tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC May 25, 2022 3:30pm-4:01pm PDT
kristen: tonight, a special edition of "world news tonight." chilling new details emerging in the horrific elementary school shooting in uvalde, texas. this small community now consumed in grief tonight. 19 children and two teachers killed at robb elementary school. many of the victims just 10 and 11 years old. tonight, what we have now learned about the 18-year-old suspect, a high school dropout here. the governor revealing the alleged gunman sent three private messages on facebook just before all of this began to unfold. first about shooting his grandmother and ending with, "i'm going to shoot an elementary school." tonight, authorities retracing his steps, from his grandparents home to the school. hw he got inside and where he went once he got in.
barricading himself in a classroom and opening fire. the suspect armed with an ar-15-style rifle, ultimately killed by police. and tonight, investigators say the suspect turned 18 just nine days ago. and that he bought his ar-15-style rifle the next day. then another one just a few days later. and nine days after his birthday, he was here at this school. we are now learning more about the children tonight and their two teachers. some of the children getting end of the year awards the morning of the shooting. some of their parents, their loved ones were at the school not knowing it would be the last time they saw their children. and tonight here, my interview with a young father, the video he showed me of his daughter fishing with him. and what he's vowing to do tonight in honor of his daughter. also tonight, we have learned how long it took to take down the gunman after his first encounter with police here in uvalde. and the officers inside the school, border patrol, sheriffs, police. now we have learned a sheriff's deputy in that school helping to confront the gunman lost their
own child in the shooting. mireya villarreal right here in texas with us. and good evening tonight from texas. we are here in uvalde, a community in mourning. the mass shooting at the elementary school right behind me here, leaving so many parents, so many families would their sons and daughters. 19 school children and two teachers were shot and killed. tonight here, we honor them, their names, their stories, the awards given to some of the students just hours before the shooting. this is the second deadliest school shooting in u.s. history now after sandy hook ten years ago. tonight, new reporting here on the 18-year-old suspect, salvador ramos. in fact, he turned 18 just nine days ago. and the next day, authorities say he bought his first ar-15-style rifle, days later, buying his second.
and then a little more than a week after his birthday, showing up at the school right here behind us. tonight, we've learned in the hours before the attack, that he sent three private messages on facebook, signaling his plans. tonight, the memorial growing outside robb elementary school. the school-year-ol year has now early. we know the rampage began here at the suspect's grandparents house, where authorities say he shot his grandmother first. then, he took his grandparents' truck, crashing it near the school here before making his way inside. we have also learned that all of the victims were in two adjoining classrooms. the gunman barricading the door and it's now believed he was in the building anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour before being taken down. parents, of course, came running, looking for their children, looking for answers. many waiting until the midnight hours before getting official word. a massive show of law enforcement here. and most of the children eventually taken to the local
civic center to be reunited with their families. but that's also where families waited for the children who did not come home. officials asking those parents for dna samples as the night wore on to help identify the children who did not survive this. tonight here, the faces of the fallen now coming in. some of the 19 school children who lost their lives and the two teachers who died trying to save them. of course, the question here tonight, were warning signs missed? and this evening, across this country, a call to act. but we begin tonight with what played out in this school right here behind me and the children in that classroom. tonight, inside the unspeakable horror. officers running to the scene. with the 18-year-old gunman already inside robb elementary school. where second, third, and fourth graders were in the middle of their day. authorities say he got in through a back door, slipping into a classroom and opening fire on fourth graders and their two teachers. >> to all ems units, standby. do not attempt to get closer. we got shots fired.
>> reporter: authorities believe he got into that school at 11:32 a.m. >> need to respond to south grove and mill street to establish a perimeter. >> reporter: authorities say the suspect, salvador ramos, a high school dropout here, turned 18 just nine days ago. tonight, the atf now saying just one day after his birthday, he bought an ar-15-style rifle. three days later, he bought a second one. and four days after that, he was here at the elementary school. tonight, texas governor greg abbott describing the horror that played out even before he arrived at the school, at the home where he lived with his grandparents. >> the first thing that happened was that the gunman shot his grandmother in the face. she then contacted police. >> reporter: a neighbor describing the grandmother with gunshot wound to her forehead, helping her to dress the wound. tonight, she is in critical condition.
and as all of this was playing out, governor abbott now revealing the suspect was posting chilling private messages on facebook. the first message, that he was going to shoot his grandmother. >> the second post was, "i shot my grandmother." the third post, maybe less than 15 minutes before arriving at the school, was, "i'm going to shoot an elementary school." >> reporter: the suspect's grandfather telling abc news, he had no idea his grandson had these weapons, and that he had no driver's license. still, taking off in their truck. >> the gunman fled, and as he was fleeing, he had an accident just outside of the elementary school and he ran into the school. >> reporter: authorities say on his way in, opening fire with school officers. the suspect, wearing tactical gear, getting into the back of the school. >> the gunman then entered a back door and went down two short hallways and then into a classroom on the left-hand side. the gunman entered into that
classroom, and that classroom was connected internally to another classroom. >> reporter: authorities say the gunman then barricading himself inside that fourth grade classroom and began shooting. border patrol, police, sheriffs, all converging on that classroom. outside, parents racing to the school amid reports of an active shooter. a firefighter describing the parents and first responders pulling children through windows to get them out. back in that classroom, border patrol killing that gunman. and we learned today, authorities say one of those officers, a deputy sheriff, losing a daughter in the shooting. and the children who did get out, unable to erase what they saw, what they heard. fourth grader jordan liges. >> we just hear all kinds of gunshots going off, like nonstop, like constantly gunshots. and then we're over here all scared. what -- on the ground fearing for our lives. >> reporter: the superintendent ending the school year early. >> my heart was broken today.
we're a small community and we will need your prayers to get us through this. >> reporter: the school children evacuated. many taken to the civic center. some even taken to the funeral home waiting to be reunited with their parents. and then the families waiting. the grief on their faces as the hours went by. consoling one another. pleading for answers. the remarkable moment, pedro adame searching for his niece in the crowd of children being led inside, when suddenly, they spot one another. >> it's okay, we're right here, we're right here. it's okay. hey, hey, we're right here, okay? hey, it's okay. we're right here. >> reporter: for so many others here, the reunions never came. tonight, these are the young lives stolen here in uvalde. amerie jo garza had just turned 10. and look at this image. holding an award for the honor
roll. that award had been given to her just hours before the shooting. her family says she tried to call 911 during the shooting. tonight, her father, alfred garza. what would you want people to know about your daughter? >> that -- i mean, she was the best person that i know. full of life. gone too soon. always smiling. very productive. she was her own self. she was her own person. she was a leader. she didn't try to be like anybody. she wanted to do things the way she wanted to do them. and that's -- that's what i admired most about my daughter. she was not a follower. she was a leader. >> reporter: she shows me the video of them fishing together he now cherishes. >> do you know what you're doing? do you know what you're doing? >> no. >> reporter: overnight here, adolfo cruz, a grandfather waiting for word on his granddaughter, eliahana cruz torres. >> i just took a little time to go to the hospital and see if we could find out anything over there and nothing. >> reporter: his grandaughter did not survive.
there was xavier james lopez who was 10. a family member saying xavier's mom was at that awards ceremony just hours before the shooting. she had no idea it would be her final time with her son. his grandmother on the pain. >> just so hard. you send your kids to school and thinking they're going to make it back home and then they're not. >> reporter: annabelle rodriguez was 10. she died along with her cousin, jacklyn jaylen cazares, also 10 years old. seen here in her first communion just weeks ago. her father telling abc news, "my little girl was full of life and touched so many people. she had the biggest heart. jackie was the one that would go out of her way to help anyone." 10-year-old rojelio torres. his mother telling us he was a "very smart and loving child." there was 10-year-old makenne lee elrod. jayce carmelo luevanos, 10. and jailah nicole silguero, 11. they were cousins, too.
the family telling us, "they were nothing but loving baby angels, always had a smile on their face, just full of life." uziyah garcia. his grandfather saying he was "the sweetest little boy that i've ever known." and tonight here, the teachers. irma garcia. it was her 23rd year teaching at the school, about to celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary with her husband. she taught the children with fourth grade teacher e v.a. mireles, at the school for 17 years. she loved hiking and the outdoors. and her students loved her. tonight, the growing memorial outside the school here. the flowers on the school sign. the officers off behind it. and that father who showed his daughter fishing with him, and his vow tonight to always honor her. >> we have to honor her and make sure that we -- we do good and, you know, and from this day forward, i want to live my life for my daughter that can't be here to live hers. you know, i want to try to do as much as i can. the best i can as -- as positive
as i can. and just want to -- i just wouldn't want to do what would make her happy. you know, just -- just live my life how she would want me to live in and, and how just to live do her proud. you know, do her proud and just live a life that she can't live anymore. >> reporter: that's your purpose now. >> that's my purpose now. >> the father determined to honor his daughter. the parents here, the families here, that must now somehow find a way forward without their cildren. this community is a small proud community, tight-knit and we have learned tonight that among the law enforcement taking down the suspect inside the school here, a deputy sheriff who lost their own child. abc's miry ya villarreal right here in uvalde. >> reporter: tonight, as the tight-knit town of uvalde mourns and grieves, we are learning that for many of the responding officers, this was personal. many had their own children in harm's way. the sheriff's department --
>> one deputy sheriff lost a daughter in that school. >> reporter: and border patrol. >> we had one agent that lost his granddaughter. we had others that lost extended family. >> reporter: border patrol sector chief jason owens telling me more than 80 agents responded to the scene. >> they put themselves between this crazy person and these innocent children. whether they were pulling children to safety from windows, whether they were actively engaging that suspect, each and every person played their role and they did it with all of their heart. >> reporter: families taken to the local civic center, giving samples of their dna, waiting for hours for officials to confirm whether or not their child had died. a long and painful process, in a small town where there's less than ten physicians available to deal with this kind of tragedy. all of the patients treated here have been released, so, a bit of good news. and the six transferred to san
antonio, only one is still in critical condition. david? >> miry ya villarreal, thank you. we turn now to the investigation, tracking salvador ramos' final steps, the purchase of those assault-style weapons right after turning 18 just days ago. and don't here, matt gutman interviews the suspect's grandfather, who says the family had no idea he had those weapons. >> reporter: tonight, investigators say the suspected texas elementary school shooter bought those two ar-style rifles on two separate days. the first one on may 17th, just a day after his 18th birthday. and the other, three days later, on may 20th. both rifles purchased just days before the rampage at oasis outback, a local sporting goods store. authorities say the 18-year-old suspect legally purchased the ars without a license, as well as multiple 30 bullet magazines and at least 375 rounds. the sale of large capacity magazines and bullets is not regulated in texas.
a vest designed to carry ammunition, but not protective plates or fabric. his grandfather telling me he knew nothing about the weapons. >> i didn't know he had weapons or nothing or this or that. if i would have known, i would have reported it. >> reporter: you would have reported your own grandson. >> yes. because i'm against all that. >> reporter: tonight, texas governor greg about both says the suspect had no known mental health history, insisting that law enforcement had no warnings. >> there was no meaningful forewarning of this crime. >> reporter: tonight, investigators are combing through the suspect's social media history, where he allegedly posted videos of himself abusing animals, as well as photos of guns. his classmate said his stalked him, threatened to kill him after he ended their friendship. if there was anybody that could
have done this, its was this kid. >> yeah. >> reporter: david, investigators tell me they have to get through hundreds of interviews. this is going to take days. in the meantime, they have a number of outstanding questions, like, for how long had the suspect planned this attack. what precip talted it, how did he get proficiency in the use of those weapons? why knew about them and why might have been able to put a stop to this? david? >> so many questions. matt gutman, thank you. we turn now to the call to act tonight, echoing from texas to washington, d.c. here in texas today, governor greg abbott was con 23fronted o live tv. his democrat ic challenger bee toe o'rourke challenging him. tonight, president biden asking lawmakers, where is our backbone? rachel scott on the hill tonight. >> reporter: republican texas governor greg abbott insisting today that guns were not the problem in the mass shooting
that killed 19 children and two teachers. >> i asked the sheriff and others an open-ended question. what is the problem here? and they were straightforward and emphatic. they said, we have a mental -- we have a problem with mental health illness in this community. >> reporter: but interrupting abbott's press conference, former democratic congressman beto o'rourke, who is running for governor himself. >> let him talk. >> the time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing. you're offering us nothing. you said this was not predictable. this is totally predictable. when you choose not to do anything -- >> sir, you are out of line. >> this is on you until you choose to do something different. this will continue to happen. >> reporter: in washington, senator chris murphy of connecticut, where 26 people, including 20 children, were gunned down at sandy hook elementary school, challenging his republican colleagues to act. >> what are we doing?
why are you here, if not to solve a problem as existential as this? >> reporter: polls show the american people want change. 56% support an assault weapons ban. 86% support a red flag law, allowing authorities to temporarily take guns away from people determined to be dangerous. and 89% support background checks. still, for most republicans on capitol hill, those issues are nonstarters. the majority of americans support expanded background dheks. why not support it? >> unfortunately, what some people do is immediately want to take people's second amendment rights away. >> reporter: many republicans didn't want to talk about the issue at all. do you support expanded background checks, do you support it? >> reporter: democrat joe manchin and republican pat toomey have proposed a bill to
expand background checks including for sales online and at gun shows, but it needs 60 votes to pass. unless senate democrats change the rules to pass it with a simple majority. senator kyrsten sinema of arizona won't do that. senator, do you support changing the senate rules in order to support -- in 2018, texas governor greg abbott did ask state lawmakers to consider a red flag law, but when republicans refused, he backs down. and since then, texas has actually loosened its gun laws, david. >> rachel scott live in washington tonight. rachel, thank you. and there was a moment last night after news of the school shooting, nba coach steve kerr of the golden state warriors in dallas for a playoff game, the normal news conference, but then he came out and said, he wasn't going to talk about basketball. >> now we have children murdered at school. when are we going to do something?
and 50 senators in washington are going to hold us hostage -- do you realize that 90% of americans, regardless of political party, want background check, universal background check? 90% of us. we are being held hostage bill 50 senators in washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we, the american people, want. they won't vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. it's pathetic. i've had enough. >> steve kerr, a longtime gun control advocate, lost his father in a terror attack in the middle east in 1984. when we come back tonight from texas, what we are just learning from the white house. president biden and the first lady and their plans now to come to texas. chronic migraine— 15 or more headache days a month, each lasting 4 hours or more you're not the only one with questions about botox®. botox® prevents headaches in adults with chronic migraine
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permanent director in seven years, david. >> cecilia vega with that breaking headline tonight. cecilia, thank you. the fbi director had a blunt warning today about protecting america's schools, and we'll have that in a moment. causing inflammation that can lead to asthma attacks. but no matter what type of severe asthma you have, tezspire™ can help. tezspire™ is a new add-on treatment for people 12 and over... that proactively reduces inflammation... ...which means you could have fewer attacks, breathe better, and relieve your asthma symptoms. so, you can be you, whoever you are. tezspire™ is not a rescue medication. don't take tezspire™ if you're allergic to it. allergic reactions like rash or an eye allergy can happen. don't stop your asthma treatments unless your doctor tells you to. tell your doctor if you have a parasitic infection or your asthma worsens. sore throat, joint and back pain may occur.
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>> building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc7news. >> this is enough. no one else needs to go through this. >> you are so used to bringing your kids to school and thinking they are going to make it back. >> my heart is broken for these families and for these kids. >> we are learning more about the 19 children and two teachers killed in the shooting at a texas elementary school. the debate over gun violence in the u.s. heats up again. >> i don't know how people can sell that type of a gun to a kid. >> i did not know he had weapons were nothing or this or that. if i had known, i would have reported. >> i'm worried about the kids and the families of those children. i'm worried about the next
school shooting. i'm worried about this continuing to happen. >> good afternoon. >> we are learning more about the 21 people killed in the massacre in texas. 17 people were injured, six are hospitalized. kristen: reena roy has a closer look at the families affected by this tragedy. reporter: they were daughters, sons, cousins, children going about everyday life at robb elementary school, now they have become the faces of america's latest mass shooting. >> my hearts are broken for these families and these kids. reporter: so many families waking up to a world without their loved ones. 19 students and two teachers killed. this 10-year-old's mother described him as smart and loving. cousins also shot to death. their families saying they always had a smile on their face, full of life.