tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN May 28, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT
president biden is calling on americans to make america safer as he prepares to travel to uvalde to honor the victims tomorrow. authorities are facing scrutiny over conflicting information as well as the response time. we now know the gunman was not confronted by police before entering the school. and more than an hour past between the first 911 call and when that shooter was killed. cnn's shimon prokupecz pressed authorities for answers on friday. >> you say there were 19 officers gathered in the hallway or somewhere, what efforts were made to try and break through that door, you say it was locked. what efforts were the officers making to try to break through that door or another door to get inside of that classroom. >> none at that time. >> why? >> the on scene commander at the time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject. >> sir, you have people who are
alive, children who are calling 911 saying please, send the police. they are alive. in that classroom. there are lives that are at risk. >> we're well aware of that. >> right. why was this decision made not to go in and rescue these children? >> again, you know, the on scene commander considered a barricaded subject and there was time and no more children at risk. obviously -- obviously based upon the information we have that there were children in the classroom at risk and it was in fact still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject. >> the incident commander has been identifies as uvalde school district police chief pedro pete arondo, he made two brief statements to the press on the day of the shooting and has not spoken since. texas governor greg abbott said he's quote, livid, about being misled about the police response and the immediate aftermath.
and refused so discuss whether or not he should keep his job. cnn's boris sanchez joins me now from uvalde where the community is grieving the loss of the 19 children and two teachers. it is trauma that will never, ever go away. how are people doing there this morning? >> reporter: jessica, many people i speak to are still in shock. they're having a hard time processing that something to horrific could happen in their idealic small community. nobody ever imagined this would happen. and now people that you talk to are having a hard time figuring out next steps. remember, this happened just two days before the start of summer break. and instead of planning for summer school or camps or vacations, parents are now having to plan for the funerals of third and fourth graders. the community here has come out
in force to show support from a distance. right off camera beside me there have been dozens of people streaming in throughout the day to pay respects from a distance. the memorial is in front of the elementary school behind us. and folks here are clearly emotional. as a matter of fact, a few moments ago we watched this scene as two crews of bikers from different parts of texas came together, a sizable group of them at one point they took off their hats and said a prayer and it is something to witness. people, men and women that are known for their ruggedness and toughness break down and become emotional thinking about those who were lost. simultaneously, there is enormous anger and frustration because of the discrepancies between what this community has heard from officials initially
about what happened and as the days have passed. officials in texas still trying to correct the record because there are new details that have come out that have prompted questions about what went wrong in the police response to this shooting. let's bring in cnn's jason carroll. he's here in uvalde and been here since this happened. brings up to speed with the latest on the investigation and what you're hearing from family members who are processing this tragedy. >> and it comes down to the timeline and the key moment and the question of why they waited. why they waited to breach that door. the governor called it a inexcusable mistake. they've called it a mistake. it was a tranlic mistake. and at this point you have a number of parents, some of whom we've spoken to who say they are looking for some sort of accountability. >> it was a wrong decision. period.
>> a damming new admission from texas authorities. the incident commander made the decision not to immediately enter the classroom where the gunman was hiding. >> a decision was made that this is 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. >> officials explained how the shooter got into the school. >> when we knew the shooter enters, ramos, was propped open by a teacher. >> investigators clarifying the timeline as police arrived. >> the three initial police officers that arrived went directly to the door and two received grazing wounds at that time from the suspect. while the door was closed. 11:37 there was more gunfire and another 16 rounds was fire, at 11 11:38 and 16 seconds and 11:38 and 11:44 and at 11:51 agents
started to arrive. at 12:03 officers continued to rife in the hallway and there was many as many 19 officers at that time in that hallway. >> officers did not enter the room until a janitor provided keys. >> they breached the door, using keys that they were able to get from the janitor, because both doors were locked. both the classrooms that he shot into were locked when officers arrived. they killed a suspect at that time. >> in that crucial time, survivors inside of both classrooms made desperate calls to 911. >> she identified herself and whispered she's in room 112. at 12:10, she called back and room 12 advised multiple were
dead. 12:13, again she called on the phone. again at 12:16. she's called back and said there was eight to nine students alive. >> minutes later, a student called. >> a student child called back, and was told on to stay on the line and be very quiet. she told 911 that he shot the door. at 12:43 and 12:47, she asked 911 to please send the police now. >> alfred say his daughter might have been one of the students that tried to call 911. she was killed during the shooting. >> somebody has to be done. what wr do we go from here. you were wrong, what do we do now. that is my question. what are we going to do now. >> the accountable you're talking about. >> the accountability. somebody has to be responsible. >> warning signs missed. >> ramos asked his sister ho buy a gun and she flatly refused. >> that was in september of '21. >> with social media and posts as far back as last february,
offering red flags. >> the instagram of a group chat and it was discussed that ramos being a scoot shooter. that was on february 28th of 2022. on march 14th, and there was an instagram posting by the subject in quotations, ten more days. a user replied, are you going to shoot up a school or something? the subject replied, no. and stop asking dumb questions and you'll see. >> well the governor said he expects new laws to be enacted to address what happened here. and he said both the fbi and the texas rangers are investigating and will be investigating all of the law enforcement officials who responded to the shooting out here and i just have to say,
from what tparents are telling us, they're keeping an eye on the governor and those if law enforcement for accountability and expecting people to keep their word. >> it must be infuriating for this parents and it is also appalling that the governor himself greg abbott would acknowledge that he was misled about what happened here. we hope that they are soon to get answers. jason carroll, thank you so much. >> yes. >> we've been working to bring you the stories of those lost here in uvalde. and one of those stories is just especially heart-wrenching. four children are now without their parents after their mother was killed in the shooting here. she was a teacher. irma garcia, she, as far as her family is concerned, lost the love of her life when joe garcia suffered a medical emergency
days after she was shot and killed. she was one of the teachers killed in the massacre. her husband suffering a fatal heart attack. i got a chance to speak with the family's priest about the couple yesterday. he actually consoled the children soon after joe passed. listen to what he shared. >> there were a couple that we knew we needed anything done we could call them and they would be always willing to -- to be of service. they send their children to religious education every year and so they were just not a family that came to mass on sunday. they were a family that were also active members of the church. we have to be there for all of these families. and then part of that, i'm also hoping that we not forget the families, because this will come to an end. but they still need us to be there for them. i would imagine that in a few days, things will be back to whatever normal means.
you know, the media will about gone, family members will be gone. and suddenly the families are going to find themselves alone. and so, i've been telling parishioners, we need to stay in touch with these families. we need to be calling them and be there for them. >> father morales blessed the siblings the a service thursday night hours after joe garcia passed away telling them your mother and father will always find a way to take care of you. meantime, texas officials are also trying to clear up confusion about another key detail after they initially said there was a school resource officer here on campus who immediately engaged with the gunman. authorities say now that he was actually not on the scene. he was not here when the gunman arrived and opened fire on campus. brian todd has that angle of the story for us. >> reporter: 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. >> that officer was not on scene, not on campus. but had heard the 911 call with a man with a gun and drove immediately to the area, sped to what he thought was the man with a gun, to the back of the school and turned out to be a teacher. and not the suspect. and in doing so he drove right by the suspect who was hunkered down behind a vehicle he began shooting at the school. >> reporter: a misstep that analysts say could be attributed to the confusion in the first moments of any mass shooting. but now new attention is being focused on the roles of school resource officers, local police whose biggest jobs are to be on campuses of elementary and middle and high schools across america to protect students from shootings like this. >> there are no studies to show they have been effective in preventing damage or minimizing the damage and that is a sad
part. >> reporter: this professor of new mexico state university wrote on measures taken to prevent school violence. he said in many cases, training for these officers is inconsistent or outright insufficient. and often, he said, school officers are simply tasked to cover too much ground. >> they have to be in the exact place, at the exact time, exact moment to confront the shooter and minimize the damage. but that is not happening. it is not practical to be in front of a shooter every time a shooter comes. and shooters do plan so they don't really want to confront people as well. >> reporter: and in one case, a resource officer was accused of hiding from a shooter. parkland, florida, february of 2018, broward county sheriff scot peterson 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 you thought the shots were coming from outside. the national school resource officers acknowledged there were failures at parkland but rejected that the thousands of officers on school campus do make a difference. >> they stop acts all of the time from becoming a disaster in a massacre like occurred in uvalde. >> mauch hardy said his group is pushing for more uniform training of the officers and pushing for those who assign officers to school not to assign officers who may be a year away from retirement and want to cruise through the final year and not to asign officers with those with trouble on their regular beets. it is too often that officers like that are placed in schools. brian todd, cnn. washington. thanks to brian for that report. and as you just heard across the country, school resource officers play a critical role in
students' lives. they are the first line of defense in any crisis situation. and they have to be ready to act quickly for the students that they support. i want to bring in officer richard craig for a deeper discussion on this. he's the lead officer at avon schools police department in indiana. he was named school resource officer of the year for region five by the national association of school resource officers. officer craig, we appreciate you being with us to lend your perspective. do you feel that your prepared to act in a situation like what happened here in uvalde or even in parkland, florida, at marjory stoneman douglas high school? >> you hope that an incident like that never occurs. we're talking about the unspeakable. but you do have to be prepared for the what-if. and i say it each and every day and that is where my head is at.
i'm constantly, as i'm walking through the halls of the school, building relationships with students, that is my ultimate reason i'm there, is to protect them, to keep them safe, and so that they go home safely at the end of the day. so, i'm prepared to run towards any threat that comes towards the way of my students, absolutely. >> officer, it is obviously that you take your role as an sro very seriously. what do you want parents to know about the work do you, how you view what you do for their children? i imagine there is a lot of parents out there hearing about what happened here at the school and they may have some concerns. >> absolutely. and the thing is, the role of an sro, if it is done properly, the national association of school resource officers follows a
triad and that is being a mentor, counselor and teacher and it should be the smallest part of the job. i'm not there to arrest kids. i'm not there to -- a lot of parents say man, i didn't know the school was that bad, they have officers here. that is -- that couldn't be farther from the truth. the information and the relationship building is absolutely key. and the person i become and what the relationships that i build with my students, the information, that pipeline, that there is not a lot that goes on in the school building that i don't know about because of the relationships that i have with my students. they want to be safe. my students know that i'm willing to lay my life down for them. however, they don't want to make me do so. if they could avoid it. so if there is something that is -- there is a red flag from a student or another student has
talked about, you know, possibly shooting up a school building or something of that nature, i'm -- they know that they could come to me and talk to me about that and they do. frequently. >> that trust that you speak of -- go ahead, sir. >> go ahead. >> i was just going to ask, because you're talking about being aware of red flags and the trust that you have to build with students for them to come to you and share something that concerns them, how do you distinguish between what may just be a rowdy teenager saying things to get a rise out of people, and something that has to be taken more seriously? >> absolutely. i mean, and that is where you have to take the time to investigate. you have to take time to find out more information. i can't just say, you know, make that determination and say oh,
probably just a kid being a kid. i'm sure they didn't mean anything about it. that is not up to me to make that determination on the surface. you have to do some more digging. and that -- that is a partnership between the sro and the school. depending on what policies the school has in place, counselors and involvement from counselors, the mental health and unless you're in a school building each and every day, which the majority of adults, i don't believe they are, there is a number of children that are struggling with mental health issues. whether -- and there are many that are in crisis. and these are very -- some children that are very young. we are there also to provide those resources to get them some help. to line the parents up with resources so they could get
their children some help. we don't want this for their child any more than the parents do. >> officer craig, there is something, a unique aspect that you do that i wanted to ask you about. because it is pertinent in this context. you said that you want to meet students where they are. that is led you to social media and tiktok. y you have over 128,000 followers and a million likes. it stands out there were signs that the shooter in this case posted on social media. and that perhaps if investigators or community members could have been more engaged and seen these red flags, if they had been alerted to them, something may have been done to prevent this tragedy. would you recommend for other sros who may feel too old or unfamiliar with the online platforms to dive deeper into them and perhaps members of the school administration to do the
same? >> boris, i personally, i do. and that is just my personal view point in that. and i'm in my 40s, boris. i'm not young. i'm very, as the kids say, some of think contents kind of cringy. but they appreciate the fact that i'm at least on there. i do it to make my own kids uncomfortable and i do it to see what my kids at school are doing. however, social media is one of those things that police departments across the country have -- you know, it is sometimes a hot button topic and different police departments have different policy against social media depending on what their chief's stance or sheriff's stance is on social media and a lot of agencies have opted to stay away from it. to keep their officers away from it because it could cause a tremendous headache or heartache for an officer or an agency if
this is not utilized properly. and i'm really -- i'm not out there trying to put my daily life on there. but i'm on there to try to connect with my students. and also to be an open line of communication with my kids because they might not want to speak to me during the school day. there may be a student that either didn't have the opportunity to speak to me or maybe they didn't want to be seen talking to the police. this is part of what i try to do to bridge that gap between young people and law enforcement. but more so than that, it is just another -- it is another avenue i can use to -- if a kid sees something and they want to say something, they could contact me on social media as well. >> and those open lines of communication are so critical in retrospect in situations like
this. you hear people there were signs that something would happen and keeping the lines of communication open could prevent future atrocities. officer richmond craig, thank you for being with us. >> boris, thank you for having me. i appreciate you. >> of course. so we have plenty more coming up from uvalde, but just ahead, there is intense russian shelling that continues in eastern ukraine while the leaders of germany and france are pressing russian president vladimir putin to agree to an immediate cease-fire. cnn will take you to kyiv after a quick break next. in all of u. that's why we build technology that helps everyone come to the table and do more inincredible thing. ♪ ♪
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miss allen over there isn't checking lesson plans. she's getting graded on her green investments with merrill. a-plus. still got it. (whistle blows) your money never stops working for you with merrill, a bank of america company. staying up half the night searching for savings on your prescriptions? just ask your cvs pharmacist. we search for savings for you. from coupons to lower costs options. plus, earn up to $50 extra bucks rewards each year just for filling at cvs pharmacy. the french president and german chancellor held a call with vladimir putin and press him to open negotiations with ukraine and for an immediate cease-fire as russian shelling continues in southwest ukraine. melissa bell is if kyiv. do we expect this call to have any impact with putin?
>> reporter: no. and i think that the idea from the point of view of the palace of the french very clearly and particularly but the europeans more broadly since this was a franco german effort to reach out to putin has clearly been the last few weeks, it is better to have some zdialogue, but to real expectation they could sway the direction that things are headed here in ukraine or indeed to force into any kind of negotiating table at all. what they did use the phone call to do was to try to put pressure on the russian president to end in odesa with the impact that the grain exports are having ukraine's substantial grain exports have having for the whole world, jessica. >> and a key city in the luhansk region is not cut off according to a ukrainian official but intense russian shelling is underway. what else could you tell us
about that? >> that is right. the town that you mentioned there, it is the center of fierce fighting and a real push between the russian forces trying to push their advantage in krarn resistance over the last couple of weeks. it has some 15,000 civilians still trapped inside and of course that fighting has a very real impact on the civilians. but the latest news from ukraine that it has not fallen to russians is interesting because the advantage has tended to be in the last few days on the russian side. they have made incremental n nonetheless significant gains and that is why you're seeing the call from ukraine for more help, more weaponry, they want the united states in particular to help them with some of those long-range rocket systems they believe could give them an advantage on the field for the time being. washington would consider the request but not necessarily accept it. and i was speaking to sources in
ukrainian military intelligence saying surely at this stage, the javelin anti-tank missile systems received and the stinger anti-aircraft that have proven to effective over the course of the last few months are making a differencech and we saw last week for the first time in use the switchblade targeted drones can allow from the 25 mile distance ukrainian forces now to be able to target those russian tanks that have proved so formidable and so costly. not just ukrainian forces but of course over the course of the last few weeks ukrainian civilians and he said, look, we're a country of 40 million people. we have a country of 140 million people. in the end, they are going to get the advantage. and i think that's what we've been seeing. a real turning point over the course of the last 48 hours or so where on the ground and in particular on that front line, russian forces making gains that are looking extremely worrying to kyiv, jessica. >> melissa bell in kyiv for us.
thanks so much for that update. right now, vice president kamala harris america's first black vice president is attending the funeral of a black woman shot and killed by a white supremacist. we go live to buffalo. that is next. a-plus. still got t it. (whistle b blows) your money never stops working for you with merrill, a bank o of america company. [zoom call] ...pivot... work bye. vacation hi! book with priceline. 'cause when you save more, you can “no way!” more. no wayyyy. no waaayyy! no way! [pne ringing] hm. way! no way! pricelin every trip is a big deal. ♪ three times the electorlytes and half the sugar. ♪ pedialyte powder packs. feel better fast.
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are you a christian author with a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! this weekend president biden and vice president kamala harris are on opposite sides of the country honoring victims from two different mass shootings. biden will go to uvalde, texas, tomorrow to meet with victims families reeling from the elementary school massacre there. and in buffalo, new york, a funeral for one of the victims of the grocery store mass
shooting began in the last hour. let's bring in cnn's joe johns for the latest. joe, you were there on the ground in buffalo. tell us more about today's events. >> reporter: jessica, this is a memorial service for ruth whitfield, she's the 86-year-old woman killed in the tops grocery store. well-known in this community as the mother of a former fire commissioner. now, we're really getting a sense of course of how much support the administration is trying to give to the city of buffalo. not only did the president come here just a few days after the shooting rampage, now we have the vice president and her husband doug emhoff sitting in the front of the church as this memorial service proceeds. but we also got just before the vice president and her husband were ushered in, a real sense of some of the political and legal
implications of this the shooting on the city and perhaps the country at large. this family, the whitfield family has engaged the civil rights attorney benjamin crump to represent them to see what they could do about this. and he made it clear in a five or a 10-minute speech right at the very beginning, before the vice president came in, his feelings about the need for accountability in some of these gun control matters we've heard so much about. and he talked a lot about bringing accountability to the people who manufacture the guns, would distributed the guns. even the people who radicalized the shooter who walked into that store who had already indicated his intent was to kill as much black people as possible. so benjamin crump talking a little about the implications
and how they want to proceed legally. though he didn't give a lot of specifics. and this service has just gotten started. we'll see how long it lasts. back to you. >> joe johns in buffalo, thanks so much. still ahead this afternoon, thousands of gun owners are meeting in houston, but they're being met by calls for stronger gun control. that is ahead. pre-rinsing your dishes? you could be using the wrong detergent. and wasting up to 20 gallons of water. skip the rinse with finish quantum. itactivelift technology provides an unbeatable clean on 24 hour dried-on stains. skip the rinse with finish to se our water. covid-19 moves fast, and now you can too by asking your healthcare provider if an oral treatment is right for you. oral treatments can be taken at home
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across the country thousands of gun owners are gathering to defend the law that made it possible for the gunman in uvalde to purchase their weapons but they're being met by calls for stronger gun safety laws. hundreds rallied outside of the nra convention in houston where a child-size casket was carried by protesters after 19 children were gunned down in uvalde. let's go now to houston and cnn's camilla bernal. several guest speakers have pulled out of the convention after the uvalde shooting. tell us more about that. >> yeah, look and these are speakers that not necessarily are not supporting the nra. they say they still support the nra. but just did not feel like it was the right time to hold this meeting. among them, at least four musicians and some politicians. for example john cornyn, he canceled his in-person appearance. but didn't mention the shooting and instead said it was a scheduling conflict.
governor greg abbott sent a video message and stayed in uvalde to handle all of that there. in terms of the former president donald trump, he made it to point to say i'm not disappointing my supporters and i'm showing up. he specifically told the nra members, i am here. and while he was here, he read the names of all of the victims from the uvalde shooting. and he focused on other things like saying that what needs to happen is that there needs to be only one entrance at schools and at that entrance you should have an armed security guard or police officer. he also said you should arm some teachers. here is a little bit more of his message yesterday. >> now from a parade of cynical politicians seeking to exploit the tears of sobbing families. to encrease their own power and take away our constitutional rights. every time a disturbed or
demented person commits such a hideous crime, there is always a effort by some in our society to use the suffering of others to advance their own extreme political agenda. >> and right outside of the convention it was a completely different scene. we had hundreds of protesters who were out here yesterday demanding change. really out here to show their sadness, their frustration and their anger and asking their politicians to do something, to essentially look into gun control legislation and act and come to the table with whoever needs to come to the table so something could change. here in texas and really across the country. among the speakers yesterday was democratic gubernatorial candidate beto o'rourke who is pushing more more gun legislation.
here is what he said. >> the time for us to have stopped uvalde was right after sandy hook. the time for us to have stopped uvalde was right after parkland. the time for us to have stopped uvalde was right after sante fe high school. the time for us to stop the next mass shooting in this country is right now, right here, today with every single one of us. >> and things are relatively quiet today. we did see a few protesters right outside the convention but we expect things to remain calm through tomorrow when the convention ends. jessica. >> thank you so much. still ahead today, as millions hit the road for memorial day weekend, high gas prices may have some changing their plans. and let's take a live look now at the tomb of the unknown soldier at arlington national
cemetery. today members of public are allowed to lay flowers before the memorial sight in tribute to countries unidentified fallen heroes. we'll be right back. she's getting graded on her green investments with mererrill. a-plus. still got it. (whistle blows) yoyour money never stops workig for you with merrill, a bank of america company. ♪ with my hectic life, you'd think retirement would be the last thing on my mind. hey mom, can i go play video games? sure! ...after homework. thankfully, voya provides comprehensive solutions, and shows me how to get the most out of my workplace benefits. what's the wi-fi password again? here... you... go. cool, thanks.
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attorney's office to pursue justice for everyone. but like so many of my colleagues, i resigned in protest because chesa boudin interfered in every single case and failed to do his job. the office is absolutely in disarray right now. chesa dissolved my unit prosecuting car break-ins. now criminals flock to san francisco because there are no consequences. we can't wait. recall chesa boudin now. another crazy day? of course—you're a cio in 2022.
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a $1.56 more than this time last year. matt egan has more on why the prices continue to climb. >> reporter: jessica, if you're hitting the road this holiday weekend, brace yourself. the national average for regular gas is about 50% higher than last memorial day weekend. even the biden administration concedes that gas prices are at, quote, outrageous levels. now we were invited by the white house to join a rare tour of the strategic petroleum reserve. the government's emergency stockpile and the biggest weapon against high gas prices. president authorized a record setting release this year. and after the tour i asked energy sect jennifer granholm if record high grass prices mean that this weapon is really more of a band aid. >> it is the biggest tool that the president has which is the strategic petroleum reserve. the events globally have so much power over the price per pebarr. we need to see an increase in supply to make up for the lost russian barrels and that is why
we're doing everything we can in the united states and asking other countries to do the same. >> president biden, he ran on the most aggressive climate agenda of anyone elected to the white house. isn't it awkward that now he's draining oil from the strategic petroleum reserve. >> he's responding to the occurrence situation. he knows and he's obsessed with the fact that gas prices are so high and people are hurting. and this is a global issue. so what can he do. so you can extort the oil and gas industry to increase supply but you have to at the same time accelerate our movement to clean energy. you could walk and chew gum and do both, but the fact that we are paying these outrageous prices almost is an exclamation point on the fact that we need to move to clean energy so we're not in this position in the future. >> you mentioned russia. >> yeah. >> will russia ever be trusted again as a reliable energy partner? >> i won't trust them. i can't -- i don't know the
answer to that. it is up to them. they have to prove that they are reliable partner and they're certainly not doing that now. >> are they weaponizing energy? >> they certainly are. they are weaponizing energy. which is another reason why as a nation we should move to energy sources that can't be weaponized. >> reporter: for now remain very much reliant on fossil fuels and subject to the whims of the global oil market. about 30% more expensive to fill up your tank today than it was the day before russia invaded ukraine. and that means sticker shock for the 35 million people aaa estimates are traveling by car this weekend. jessica. >> matt egan, thanks so much. "cnn newsroom" continues right after this break.
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hi, everyone and thanks for joining me. i'm jessica dean. fredricka whitfield is off today. and we begin with haunting questions in uvalde, texas ahead of president biden's trip there tomorrow. heartbroken parents demanding answers and accountability after a gunman murdered 19 of their children and two teachers at robb elementary school. authorities are facing scrutiny over conflicting information as well as the police response time. we now know that the gunman was not confronted by police befor