tv CNN Newsroom Live CNN May 25, 2022 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the united states and all around the world. you're watching "cnn newsroom," and i'm rosemary church. we begin with the tragedy in a small texas community and an entire country in mourning. the investigation into tuesday's deadly school shooting is raising new questions about why it happened, why it keeps happening in the u.s., and how law enforcement responded. ♪
>> residents of uvalde, texas, are holding vigils for the 19 children and two teachers gunned down inside robb elementary school by an 18-year-old high school dropout. and people are leaving flowers and balloons at a makeshift memorial outside the school in the largely latino community not far from the border with mexico. and we are learning the names of some of the victims, mostly 9 and 10-year-old children. the justice of the peace in uvalde says some of the bodies are being released to funeral homes as families make their arrangements. more now on the investigation from cnn's jason carol. >> reporter: 11:21 a.m., the time stamp from a text message the gunman sent saying he's just shot his grandmother. >> 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. >> reporter: soon after that text message to a girl ramos met online, another one saying he was going to shoot-up an elementary school. his grandmother fighting for her life contacted police. after leaving his grandmother's home the gunman crashed her truck in a ditch. 11:30 a.m. authorities say a 911 call came in reporting the crash and a man leaving the vehicle walking toward the school with body armor and a long rifle. >> he went towards the west side of the campus, which is a back door. the subject was able to make it into the -- into the school as the governor reported. he went down to hallway, turned right and turned left to two classrooms that were adjoining, and that's where the carnage
began. >> reporter: then roughly an hour goes by. >> border patrol consolidated isd officers, police, sheriffs and dps officers converged on that classroom. and a border patrol officer killed the gunman. >> reporter: it's around 1:00 p.m. when the gunman is shot and killed. at least 19 children and two adults killed only two days before the end of the school year. families throughout the community heartbroken, directly impacting even the officials responding to the scene. >> 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. >> reporter: jason carol, cnn, uvalde, texas. >> joining us now from uvalde in
texas is cnn's chris winn. so a candlelight vigil was held in uvalde wednesday night. how is the community coping with this immense loss? >> reporter: rosemary, this is a close-knit community all trying to process their collective grief. the town is roughly 90 minutes west of san antonio population about 16,000 people. so it is not a stretch to say that people likely knew someone who was directly impacted by this unthinkable tragedy. you talked about that candlelight vigil. in addition we've seen many people stop by the school throughout the day to pay their respects to the fallen, leaving behind flowers, balloons and stuffed animals behind me here in front of the school. some residents not wanting to be
alone as they try to process the pain. rosemary? >> and chris, members of the community are also stepping up to help families of the victims. what can you share about those efforts? >> reporter: well, as the community tries to move forward, some of the funeral homes in the area have already agreed to pay for all of the funeral costs for the victims in this tragedy. a blood drive was held yesterday, and we also learned that a memorial fund has been setup to help support the victims' families. rosemary? >> all right, chris, many thanks for joining us there. appreciate it. well, joining me now is cheryl dorsey, a retired los angeles police sergeant and author of the book "black and blue creation of a social advocate." thank you so much for being with
us. >> thank you. >> there are of course still many unanswered questions. one of them is how law enforcement responded in the initial stages here with some suggestions that if the gunman had been stopped from entering the school lives would have been saved. what do you say to that? >> well, i mean, that's certainly a possibility. we can't blame law enforcement for the fact that this person was able to gain access to the school site and ultimately a classroom. this is a small police department. i've heard reported there are only about six officers on this agency. so what would you have them do, and how do you prepare for the unthinkable, something that no one would fathom could happen on an elementary school campus? and so now that we're here rather than possibly point fingers and blame others let's think about what we need to do going forward substantively to make sure this never happens again. >> that is a very good point. and of course the biggest
unanswered question is the motive, why an 18-year-old would do the unthinkable and kill all these children and their teachers. what could the possible motive be here, do you think? >> it's hard for me to get in the mind of anyone who would take the lives of 10-year-olds while they're in the classroom. and so, you know, what i would like to know is what role if any does the family play? this is an 18-year-old alleged dropout from high school, no doubt incorrigible, certainly problems in the home. i've got four sons and you can't conduct yourself and have the kind of weaponry in my home without me knowing it. so what were those red flags that the family knew about, the problems and the angst he had with his grandmother that would cause him to shoot her in her face? certainly someone should have
seen something, said something to help prevent him from being able to possess these weapons in the first place. >> and the other big issue is what needs to be done to stop these school shootings from happening again in this country. a country that stands very divided on the issue of gun control. what is your view on this? what needs to be the first step here? because it's hard to think a country is in a position certainly with the way conservatives stand on this issue to put universal background checks in place. so what would be a first step here do you think? >> well, i think it would be helpful if maybe in these background checks we can add just one more step. it's time to be inconvenienced, if you will. don't make it so easy for someone to purchase a weapon. i think there should be a place where someone can gather information about possible red flags, family members who may have a concern that doesn't rise to the level of criminality but would cause a background
investigator in the midst of a gun application to have a conversation with this person, not be so ready to relinquish a handgun to them. and so i think that might be a good place to start. and listen, we don't want to turn our schools into prisons, but i say lock them down. no one should be able to roam freely on a school campus for an hour as it's reported in this case without being detected and questioned. so lock the campuses down, lock the classrooms down and let's try to think about what to do after that. but certainly you can't enter a classroom, you can't barricade yourself and try to kill the children contained within. >> and we do know this gunman had taken some pictures of his weapons. he'd put them on instagram. what would you say to people watching certainly here in the united states where there is this problem with guns?
what should people be doing when they see those sorts of signals out on various social media platforms? >> well, there's certain liberties people don't want to give up. and listen, i don't want to put the onus on social media and those who partake in that because you don't number one if the person on social media is even using their real name. you may not know where they are. this isn't the first time i've seen an instance where a person has reported realtime what they were about to do and ended in the fatality of a family member. so while social media has a role to play in this, i don't think it start with them. i think it starts in the home, starts with parents. i think we need to be more involved in what our children are doing and more importantly what are they bringing and possessing in our homes? >> very important point. thank you so much for joining us. we appreciate it. >> thank you. well, gun control legislation is stalled in the u.s. congress, and that's not likely to change anytime soon.
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we don't have more mental illness than any other nation in the world. there's no evidence that there are more mentally ill people here than in europe. the difference is when people have homicidal thoughts in the united states of america they can walk down the street to a wal-mart and get a assault weapon easier than they can buy a cat or a dog. >> democratic senator chris murphy there railing at the lack of restrictions on gun sales here in the united states. fellow democrats like texas candidate governor beto o'rourke shared that sense of frustration. he interrupted texas republicans divergent a news conference on wednesday and they reacted with outrage. watch their exchange. >> you're doing nothing. you're offering up nothing. you said this was not predictable. this is totally predictable.
>> sir, you are out of line. >> this is not the place to do that. >> well, back in washington republican senators insisted background checks wouldn't have prevented the tragedy in texas nor would a ban on ar-style rifles according to them. take a listen. >> why are semiautomatic rifles necessary? >> if people want to talk about banning specific guns they should propose that, but it wouldn't prevent these shootings. >> a weapon like that would -- >> they could commit the crime with a different weapon. it performs exactly the same just wouldn't fit the definition in the law but it wouldn't prevent these crime. >> why do people need an ar-15? >> i think we have in our
constitution the, you know, our second amendment rights and i'm not interested in taking away rights from law-abiding citizens. >> well, i want to bring in cnn senior political analyst ron brownstein who's a senior editor at the atlantic. ron, thank you so much for joining us for this critical discussion. of course political differences on the gun issue run very deep in this country and in the u.s. congress. but there are some lone voices calling for change within the republican party. adam kinzinger is one of them so let's listen to what he's saying about gun control. bring that up. >> when you look at particularly this shooting, the shooting before it, there's this epidemic of young men between the age of 18 and 21 that are doing these kind of things. i think one of the easiest things we can do to begin to do something is to say you've got
to be 21 to buy a rifle in this country. >> ron, let's look at that specifically, that suggestion from kinzinger, preventing 18 to 21-year-old men from purchasing rifles in this country, they tend to be the ones who do these shootings. it's not much to make a change like that, but it is a start. could that get possible bipartisan support as a first step? or is there just too much division for even that small step to be taken? >> well, first of all as you say it's a pretty small step against the magnitude of what we've been dealing with for many years now in the u.s. and i'm skeptical even that could get much traction in the republican party because of the success of the nra after portraying any step as the first on a slippery slope. public opinion is on the question whether controlling
guns would really solve the problem of these mass shootings, but it is very unified that nonetheless it wants to take a lot of the steps that gun control advocates support. up to 90% in polls, rosemary, support the universal background checks. over 60% consistently support the assault weapon ban and ban on high capacity magazines. by the way, a majority of republicans who don't own guns agree with all those positions according to polling last year from the pew research center. the only group in society that opposes steps like this are republicans who also own guns, and yet they have a complete stranglehold on the elected officials in the gop at this point. >> yeah, you touched on some measures there. let's just go through them. so universal background checks, more workable red flag laws, a ban on assault weapons preventing the mentally ill from having access to guns. do you ever see a time in this country when most politicians
will eventually say enough is enough and find a way to prevent these mass school shootings from happening by putting gun control measures in place, or is the u.s. too divided on the issue to ever get to that point? >> i think the u.s. is too divided to ever get to that point, but that doesn't mean it can never act. i've been covering the politics of gun control since the late 1980s in the u.s. and they have transformed. it's hard to imagine today, but when they passed the brady bill establishing the background check system for buying guns 54 house republicans voted for it. when they passed the ban on assault weapons in 1994, 38 house republicans voted for it. lots of rural democrats voted against it. here we are almost 30 years later and the political sorting that has happened in the u.s. has made the republican party more dependent than ever on rural small town communities and
the most culturally conservative white voters who equate any pragmatic steps toward controlling access to guns as disrespecting their way of life and their values. and that's why -- and if you look at the states where gun ownership is highest, where that gun culture is deepest, they tend to be smaller, rural preponderately white states that are now dominated by republicans. and what that means is i think as i wrote today on the atlantic that as long as you have the filibuster you cannot translate this majority support for a whole series of measures into, you know, passable legislation. this really is -- it's not the only example, climate, abortion, immigration also have the same dynams but it may be the most powerful and pointed example how we are having an ongoing crisis of majority rule in the u.s. where majority opinion is being stymied by the structures in our system that allow a minority of smaller states that simply are not in the main stream of how america is changing in the 21st
century to have a veto over national policy. >> you know, i do want to focus, too, on some of the things said by the conservatives in defense of not doing anything. senator rubio saying banning assault weapons wouldn't have stopped this crime. i mean, that's just ridiculous. i mean, if he's suggesting that a knife, another weapon or a gun as opposed to an assault weapon would have done the same, resulted in the same way, that's just a ridiculous thing for a politician to say, isn't it? >> well, he's not even trying to make a serious argument. he is basically -- you know, it's verdict first -- sentence first, verdict afterwards as they said in "alice in wonderland." he knows because of his constituency he has to get to a position of opposing any action, and he's kind of grasping for any argument that would allow him to do that.
i mean the fallacy in all of this is that the steps conservatives say would solve the problem do not preclude you from taking the steps that democrats say would solve the problem. there's no reason why you can't have more armed guards in school, more mental health treatment and also have more red flag laws and a ban on assault weapons. you can make this as hard as possible for someone to achieve if that's the word or to desecrate this level of violence in a society. you can do anything, and even then you may not stop every person who's determined to, you know, erect this level of carnage on their community but you would make it harder for them. and there really is no reason -- well, it's a mental health problem or a gun problem. obviously it's both and obviously you can do both if you're willing to do so, but the republican party has been pushed into a corner by its own constituents and by the organized power of the nra that
any action is as i say a step on a slippery slope towards confiscation and a sign of disrespect culturally for their voters, when in fact a majority of republicans who don't own guns also support most of the things we're talking about. >> and just very quickly, ron, one of the victims the parkland shooting suggested that president biden sign an executive order on some or all of these gun control measures. is that viable or too politically dangerous with the mid-terms on the horizon? >> i don't even think -- i think that's not the right frame. with this supreme court, the republican appointed majority in the supreme court is about to hand down a ruling that will roll back restrictions on gun ownership and carrying in blue states. there's no chance that this republican supreme court would allow him to exercise that kind of unilateral power. i mean the fact is in the places that the kind of voters and the kind of places that are open to
democrats that have not moved kind of behind the fox curtain in our polarized and separating society would be responsive to more aggressive actions from democrats. they don't have the votes to do it in the senate. and by the way, this is another reason along with voting, along with abortion why i believe that joe manchin and kirsten sinema will be the last two democratic senators ever who oppose ending the filibuster to pass these kind of measures. the problem is they lose unified control this fall in 2022 our history for the last 40 years may take as long as another decade to get it back and do another kind of chance to do the things the filibuster is preventing them from doing today. >> the rest of the world watches on in horror as this country stands divided on this issue and so many. ron brownstein, thank you so much for joining us. appreciate it. >> thank you. and still to come, we remember the victims whose lives were cut far too short in uvalde, texas.
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irma garcia was one of the two teachers shot dead at robb elementary school in uvalde, texas, on tuesday. a wife and mother to four children she's described as sweet, kind, loving and fun. garcia's nephew told "the washington post" that irma died shielding her students from gunfire. her life and the lives of 20 others were senselessly cut short by a teenager with a gun. 19 of the victims were children, third and fourth graders. annabelle guadeloupe rodriguez was just 10 years old and was in the same classroom who was also shot and killed. the name of her cousin has not been released just yet.
her family telling cnn, quote, our baby gained her wings. 9-year-old eliana garcia was the second eldest of five sisters-her grandparents say she loved cheer leading and basketball and dreamed of becoming a teacher. 10-year-old nevaeh bravo also among the victims. the 10-year-old was saving up money so her whole family could go to disney world. all innocent victims, all gone far too soon. cnn's lucy kavanaugh has more on those tragically killed in tuesday's shooting. >> reporter: there are the faces of the future lost to a nation's
violent present. jose flores jr. a fourth grader full of energy, his father said ready to play. uziyah garcia. lexi rubio's family overcome as they recall her sweetness and to plea her life has impact. lexy is one of 19-year-old that were all gunned down in a fourth grade classroom whose parents held onto hope that they'd hold their children once again. amerie jo garza's family, angel, wrote on facebook it's been seven hours and i still haven't heard anything on my love. please, help me find my daughter. this morning the heart breaking update. she's been found. high little love is now flying high with the angels above, garza wrote. please don't take a second for
dpranted. hug your family, tell them you love them. i love you, amerie jo. 10-year-old lopez had a smile his mother will never forget. >> looking through pictures you can tell by their angelic smile that they were loved, that they loved coming to school and they were just precious individuals. >> reporter: the community also mourning two teachers. eva mireles, 44 years old loved running, biking and being with her family. undoubtedly her family says she died protecting others. >> she was a vivacious soul. she spread laughter and joy everywhere she went. >> these two teachers i would say are the cornerstone of that campus to some great degree. they're two beautiful souls. >> reporter: mireles' daughter writing an open letter to her
mother. i'm so happy people know your name and that they know what a hero looks like. i want to thank you, mom, for being such an inspiration to me. i will forever be proud to be your daughter. my sweet mommy, i will see you again. thursday was supposed to be the last day of school, but the families in our story are now planning funerals instead of summer vacations. others are anxiously awaiting news about her injured loved ones. we're outside the university hospital here in san antonio where four patients were airlifted on tuesday evening, three little girls and one 66-year-old woman who is the shooter's grandmother. authorities say he shot her in the face before fleeing, heading towards that school. we know that two of the girls, the 9 and 10-year-old are listed in good condition or at least were on wednesday afternoon. the 66-year-old and another 10-year-old were admitted in critical condition, downgraded to serious but still fighting for their lives.
lucy kafanov, cnn, san antonio, texas. >> as lucy just mentioned amerie jogarza was among those killed. his father told anderson cooper the devastating way he learned his little girl was never coming home. take a listen. >> when i arrived on the scene they saw kids inside, they started bringing the kids out. and i was aiding assistance. one little girl was just covered in blood head to toe. i thought she was injured. i asked her what was wrong and she said she was okay. she was hysterical saying they shot her best friend, they killed her best friend, she's not breathing and she was trying to call the cops. and i asked the little girl the name and she -- and she told me -- and she said amerie.
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well, sources tell cnn a former white house staffer testified to the january 6th committee that then-president donald trump suggested he approved when rioters who stormed the capitol chanted "hang mike pence." >> an aid to former white house chief of staff mark meadows also testified that trump complained about pence being rushed to safety while the president's supporters breached the capitol. in other developments republican lawmaker jim jordan is questioning the constitutionality of a subpoena issued to him by the house select committee. in a new letter obtained by cnn he's also demanding the committee provide him with all the materials it plans on using to question him ahead of any
deposition. and with just two weeks to go until the committee holds its first public hearings, a three-judge panel says the lawmakers will have to wait to get documents from the republican national committee. house investigators are looking into how the rnc used the uproar over the election dispute for its fund-raising. oklahoma's governor signed into law one of america's strictest abortion bans on wednesday. the new law bans abortions from the fertilization stage with exceptions for medical emergencies, rape, sexual assault and incest. republican governor kevin stet says, quote, from the moment life begins at conception is when we have a responsibility as human beings to do everything we can to protect that baby's life. the law is a clear rebuke of the landmark roe v. wade case, and
abortion rights advocates are vowing to mount a legal challenge to it. ukraine is now slamming russia for making it easier for ukrainians in some occupied regions to obtain russian citizenship. on wednesday russian president vladimir putin signed a decree streamlining the process for issuing passports. he was also seen in video released by the kremlin making a rare visit to a military hospital. mr. putin wearing a medical gown spoke with soldiers wounded in ukraine, this as the fighting on the ground grinds on. ukraine reports an intense offensive by russian forces in eastern ukraine as they attempt to seize the key town in the donetsk region. there's been fierce battles with
one military official saying shelling has increased exponentially. and in the kharkiv region officials say two people were killed and seven injured by russian shelling in the town on the front lines. and cnn's clare sebastian following developments and joins us live from london. so, claire, let's start with food security because russia is attempting saying it will unblock ukrainian sea ports if some sanctions against it are lifted, which clearly won't happen. so what are the consequences if russia doesn't lift its blockage of ukrainian crop exports? >> reporter: rosemary i think it's a potential global catastrophe. the ukrainian foreign minister said the prospeck was a multiyear food crisis if these ports are not unblocked because it would disrupt the whole agricultural cycle, not only the
current facilities filled with grain that can't be exported. the head of the world food program has said 49 million people in 43 countries are already on the brink of famine. this could tip some of them over the edge. they've warned we're already seeing food price related riots in a number of countries. all of that could intensify, and there is an international effort under way to try to find a solution to export those grains, unblock the black sea ports for which most of the grain wa traditionally exported, but russia does not seem to be incentivized here to help. one, cnn has uncovered evidence russia has been stealing some grain and trying to export it for some grain. and secondly russia is an exporter of grain and it's benefitting from the higher prices caused by this disruption and the fact its wheat is more in demand because of the
blockade on ukrainian wheat. and the other consequence is if there was any room for negotiation before we saw this unfolding food crisis, this has made it even more remote, frankly. russia's foreign minister -- deputy foreign minister said on wednesday the food issue demanded a complex approach. linked to the restrictions of financial exports and transactions that of course what has angered the ukrainian side. and this won't lead to a lifting of sanctions but rather an intensifying especially on the european side. >> claire sebastian joining us live from london, many thanks on that. we've been reporting for months about parties at number ten in violation of britain's strict covid lock downs. but the latest official inquiry makes downing street sound like a drunken frat house. the report by senior civil servant sue gray found numerous
instances of excessive drinking, brawls and mistreatment of cleaning and security staff. and e-mails of number ten staffers gloating about getting away with it. despite the report's damning findings mr. johnson says he's not quitting. >> i overwhelmingly feel it's my job to get on and deliver. and no matter how bitter and painful the conclusions of this may be -- and they are -- and no matter how humbling they are, i've got to keep moving forward. >> in the wake of the report the most recent british polling shows 65% of britains think the prime minister should resign. still to come, leaders around the world are reaching out as the u.s. grieves following a school shooting. their words of support when we return.
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well, leaders around the world are sharing their condolences and sending best wishes to those affected by the texas shooting. cnn's randy kaye has our report. >> reporter: in the midst of a war ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy took time to offer his sympathy. >> translator: i would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in an awful shooting in texas. >> reporter: in his own condolence message french president emmanuel macron tweeted this, "children and teachers were murdered in a cowardly attack in a texas
sc school." adding we share the shock and grief of the american people. also on twitter prime minister justin trow dough wrote my heart break. i'm thinking of the parents, the families, the friends, the classmates and coworkers whose lives are forever changed. canadians are mourning with you and are here for you. you can's prime minister weighed in on the shooting. >> our thoughts are with all those affected by this rurific attack. which is an unspeakable tragedy and our hearts are with the american people. >> reporter: london's mayor tweeting he's utterly heartbroken. my prayers with the families of those lost and the communities, he said. adding london stands with uvalde and all those campaigning to enact laws to end the senseless and devastating attacks. this was new zealand's prime minister on cbs' the late show with stephen colbert.
>> when i watch from afar and see those events such as today i think of them not as a politician but see them just as a mother, and i'm so sorry what has happened here. >> reporter: germany's chancellor tweeted his thoughts are with the bereaved. israeli's prime minister naphatali bennett tweeted, israel mourns together with the american people. and mexico's president sent a big hug to the families of the victims along with his condolences, pain and solidarity. and from the vatican, the holy father. >> translator: i am heartbroken by the massacre at the elementary school in texas. i pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families. let us all make a commitment so that tragedy like this cannot happen again. >> reporter: randy kaye, cnn. >> and let's make sure we do that. thank you so much for watching. i'm rosemary church. our coverage of the elementary school shooting in texas continues after a short break.
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hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the united states and all around the world. you are watching "cnn newsroom," and i'm rosemary church. and we want to go straight to our top story. a texas community searching for answers that may never come. why did an 18-year-old gunman open fire inside an elementary school killing 19 children and two teachers? for now the small town of uvalde near the border with mexico is