tv ABC World News Tonight With David Muir ABC May 27, 2022 3:30pm-4:00pm PDT
3:00 on air and on live stream answering your questions world news tonight with david mirrors next. i'll see tonight, authorities revealing a staggering list of law enforcement failures responding to the deadly elementary school shooting in uvalde, texas. in stunning detail the visibly shaken texas director of public safety admitting the incident commander at robb elementary held police back believing no more children were at risk. 911 calls still coming from inside the classroom whispered voices including children, pleading, please send police now. all while as many as 19 officers were right there outside the classroom holding their position. the director calling that the wrong decision, period. authorities now offering minute-by-minute details about how this all unfolded. no security officer on the grounds. a school door left propped open. the gunman carrying dozens of magazines firing at least 100 rounds in the opening moments.
border patrol agents taking down the shooter ending the terror inside classrooms 111 and 112 about 77 minutes after it began. governor greg abbott late today claiming he was misled and he's absolutely livid. new images tonight of children escaping out windows, powerful reactions coming in from the families of the victims. the community saying they are sick and angry. learning police were outside the classroom but didn't go in. those 911 calls from inside the room that were not passed on to officers at the scene. mireya villarreal with the c chilling story from a child about playing dead so he wouldn't get shot saying the gunman told the students, you're all going to die. new details about missed warning signs, authorities say the suspect, 17 at the time, asking his sister to buy him a gun last september. alarming instagram chats about buying guns, someone asking, are you going to shoot up a school and how he responded.
massive protests outside today's nra convention in houston. former president trump speaking at the event. several other top republicans canceling appearances. what some insiders saying about changing gun laws and tonight where things stand in washington on the debate over gun reform. rachel scott in houston. severe storms threatening travel plans as the memorial day weekend gets under way. powerful thunderstorms slamming the carolinas into the northeast. rob marciano timing it out. the soaring prices making this one of the most expensive holidays to travel on record. good evening. great to have you with us this friday night. i'm whit johnson in for david tonight. we begin with heart-wrenching new revelations about the shootingal robb elementary school in uvalde, texas. the stunning admission that officers were inside the building and a tactical team was
standing by for the better part of an hour before they were allowed to take the gunman down, the incident commander believing no more children at risk. the department of public safety visibly shaken conceding that holding back those officers was the wrong decision. the new details adding to the pain and the loss, law enforcement looking at this video now. the gunman entering through a door, a teacher had left it open. and we've learned there were calls to 911 from inside the besieged classroom. one child whispering, please send police now. even as at least 19 officers were there in the hallway. those officers helping to clear the building getting teachers and students out. some children escaping through a window and running away. you can see the fear on their faces. and every day now we learn more about the 19 students and their two teachers who did not survive. tonight many families asking, could more have been done to save lives? abc's chief national correspondent matt gutman leading us off in uvalde
tonight. >> reporter: tonight, in that chaotic press conference -- hey, stand by. i got it. >> reporter: we learn about the fateful decision not to breach that classroom door and end a massacre. >> from the benefit of hindsight, where i'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision. it was the wrong decision. period. >> reporter: texas' top sworn officer saying the commander on the scene broke the basic rules of engagement when he decided the gunman was not an active shooter but a barricaded subject, holding dozens of officers b >> based upon the information we have, there wek.re children ina that classroom that were at risk, and it was, in fact, still an active shooter situation and not a barricaded subject. texas embraces active shooter training and that doctrine requires officers -- we don't care what agency you're from, you don't have to have a leader on the scene. every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where those rounds are being fired at and keep shooting until the subject is dead, period. >> reporter: and now we learn that it was 77 minutes of terror.
it was a teacher who left a school door propped open when she went to retrieve a phone. police say six minutes later the gunman walking in through that open door seen in that video police are studying. he heads to two connected classrooms, firing over 100 rounds. two minutes later, three officers on the en e ortiz flips on his camera. fiserst ki cover behind a vehicle. did you tell them to go in? >> i was yelling, like, "why don't you guys go in? why don't you guys go in?" >> reporter: more officers join, they enter the school. the suspect relentlessly firing. two officers are grazed by gunfire. on the street outside, parents start to arrive, frantic as children inside are being shot. >> you know that there are kids, right? they're little kids. they don't know how to defend themselves. >> reporter: just after noon, there were 19 officers in that hallway, many of them with long guns. at that very moment, a string of desperate 911 calls started to come in from those two classrooms.
in one room, multiple students were dead, but eight or nine were alive. >> she hung up when another student told her to hang up. >> reporter: by that time, a border patrol tactical team was on the scene with shields, but local police told them to hold off from confronting the gunman. who was responsible for making that decision not to breach the classroom? if cbp was here at 12:15 p.m., was it them? >> the chief of police. he was convinced at the time that there was no more threat to the children, and that the subject was barricaded, and that they had time. >> reporter: at the same time, officers evacuating children through the back of the school, while students still trapped in those classrooms, calling 911 and begging for help for 47 minutes. >> she told 911 that he shot the door. at approximately 12:43 and 12:47 she asked 911 to please send the police now. >> reporter: border patrol tactical team finally breaching the classroom at 12:50 p.m. investigators found that he had brought over 1,000 rounds of ammunition to the school. the director of public safety, choking up, adding that the
failures began long before tuesday's raand e cike it is.s. it is tragic. quite frankly, i mean, there shouldn't be anybody here, ideally, we'd be able to, you know, identify this guy as a suspect and address it before he even thought about attacking. >> reporter: and tonight, governor abbott would presented with more than one press conference with inaccurate information saying he was misled and saying the parents deserve answers. . >> they deserve answers. they're demands answering. matt u. as part of the ongoing investigation of tuesday's massacre you're learning texas authorities are conducting a review of the law enforcement response. >> reporter: that's right, whit. the investigation will likely focus on multiple suspected failures starting with that school resource officer who initially drove right by the gunman on this street.
why that school wasn't immediately put on lockdown, whether 911 call information was properly relayed to officers here on the scene and, of course, the biggest question about that police chief, why he decided to hold dozens of officers back for over an hour and end that rampage. whit. >> all right, matt, thank you. the texas dps chief confirming what many parents there in uvalde were so anguished about, that massive delay in storming the classroom. some families wondering if more lives could have been saved and the chilling new revelations from children who survived. how one boy says he played dead so he wouldn't get shot. here's abc's mireya villarreal. >> reporter: tonight, outrage and anguish in uvalde. the community stunned to learn police were outside the classroom, waiting 77 minutes before going in, believing there were no surviving children inside with the shooter. >> i'm sick. i'm sick. i want to throw up. i'm angry. >> reporter: today, authorities saying terrified children were calling 911 from inside the school.
letting them know children were still alive and pleading for help. >> it's absolutely insane that any police would delay entering when an armed shooter -- yes, an active shooter is in a school with children that cannot protect themselves. so much more could have been done. >> reporter: authorities reading aloud the logs of those devastating 911 calls. >> she identified herself and whispered she's in room 112, advised there were multiple dead. she's called back and said there's eight to nine students alive. >> reporter: samuel salinas and noah orona were best friends and inside that classroom, pictured together less than an hour before the shooting at an awards ceremony. samuel remembers the gunman's words to the class. >> when he went in the classroom he said you're all going to die and starting shooting people. >> reporter: he said he knew he had to play dead to stay alive. >> he shot my teacher then he shot the kids. i was playing dead so he wouldn't shoot me. >> reporter: 19 of his fourth
grade classmates would die, along with two teachers. >> i kind of don't feel safe going to school, and i feel hurt and sometimes at night, i have nightmares too. >> reporter: his best friend, noah, shot in the back with the bullet coming out of his shoulder. his father oscar racing to the school to find him after hearing about the shooting. panicked, they texted noah's teacher, but no response ever came, and then the call from the hospital. >> i just put my hand on his head, and i held him as tight as i could, and i kissed his forehead, and i told him, "hey, you know, i'm so proud of you." i said, "you're -- you're a brave man." and his thing was, "dad," he goes, "my clothes is ruined. i'm sorry. they're full of blood." you know, i was just -- it was gut wrenching. >> reporter: so many grieving families now starting to plan funerals for their children. jose flores was just 10. his grandfather heartbroken. >> when he died, i died with him. >> reporter: nicholas salazar
remembering his 11-year-old sister, layla. >> we're just glad that we gave her the best life we could while she was here. there was never a dull day with her. >> reporter: and ana rodriguez, with one hope for her 11-year-old daughter, maite. >> i don't want her just to be another face. i don't want any of those kids to be just another face. each one of them has a story to tell, and this just horrendous act. >> that is the hope, the plea these faces, these names will not be forgivening. mireya villarreal joining us from outside the san antonio hospital where 10-year-old noah is recovering and, mireya, authorities saying today one of those children who called 911 survived. >> reporter: you know, whit, law enforcement did admit today that at least one of those 911 calls did come from a survivor inside one of those classrooms. families tell me right now they are going through a lot of different emotion, sadness, anger, frustration but more than
anything there is a lot of confusion right now. parents of the survivors telling me they do not know how they can send their children back to school without getting some truth and clarity right now. whit. >> they'll need support for a long time to come, thank you. we're learning more about potential missed warning sign, things that the gunman reportedly said on social media including posts and conversations he had about buying weapons. one of his contacts even asking him if he planned to shoot up a school. here's abc's chief justice correspondent pierre thomas. >> reporter: tonight, devastating signals missed. among the first warning signs? the accused shooter trying to illegally obtain a gun as a 17-year-old last september. >> ramos asked his sister to help him buy a gun. she flatly refused. >> reporter: then beginning in february, the suspect has a series of disturbing apparently private conversations with a small group on instagram pointing to a potential massacre.
>> he had stampeded a group chat, and it was discussed that ramos being a school shooter. >> reporter: days later, salvador ramos again trying to illegally obtain a gun as a juvenile. >> on march 3rd, 2022, there's another four-person chat, quotation, word on the street, you are buying a gun. ramos replied, "just bought something." >> reporter: later the conversation sounding more dire. >> on march 14th, there was an instagram posting by the subject in quotations, ten more days. the user replied, "are you going to shoot up school or something?" the subject replied, "no, and stop asking dumb questions, and you'll see." >> reporter: but that's exactly what he would do. the suspect's mother pleading. [ speaking foreign language ] >> reporter: to the innocent children who died, forgive me.
tonight police in texas are trying to find out who participated in those private chats on instagram. among the critical questions, what else, if anything, did they know about the shooter's plans and mindset and did they ever contact police? meta's instagram parent company says they're working with police on the investigation. tonight just days after the school shootering, the nra has opened its annual convention in houston. mounted police on patrol between the convention center massive crowd of protesters who gathered nearby. several speakers and performers canceled appearances in the wake of the shooting. but former president trump still chose to attend. abc's rachel scott is there. >> reporter: tonight, nearly 300 miles from the scene of the uvalde massacre, protesters descending on houston as the national rifle association kicked off its annual meeting. why'd you decide to come out? >> because my daughter is a teacher, and she had to learn to pack bullet wounds in her
classroom in order to teach. she is in a classroom, and i fear for her life every day, every day. >> reporter: inside the nra convention, attendees saying guns aren't the issue. theresa wakefield, a gun owner and grandmother of 13, says after uvalde, lawmakers should reconsider the legal age to buy a gun. >> why should you be able to buy weapons at 18? it's heartbreaking, but guns don't kill people, people kill people. the guns didn't jump on the truck, the guns didn't run to the school, the guns didn't do it. that young boy did. >> reporter: in the hours before the meeting began, several high-profile republicans backing out of appearances, texas senator john cornyn and texas lieutenant governor dan patrick. texas governor greg abbott also not appearing in person, choosing instead to send a prerecorded video message.
still senator ted cruz taking the stage and then headliner former president trump. >> the existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens who know how to use their weapon and can protect a lot of people. the existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens. [ applause ] >> reporter: back in washington, the senate does plan to hold a hearing addressing gun violence and children. as for those bipartisan taubs on gun control legislation, well, congress is out on recess but that group does plan to speak by phone and by zoom. protesters here hope that they do not lose the urgency, whit. >> rachel scott, our thanks to you tonight. turning now to the other news this friday night, severe weather for millions as holiday travel ramps up. powerful storms slamming the carolinas into the northeast, damage from a possible tornado and bedford county, virginia. more than a canceled. dangerous driving on the roads as well here's abc's transportation correspondent gio benitez.
>> reporter: tonight, powerful storms targeting the east coast with torrential rain and strong winds. tornado warnings near philadelphia. >> you've got a good three minutes to take cover there in the lowest part of your home. >> reporter: as 47 million take to the roads and skies. in bedford county, virginia, this morning, at least three people injured, homes torn apart by a possible tornado. at the airports, more than a thousand flights canceled on the busiest flying weekend so far this year. the tsa expects to screen 2.1 million passengers a day at airports across the county, at or even a little more than prepandemic levels. and that's despite ticket prices averaging 30% higher than last year. $394 round trip, combine that with all-time record gas prices, the national average nearly $4.60 a gallon. and it's shaping up to be one of the most expensive memorial day weekends ever. >> reporter: and, whit, here on the roads the best time to start
your drive is tonight after 9:00 p.m. or before 10:00 tomorrow morning. >> right to rob marciano, rob, dangerous storms are moving through quickly. >> reporter: yeah, we just had the line move through the new york metro area and had intense winds, the most damaging, six dozen reports over parts of the mid-atlantic. we have another severe thunderstorm watch that's posted for virginia, even a couple of tornado warnings in there as the upper low has to swing through so this will take time to get through and i think a good chunk of the northeast will still be in unsettled weather tomorrow. after that heat the heat dome builds in and nearly everybody east of the mississippi will endure temperatures that will be to degrees above average come memorial day. whit. >> all right, rob, thank you. overseas tonight, russia is making incremental gains in the eastern donbas region. ukraine begging the u.s. for more powerful missile systems. ukrainian troops facing a long odds pushing back assault in a key town in the
donetsk area. president zelenskyy saying he is willing to meet with vladimir putin if it would end the war and get life back to normal but that in three years, putin has never been willing to talk about ending the conflict. when we come back here, the deadly house explosion in pennsylvania. five people killed. what we're now learning about the victims. the brush fire in florida. homes destroyed. families evacuated. psoriatic arthritis, made my joints stiff, swollen, painful. emerge tremfyant®. tremfya® is approved to help reduce joint symptoms in adults
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day weekend, america's thoughts are also with a grieving community. mourners writing messages to victims at the memorial in uvalde's town square. eliahana torres, forever in my heart. xavier lopez, to infinity and beyond. mommy loves you and to teacher irma garcia you are truly a hero, always watching over your kids. president biden planning to visit on sunday. thanks so much for joining us tonight and a reminder "soul of a nation: together as one" airs at 8:00 eastern tonight and streaming on hulu tomorrow. i'm whit johnson. have a good if if building a by
area moving forward finding a by solutions. this is abc 7 news. at the school at 11:50. they breached the door using keys. they killed the suspect. police now say they made the wrong decision after waiting to engage that shooting suspect in texas. mistakenly. thinking the children were no longer in danger the course. it was not the right decision. it was the wrong decision period
there's no no excuse for that. and without we say good afternoon and thanks for joining us. i'm larry beale and i'm kristen zee new questions about the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers in uvalde, texas today authorities reveal new details about the timeline of the initial police response abc news reporter morgan norwood. has that timeline. this afternoon texas department of safety officials admitting that officers who first responded to rob elementary should have acted sooner to take down the and authorities say the incident commander believed he was no longer dealing with an active shooter, but a barricaded subject and that the children were no longer at risk. hey from the benefit of where i'm sitting now. the course it was not the right decision. it was the wrong decision period authorities now saying that it appears that the gunman got into the school from a door that was propped open by a teacher and was never confronted by a school resource officer before entering the building. that officer was not on scene