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tv   Nightline  ABC  May 27, 2022 12:37am-1:06am PDT

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♪ this is "nightline." >> tonight, the growing outrage. >> i'll go in without a gun! >> as new video emerges of panicked parents outside robb elementary desperately trying to save their kids during the shootings. >> i just wanted to hold my daughter. i could have -- ran inside, do something myself. i would have. >> the new revelations about how the gunman entered the school and what we're learning about the agonizing hour of terror before border patrol agents killed him. >> they say they rushed in all that, like, we didn't see that. the latest on brittney griner, the wnba all-star detained for nearly 100 days in russia. her wife breaks her silence with
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our robin roberts. her message for president biden. >> she's a political pawn. so if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then i want you to do it. and remembering ray liotta. the goodfella who played the tough guy dies at the age of 67.
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thanks for joining us. we return tonight to the tragedy at robb elementary school in texas. a school turned crime scene where we're learning much more about how the young shooter took 21 lives. joining us now is maria elena salinas in uvalde who spent the day reporting in unsettling new details since the shooting. maria elena, welcome to the show. i know you've been with this community all day. it's clear there's growing outrage among parents who felt paralyzed that day. >> reporter: definitely, juju. thank you very much. as we have seen, it was right in front of this school behind me, robb elementary, that on tuesday, parents were desperate for answers. today we're finding out new information. despite what authorities said in the beginning, the gunman was not confronted by an armed guard outside of the school. he simply walked in through a side door that was unlocked. so as to be expected, we are looking for answers. the authorities want answers, the parents want answers, the community want answers.
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they want to know more about the police response and also why the gunman was in there for a whole hour. >> so much outrage, so much pain. i know you spoke to one mother of one of the children who was killed. what did she share with you? >> reporter: she is suffering so much. she says a piece of her heart has been broken, has been taken away. but she does want the world to know who her son, rogelio, was. the silence in this backyard the most obvious sign of what's missing at the ortas home. her son, rogelio torres. >> i can look outside, and my kids, they play outside. but without their brother -- it's not the same without him. >> reporter: leaning on her twin sister, she clutches the 10-year-old's photo. rogelio, one of the 19 children killed at a texas elementary school this week.
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>> there's nothing that can bring him back. >> what do you want the world to know about rogelio? >> he was loving. >> a loving son. >> a loving son, loving brother. i'm going to miss him. he was my life. all my kids are my life. but losing that little piece of my heart -- i lost my son. >> reporter: orta has three other children. her 9-year-old son was also in the school when a gunman opened fire with an ar-15 style rifle. >> he was scared. they told him to run. he was worried about his brother because he never came back home. >> reporter: 10-year-old tess mata never made it home, either. >> every time i came home from college, she'd run outside. she'd open my car door for me. she'd be like, sissy, need help with the bag? she was our little helper. >> reporter: to sister faith and parents erika and jerry, today remembering the little girl who loved to dance and make tiktoks. ♪
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>> anywhere and everywhere, she was filming tiktoks. we could be at a restaurant, she'd set down the phone, start filming. she just loved dancing. she loved learning things from tiktok. >> reporter: jerry was one of the many parents who raced to robb elementary school two days ago, desperate to save his child. but says he was pushed back by law enforcement. >> you know, they just kept telling us to scoot back, "you've got to get back behind the line." it was just chaos everywhere. at that moment i just -- i just wanted to hold my daughter. if i could have just ran inside and -- do something, myself, i would have. >> reporter: the small town of uvalde, texas, is now moving from shock to grief. and now anger. as questions linger and frustration grows, the community demanding answers about what happened that day and what took so long to confront the shooter.
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>> you're scared you'll get shot? i'll go in without a gun! i will! >> reporter: many parents criticizing law enforcement, saying officers spent more time pushing back concerned moms and dads than they did hunting down the gunman. >> that's my daughter! >> reporter: videos like this one showing just how chaotic it was. it's difficult to watch these parents in so much distress. i spoke exclusively with a neighbor who lives near the school and shot this video. what prompted you to take that video? how were the parents reacting? he knows the accused shooter's family and says they tried to intervene.
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>> reporter: the police response has been under intense scrutiny. and today a stunning revelation about how the shooter got into the school with no confrontation and how he spent more than an hour inside before officers shot him down. >> we want to know what happened, recreate the scene. that takes days. that takes hours. that takes time. >> reporter: investigators say this is a truck that the 18-year-old killer crashed near the school just before 11:30 a.m. >> he continues walking towards the school. he climbs a fence. now he's in the parking lot. shooting at the school. multiple times. >> reporter: what law enforcement says happens next contradicted what authorities had previously said.
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>> they had reported that a school district police officer confronted the suspect that was making entry. not accurate. he walked in unobstructed initially. >> reporter: video shows the gunman carrying an assault rifle as he walks through an unlocked side door into robb elementary and opens fire shortly after. >> when did you notice that something was wrong? >> um -- well, whenever the bullet came through a wall. >> reporter: 10-year-old lopez talked to my colleague, matt gutman. she was in the classroom next door. >> i just knew that there was a shooter. so i turned off the lights, everybody went under the table. >> so before the bullet came through the wall, how many of those firecracker sounds do you think you heard? >> i heard at least five or six. >> reporter: almost immediately, the school goes under lockdown. by 11:44, officers approached the school and made their way toward the sound of the gunshots. >> the initial officers, they received gunfire. we have officers calling for additional resources. tactical teams.
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so during that time, they're also evacuating personnel, students, teachers. >> reporter: by 11:55, parents have started arriving, demanding answers. law enforcement says every time they attempted to enter the classroom with the shooter, he would fire at them. sources tell abc news the uvalde police department does not have its own s.w.a.t. team and had to wait for customs and border patrol to help. >> i'm not terribly alarmed that there is imagery of folks that are on the outside that did not appear to be actively engaged in trying to seek the suspect, only because i have to assume that there were adequate resources close enough that were actively engaged in trying to do that. >> reporter: it wasn't until 12:40, a full hour after the shooter first made entry, that a tactical team heads into the building and eventually kills the gunman. >> what i fear is what were those decision points that said, no, we have to stop?
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i understand that he's still shooting, and i understand that we're a potential target out here, but we have to stop and wait until we have a tactical team to do this. that is something that is outside what active shooter training says you do. i certainly hope that the agency has a good explanation for that. >> this should not happen in uvalde. how can it happen? it shouldn't. because we care for each other. we look after each other. >> reporter: uvalde is a tight-knit, mostly mexican american community. so dealing with this tragedy is deeply personal to nearly everyone. >> it sems like everyone knows each other. >> everybody knows each other somehow. everybody's connected. the children are on the same team, soccer, baseball. >> reporter: the senior pastor at templo cristiano. we know it's 80% latino, it's a conservative town. in every way?
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>> i would say in most. in most. >> reporter: for the past few days, he's opened his doors, offering solace to anyone who might need it. >> how has the community reacted? >> with questions. it's like they're numb. it feels like a bad dream. they're going to wake up and it didn't happen. >> did you know any of the families that lost loved ones? >> there is a sister from this church that lost two nieces. my cousin lost his wife. there's another couple that comes to our church. his son was able to make it through with surgery, he came out of it. >> does it feel like close to you? >> yes. they're like family. it hurts. i mean, it just feels like, you know, like they're part of you. >> reporter: tess' family, like so many others, are waiting to say one last good-bye. >> the last thing i told her in the morning was, see her in the afternoon.
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i just need to see her. >> reporter: they say they understand just how hard that will be. >> i've got to hold her. even if it's for just one last time. >> reporter: with grief comes sad acceptance of what has happened here. for "nightline," i'm maria elena salinas in uvalde, texas. >> our hearts are in texas, and our thanks to maria elena. the wife of a wnba star detained in russia pleads for her return. why she's speaking out now. ere plaque psoriasis... the itching... the burning. the stinging. my skin was no longer mine. emerge tremfyant®.
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switch today!
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wnba star brittney griner has been detained by russia for nearly 100 days. her wife, sharelle, has remained quiet, not wanting to risk jeopardizing brittney's safety. but after the u.s. reclassified brittney as "wrongfully detained," she decided to share their story with my colleague, robin roberts. >> the first week, i laid on this couch and cried my eyeballs out. i was numb. i couldn't move. and then i said, you've got to get up now. >> reporter: wife of brittney griner, sharelle. >> this is just me and b.g. >> reporter: opening up for the first time on the wnba all-star's detainment in russia and the fight to bring her home. how did you first hear the news,
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and what was your initial reaction? >> so i first heard the news through brittney, actually. she started texting me around 2:00 a.m. that morning. babe, babe, babe, wake up, they have me in this room, i don't know what's going on. i instantly text back, who are they, and what room? and she's like, the customs people, they just grabbed me when i was going through, and they have me in this room. she sent me a message and said, they're going to take my phone don't text anymore. i'm like, call me when you can. so that was it. >> how long did it take for you to have communication with her again after that? >> we're what, 96 days? the phone call never came. >> you have been able to communicate through letters? >> sporadically here and there. i'm grateful for even that. >> reporter: on february 17th, video released by russian authorities appears to show griner going through airport security near moscow. an employee removing a package
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from the 31-year-old athlete's bag. russian state media reporting vape cartridges containing hashish oil were found, an offense punishable by up to ten years in prison. i know that you want to speak with president biden. >> absolutely. i just keep hearing that he has the power, she's a political pawn. so if they're holding her because they want you to do something, then i want you to do it. >> i know that secretary blinken has reached out to you and has communicated to you that top priority. do you feel that's the case? >> i don't know. i was grateful for the call. he says she's top priority, but i want to see it. i feel like to see it would be me seeing b.g. on u.s. soil. at this point, i don't know who i'm getting back when she comes back. >> reporter: griner is not the only american detained overseas. former u.s. marine trevor reed recently freed in a prison swap seen in this video on russian state tv.
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another marine, paul whelan, has been in russian custody since 2018. >> even though they're separate people, separate roles, no connection besides what they're going through in russia, i obviously want him back too. you don't want anybody to be there going through what they're going through. >> she had spent quite a bit of time in russia playing for the team there. what was her experience like prior to this? >> honestly, great. you know you are a g.o.a.t. and you can actually play in russia. on the team b.g. plays for, they treat them like superstars. >> has brittney ever expressed anything to you about that, about the pay inequity with the wnba, having to go play overseas? >> absolutely. b.g. would wholeheartedly love to not go overseas. she has only had one thanksgiving in the states in nine years since she's been pro. she misses all that stuff.
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just because she can't make enough money in the wnba to sustain her life. >> has it been comforting to see all the wnba courts with "bg42"? >> yes. but i think more specifically, it comforts b.g. it lets her know she's not forgotten -- obviously, you know. you're sitting over there, they haven't come to your rescue yet -- i know it makes her feel good because she doesn't want to be forgotten. >> reporter: the imprisoned griner sending a bouquet of roses before our interview. >> she had her attorneys call lindsay, her agent, and bring me roses today. because she knew it was going to be a lot. >> reporter: through heartfelt letters, her presence has been felt amidst the pain. how are you holding up during this time? >> i'm okay, because you have to be, technically. she wrote me one letter, babe, i
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know you want to go down, don't yet. because every day you wake up and the fact that you're still in that reality, it is a reason for you to lose faith and to not have hope and all of the above. it gives you so much reason to go down. i won't go down until she's back. i just won't. i can't. i can't. every single day matters for me to be here when she comes back. you know. but it's hard. it's hard. >> our thanks to robin. up next, remembering a goodfella who did a lot of bad things in some of his best films. does your plug-in fade too fast?
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♪ ♪ finally tonight, remembering ray liotta. the emmy award winner best known for playing mobster henry hill in "goodfellas" has died. >> that's all the money that we had, i was depending on that, why did you do that? >> some of hollywood's biggest names paid tribute to the star. comedian seth rogen remembering working with him as one of the great joys of his career. and "goodfellas" costar lorraine bracco tweeting, "he was the best part of making that movie." according to his publicist, liotta was in the dominican republic filming a new movie when he didn't wake up thursday morning. he is survived by daughter karsen and his fiance j.c. notola. rest in peace. that's "nightline" for tonight. watch all our full episodes on hulu.
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tune in tomorrow to our special "soul of the nation" where we'll explore authentic, powerful stories of asian americans. thanks for staying up with us. good night, america.


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