their bunkers. So, they're using just brutal -- the Russians are using brutal tactics. And after they have bombarded these cities, then they can gradually move forward. So, that's what's happening.
But Matthew is also right when the Russians are concentrating so hard around Severodonetsk, that means they have to leave other parts of the front less defended. And so the Ukrainians are pushing back, are counterattacking in the south. They're counterattacking in the north. So, there is a real battle going on. But there's no doubt that the Russians are moving forward. It's a grim time for the Ukrainians.
ACOSTA: And having said that, President Biden is weighing sending a rocket system to Ukraine but potentially holding back on the longer range weapons that could hit inside Russia.
Help us sort that out, Ambassador. Why would the president be saying that? What factors are at play when Ukraine says its fate rested on having these weapons?
TAYLOR: Jim, the Ukrainians have been urging the Americans and other NATO allies to provide this MLRS, multiple launch rocket systems. Now, these MLRS systems can fire some projectiles long distances, 300 miles. Others, other of the same system can shoot missiles 28 miles.
My understanding is that the United States has decided, the government has decided, the administration has decided to provide MLRS to the Ukrainians in the short-range version, short-range version, 28 miles. That's still going to give the Ukrainians what they need in terms of going after the artillery that the Russians are using in the east.
What the Ukrainians are not getting, apparently, are the 300-mile version of the MLRS. And those, of course, the 300-mile version would go well into Russia. The Ukrainians don't need that. The Ukrainians are not interested in attacking Russia. The Ukrainians are interested in MLRS because of the volume of fire that it brings on the Russian troops and Russian artillery in their country, in Ukraine. So, the Ukrainians are going to get what they need. ACOSTA: Got it. And as the former ambassador to Ukraine, what do you make of these comments coming from the Russian foreign minister? Pretty interesting, swatting down rumors about Vladimir Putin's health. You know, we can't put much stock in anything the Kremlin says, but what do you make of that?
TAYLOR: That they have to deny it tells us something. But you're exactly right, Jim. You cannot believe or put any faith in what Minister Lavrov says, or President Putin, for that matter. We remember that they swore to us that they weren't going to invade Ukraine. They mocked people that were suggesting that that was going to happen, and, of course, they invaded Ukraine.
ACOSTA: All right. Former Ambassador Bill Taylor, I suspect we will not be shying away from that subject in the future. I suspect it will be coming back. Ambassador, good to talk to you, we appreciate it.
TAYLOR: Good to talk to you, Jim.
ACOSTA: All right, good to talk to you.
Just ahead, the school district police chief who decided not to immediately confront the Texas gunman, we're taking a look at his record and new fallout he's facing nearly a week after the massacre.
ACOSTA: We're getting new information about a key figure in the delayed police response to the Texas school shooting. The chief of the police department for the Uvalde school district reportedly will not be sworn in tomorrow as a member of the city council as originally planned. That's according to CNN-affiliate KSAT.
CNN's Nick Watt has more on Chief Pete Arredondo and the fallout he's facing.
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I do believe that this is absolutely one of the worst police failures in modern U.S. History. Those defenseless children in those classrooms had nothing. They were relying on the police.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): But the police were waiting outside the classrooms, treating this not as an active shooter but as a barricaded suspect situation.
COL. STEVEN MCCRAW, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: For the benefit of hindsight, where I'm sitting now, of course, it was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There's no excuse for that.
WATT: So, the killer was inside a school filled with children for over an hour before he was stopped dead and not before he murdered Alfred Garza's daughter, Amerie Jo.
GARZA: They needed to act immediately. There's kids involved. You know, there's a gun involved.
WATT: Officials say this man made the decision not to go in. Chief Pedro Pete Arredondo of the Uvalde School District P.D.
CHIEF PEDRO PETE ARREDONDO, UVALDE SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE DEPARTMENT: Safety measures were taken to make sure that we had a safe release for the rest of the district throughout our city of Uvalde.
WATT: A pair of brief appearances in the hours after the slaughter, and Chief Arredondo hasn't been seen by the press since.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): As far as his employment status is concerned, that's something that is beyond my control and I have no knowledge about.
WATT: Could lives have been saved, fewer kids shot, injured kids treated earlier and survived, that remains unclear. There was an initial burst of fire then a lull during which kids inside called 911, pleading for help, then more shots seemingly directed at a door.
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: We could have saved some of those kids. That's what I believe. You go in.
WATT: A 50-year-old Uvalde native, Arredondo was approved as chief by the school board in 2020. At the time, the super said they were impressed by his experience, knowledge and community involvement, with, they said, 27 years in law enforcement, at another school district in Laredo, Texas, and here in the city of Uvalde Police Department. In March, Arredondo posted about active shooter training at the Uvalde high school.
MCCRAW: The doctrine requires officers, every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where those rounds are being fired at and keep shooting until the subject is dead, period.
WATT: So, Arredondo's decision went against established active shooter doctrine and we're told against the facts on the ground.
MCCRAW: From what we know, and we believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can.
WATT (on camera): And, Jim, you mentioned that Chief Arredondo was elected earlier in May to the city council in Uvalde. KSAT of San Antonio reports that the special session, the swearing-in session will not take place tomorrow, the mayor saying that the focus is going to be on the family.
Now, KSAT Reporter Dylan Collier also tweeted a statement from the mayor that reads in part, Pete Arredondo was duly-elected to the city council.
There is nothing in the city charter, election code or Texas constitution that prohibits him from taking the oath of office. To our knowledge, we are currently not aware of any investigation of Mr. Arradondo -- Jim.
ACOSTA: And you've got to wonder whether he's rethinking whether he should be serving the community in that capacity.
All right. Nick Watt, thank you very much.
Coming up, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband arrested over the weekend in Napa Valley. New details about what happened, next.
Stay with us.
ACOSTA: Turning now to Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't saying much about the news of her husband's DUI arrest in Napa Valley broke over the weekend.
CNN's Jessica Dean joins us live from the Capitol Hill with more details.
Jessica, what let up to Paul Pelosi's arrest?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning some new details. This happened apparently late Saturday night in Napa Valley, California. And we are told by Napa Valley County officials, or Napa County officials that Mr. Pelosi was attempting to cross a Napa county highway, and that's where another car struck his car. They were no injuries. And the driver of the other car was not charged.
But he, Mr. Pelosi, was supposedly charged with driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher. He was arrested, were told he was released on a $5,000 bail early Sunday morning.
As for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her spokesperson said that you will not be commenting on what they call a personal matter, and also pointed out, Speaker Pelosi was not with her husband at the time, rather she was on the East Coast. Jim, we know that she was giving a commencement address at Brown University over the weekend. The two have been married since 1963 -- Jim.
ACOSTA: Jessica Dean, thank you very much.
Turning back to the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, causing an avalanche of calls for change from community leaders and politicians, now athletes and coaches are even picking up.
CNN's Brian Todd joins us now.
Brian, how are the athletes using their celebrity status to demand change?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, they're using the notoriety, the power of their community, and their access to the media to call for change.
And in the case of one NBA coach, drawn from very powerful, personal, painful experience.
STEVE KERR, HEAD COACH, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: Since we left shoot- around, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here.
TODD (voice-over): Steve Kerr set the tune, just hours after 19 children and two teachers were murdered in Uvalde, Texas. The Golden State warriors coach who had a crucial playoff game that night wasn't about to talk basketball.
KERR: 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 -- I'm sorry, I'm tired of those moments of silence. Enough!
TODD: Late last week, San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler decided to take his own personal stand against gun violence, regarding a pregame tradition.
GABE KAPLER, MANAGER, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: I don't plan on coming out for the anthem going forward until I feel like there's -- I'd feel better about the direction of our country.
TODD: Kapler said on his blog, quote, every time I placed my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I'm participating in a self- congratulatory glorification of the only country where these mass shootings take place.
Kapler did stand for the national anthem out of his team's game today, because OF Memorial Day.
The New York Yankees, a team so mindful of tradition, that don't allow its players to have beers, have taken their own action. Last Thursday, while their teams competed against each other on the field, the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays organizations used their social media accounts to pose messages and facts about gun violence in the U.S.
The NBA's Miami heat, in the midst of an intense playoff run, urged fans to contact their lawmakers about gun law reform.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: At their heart, they are members of the community -- athletes, and coaches, managers are members of the community. And of their community is hurting, those are their fans. Those are the people who watch and cheer for them.
TODD: In Steve Kerr's case, it gets personal.
KERR: I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, a mother, father, sister, brother, how would you feel it this happened to you today? We can't get numb to this.
TODD: Kerr does know the feeling. His father, Malcolm, president of the American University of Beirut, was assassinated by gunmen in 1984, when Steve Kerr was a freshman in college. Even as a moment as unique as this, can sports figures make any difference in the gun debate?
BRENNAN: In fact, it gives us a little nudge, maybe that can help. But I don't think any of us is a Pollyanna here and assuming that just because a few athletes, coaches, managers voices are heard, that teams are doing things on social media, that that by itself is going to change things.
TODD (on camera): But, Christine Brennan says sports figures can make a difference, if they take further steps, if they go to legislatures, if they appear in PSAs on TV, if they speak in schools. A challenge, for them, she says, is to stay focused on the issue beyond the days immediately after mass shootings.
Jim, we'll see what comes in the months ahead with these sports figures.
ACOSTA: Important story. Brian Todd, thank you very much. And we'll have more news, just ahead.
ACOSTA: Finally tonight, we join President Biden and all Americans in saluting the fallen members of the nation's armed forces. On this Memorial Day, the president made the traditional visit to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Freedom has never been free. Democracies always required champions. And today, in the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are on the frontlines fighting to save their nation. But their fight is part of a larger fight that unites all people. It's a fight that so many of the patriots whose eternal rest is here in these hallowed grounds were part of. A battle between democracy and autocracy, between liberty and repression, between appetites and ambition of a few, who forever seek to dominate the lives and liberties of many.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Tonight, we're thinking of all who gave their lives or lost a loved one in the fight for freedom, to thank them for their sacrifice and their service.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.