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May 25 Texas shooting news

This is Lexi Rubio, a 10-year-old victim of the Texas school shooting

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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern shares gun reform experience with US politicians

While on a visit to the US, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shared her country’s experience with gun reform in a discussion with Democratic and Republican representatives on Wednesday. 

“New Zealand had its own horrific experience, and…we made changes as a result,” Ardern said, referring to the 2019 mass casualty mosque shootings in Christchurch.
“We are a nation that has very legitimate use of guns within our society…and yet still, we were able…with almost unanimous wide support to make those changes.”

Ardern said it is not for her to tell others what to do.

“It’s not for me as the leader of a of a nation with different histories and experiences to tell other nations what they should or should not do,” adding, “I was not here to do anything more than share the experience that New Zealand has had (in) our own reform and the role it’s played.”

The Prime Minister arrived in the US earlier this week on a trade mission to support export growth and the return of tourists post-Covid-19.

Reacting to the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, while appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” an emotional Ardern said she saw the events “not as a politician,” but “as a mother,” adding she was “so sorry” for what happened.

10-year-old Tess Marie Mata identified as victim in school shooting

Tess Marie Mata, 10, has been identified as one of the victims killed at Robb Elementary, her sister told the Washington Post.

Faith Mata, a college student at Texas State University, told the Post that Tess, a fourth-grader, loved TikTok dances, Ariana Grande and the Houston Astros. 

The 10-year-old was currently saving money so that the whole family could go to Disney World, Mata said. 

“My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor. I love you always and past forever baby sister, may your wings soar higher then you could ever dream,” Mata posted on Twitter.

10-year-old Eliahana "Elijah" Cruz Torres identified as victim in school shooting

Eliahana ‘Elijah’ Cruz Torres, 10, has been identified as one of the victims killed at Robb Elementary, her aunt Leandra Vera told CNN. 

“Confirm she passed,” Vera said. “Our baby gained her wings.”

9-year-old Eliana "Ellie" Garcia identified as victim in school shooting

Eliana “Ellie” Garcia, 9, has been named as one of the victims of the shooting at Robb Elementary.

Family members confirmed to CNN affiliate KHOU.

Rogelio Lugo and Nelda Lugo, Eliana’s grandparents, told the LA Times that she was a fourth-grader at the school and the second-eldest of five girls in the family.

She loved the movie “Encanto,” cheerleading and basketball, according to her grandparents. They added that she dreamed of becoming a teacher.

Agents "didn’t hesitate" when responding to Uvalde shooting, US Border Patrol chief says

US Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz said dozens of on-duty and off-duty agents responded to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, adding that as soon as officers arrived, “they didn’t hesitate.”

“We responded from various locations. I had both on-duty, off-duty, folks that were in a training environment all responded to this location,” Ortiz said, adding between 80-100 officers responded.

Among those who responded were members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, or BORTAC, which is a specialized unit made up of highly trained officers that respond to “emergent and high-risk incidents,” according to the agency.

One agent was injured and has since been released from the hospital.

“I talked to my officers and certainly talked to the agent that was injured yesterday. Nothing prepares you for a scene like they saw and witnessed yesterday,” Ortiz said.  

Border Patrol will participate in the investigation, given its involvement.

Earlier Wednesday, Chief Jason Owens, who heads the Del Rio sector for Border Patrol, told CNN’s Mark Morales that the uniforms of the agents who responded to the scene were “covered in blood.”

“I took my agents back to the Uvalde station. I had to bring new uniforms for them to change into. This was a travesty and a tragedy on the level that few people will ever see, and nobody should have to see,” Owens said, stressing that the response was a joint law enforcement effort.

US Customs and Border Protection has a large presence in Uvalde, which is located about 60 miles from the Texas-Mexico border. Some agents had family members who attended the school, according to Owens. 

“I had agents that were responding to this scene that had kids in there that they didn’t know were okay or not. We had a couple that were impacted by this. And we had one agent that lost a granddaughter, we had others that lost extended family members,” Owens said.

10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodríguez  identified as victim in school shooting

Annabell Guadalupe Rodríguez, 10, has been identified as one of the 21 victims killed at Robb Elementary.

Family members of Annabell confirmed her identity to CNN affiliate KHOU.

She was a fourth grader at the school. Her family told KHOU that she was in the same classroom as her cousin, who was also shot and killed.

Correction: An earlier version of this post placed Annabell in the wrong grade. She was in the fourth grade.

Father of shooting victim: "I just want people to know that she just died trying to save her classmates"

Angel Garza, the father of Amerie Jo Garza, who was killed in Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper this evening that his daughter was trying to help her classmates as the attack was unfolding.

“She was just trying to do the right thing,” he said. “She was just trying to call the cops, that’s all.”

The father noted that his daughter had received a phone for her birthday two weeks ago.

“She just got her phone. She’d been wanting a phone for so long, and we finally got it for her. She just tried to call the police,” he told CNN.

Garza, who works as a med aide, learned this information while arriving on the scene to help the shooting victims. He stated that two students in the classroom confirmed that she was trying to call police when she got shot.

“One little girl was just covered in blood head-to-toe,” Garza said. “I asked her what was wrong, and she said ‘she was ok.’ She was hysterical saying they shot her best friend. ‘She’s not breathing, and she tried to call the cops.’ I asked her what’s her name and she said, she told me ‘Amerie, she said Amerie.’”

The father described his daughter, calling her “the sweetest little girl.”

“She was the sweetest little girl who did nothing wrong. She listened to her mom and dad. She always brushed her teeth. She was creative. She made things for us. She never got in trouble in school,” he said.

Watch the interview:

Officials confirm hospitalized woman at San Antonio hospital is shooter's grandmother 

The 66-year-old woman in serious condition being treated at a San Antonio hospital is the shooter’s grandmother, officials confirmed Wednesday.

According to officials, the shooter’s grandmother had been airlifted in critical condition to the hospital Tuesday after being shot by the gunman

“The first thing that happened was the gunman shot his grandmother in the face. She then contacted police. The gunman fled, and as he was fleeing had an accident just outside the elementary school and he ran into the school,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference earlier Wednesday.

In a televised CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, Sgt. Erick Estrada, a public information officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety, echoed Abbott’s comments and confirmed the 66-year-old woman is the shooter’s grandmother.

University Hospital in San Antonio declines to comment on individual patients, but in a Wednesday morning statement confirmed they were treating three children and a 66-year-old woman, who is in serious condition after being downgraded from critical condition.

Vigil underway in Uvalde for school shooting victims

A vigil is underway in the Uvalde County Fairplex for the victims of the school shooting at Robb Elementary.

With 21 dead and 17 others injured, the attack was the deadliest school shooting in almost a decade and shook a nation still reeling from a mass shooting just 10 days ago.

“Amazing Grace” was played during the vigil as members of the community wept and hugged.

Children look on during the vigil at Uvalde County Fairplex.

Watch a moment from the vigil:


More than 100 federal officers responded to Uvalde school shooting

More than 100 federal officers responded to Tuesday’s deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, according to Customs and Border Patrol.

“When it was all said and done, we had over 80 officers immediately on the scene, and then right after that, 150 or so officers converged on this area,” Customs and Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz told CNN on Wednesday.

Ortiz said those officers came from several divisions, including the Border Patrol, Air and Marine Operations and Homeland Security Investigations.

Jason Owens, who commands the Del Rio sector of the Border Patrol, told CNN the scene was incredibly disturbing.

“I took my agents back to the Uvalde section, and I had to bring new uniforms for them to change into,” Owens said. When asked why, Owens responded, “Covered in blood. What this person did was evil.”

Uvalde shooter was inside school for up to 1 hour before being killed by law enforcement, officials say

The Robb Elementary School shooter was on the premises for up to an hour before law enforcement forcibly entered a classroom and killed him, officials said Wednesday.

“It’s going to be within, like 40 minutes or something, [within] an hour,” Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw told CNN’s Ed Lavandera at a news conference. 

Rep. Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde, told CNN’s Jake Tapper he was briefed that shooter Salvador Ramos was in a standoff with law enforcement for about a half-hour after firing on students and teachers.

“And then it stops, and he barricades himself in. That’s where there’s kind of a lull in the action,” Gonzales said. “All of it, I understand, lasted about an hour, but this is where there’s kind of a 30-minute lull. They feel as if they’ve got him barricaded in. The rest of the students in the school are now leaving.”

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Sgt. Erick Estrada declined to be more specific about the timeline in a CNN interview Wednesday night.

4th-grade teacher Irma Garcia "sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom"

Irma Garcia, a fourth-grade teacher at Robb Elementary School, has been identified as a victim in Tuesday’s school shooting, CNN has confirmed through a GoFundMe site set up to raise funds for funeral expenses and family needs.

Garcia was a wife and mother to four children, the GoFundMe campaign says. “Sweet, kind, loving. Fun with the greatest personality. A wonderful 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary that was a victim in a Texas school shooting in Uvalde, Texas,” it added.

Garcia’s nephew John Martinez told the Washington Post that officials informed the family that she helped shield students from the gunfire.

“I want her to be remembered as someone who sacrificed her life and put her life on the line for her kids,” Martinez told the Washington Post on Wednesday. “They weren’t just her students. Those were her kids, and she put her life on the line, she lost her life to protect them. That’s the type of person she was.”

According to Garcia’s profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website, she had been an educator for 23 years. It was her fifth year co-teaching with Eva Mireles, who was also tragically gunned down at the elementary school.

Shooting victims’ bodies starting to be released to funeral homes for arrangements, official says

The bodies of nine victims of the Uvalde Elementary School shooting will be released to funeral homes this evening, Judge Lalo Diaz tells CNN.

Diaz is the justice of the peace for precinct 4 in Uvalde County.

The remaining 12 bodies of victims will be released either later tonight or tomorrow, Diaz said.

The body of the shooter is in another county’s morgue, Diaz noted, telling CNN that the priority is to handle the victims and then they will worry about his remains.

Daughter of teacher killed in Texas school shooting pays tribute to mother on Twitter: "Mom, you are a hero"

After Eva Mireles, a 4th grade teacher at Robb Elementary School, was killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, her daughter posted a tribute on Twitter.

“Mom, you are a hero. I keep telling myself that this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice.” The tribute reads in part, “I want to thank you mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be so proud to be your daughter. My sweet mommy, I will see you again.”

Amber Ybarra, a family member of Eva Mireles, confirmed to CNN that the tribute was from Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn.

Mireles had been an educator for 17 years, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website.

See the tweet:

Gunman dropped a bag full of ammunition before entering Texas school, official says

Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety

The gunman who shot and killed 19 children and two teachers inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, dropped a black bag full of ammunition outside of the school when he was “engaged” by the school resource officer (SRO), Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said.

When the shooter arrived at the school, he was encountered by the SRO who saw him carrying the large black bag, he told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.

“Inside that bag was actually more ammunition. He actually dropped that ammunition and ran inside the school where he barricaded himself inside one of the classrooms and unfortunately, that is where he started conducting his business of shooting innocent children, shooting the two innocent adults that were inside that classroom,” he said. 

The shooter dropped the bag during that interaction and ran inside the school, Estrada said. 

DPS is still investigating what happened during that interaction, but during an earlier conference, DPS Director Steven McCraw said that no shots were fired in that interaction.

Estrada spoke of the heartbreak in the community following the mass shooting.

“I’m a father of two children,” Estrada said. “It took me a while to even step out my vehicle and know what I was about to see inside that school.”

Here are the new details that have emerged so far about the Texas elementary school shooting

Community member Amanda Welch brings flowers to lay at Robb Elementary School on Wednesday, May 25, in Uvalde, Texas.

President Biden announced he will visit Texas “in the coming days” to meet the grieving families after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde on Tuesday.

More information has come to light about how Tuesday’s events unfolded and the lives claimed by the gunman:

The victims:

  • Lexi Rubio, 10, has been identified by her parents as one of the victims. Felix and Kimberly Rubio celebrated their daughter making the All-A honor roll and getting a good citizen award at Robb Elementary on Tuesday, shortly before the shooting. In a text message to CNN, Felix and Kimberly Rubio said, “She was kind, sweet, and appreciated life. She was going to be an all-star in softball and had a bright future whether it’s sports or academic. Please let the world know we miss our baby.”
  • Jose Flores Jr., 10, has been identified as one of the victims, his father Jose Flores Sr. told CNN. Flores said his son was in the 4th grade and loved baseball and video games. “He was always full of energy,” Flores said. “Ready to play till the night.” Flores also described his son as an amazing kid and big brother to his two siblings. 
  • Uziyah Garcia, 10, has been identified as one of the victims, his family confirmed to CNN. Uziyah was in fourth grade, his aunt Nikki Cross told CNN. His uncle, Mitch Renfro, described him as a “great kid. Full of life. Loved anything with wheels, and video games.” He leaves behind two sisters. 
  • Eva Mireles, a fourth-grade teacher, is among those killed, her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, told CNN. She had been an educator for 17 years and in her off time enjoyed running, hiking, biking and spending time with her family, according to her profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website.
  • Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old has been identified as one of the victims, his mother Felicha Martinez confirmed to the Washington Post. “He was funny, never serious and his smile,” Martinez told the paper. 
  • Amerie Jo Garza, another 10-year-old has been identified by her father as one of the children killed. Angel Garza posted to Facebook early Wednesday: “My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo. Watch over your baby brother for me,” said the father.
  • All the fatalities and injuries took place inside one classroom at Robb Elementary, officials said, and all the victims have been identified, removed from the school and families notified.
  • The two funeral homes in Uvalde will cover the cost of funerals for those who were killed Tuesday during the Robb Elementary School shooting.
  • Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) has opened a memorial fund to accept donations for those affected by the shooting.

Here’s a look at the order of events on Tuesday:

  • The 18-year-old gunman, who has been identified by officials, had shared his plans on Facebook about 30 minutes before reaching the school, Texas Gov. Abbott said. A spokesperson for Meta, formerly known as Facebook, said Wednesday these were “private one-to-one text messages,” contrary to Gov. Abbott’s assertion the gunman made the posts on Facebook.
  • He shot his grandmother in the face before heading to the elementary school. The 66-year-old grandmother made it to a nearby home and called police, said Texas public safety department Director Steven McCraw, adding she now remains hospitalized in critical condition.
  • Minutes before his deadly assault at the school, the gunman allegedly sent a series of chilling text messages to a girl in Germany he met online, saying he had just shot his grandmother and was going to “shoot up a(n) elementary school.” According to screenshots reviewed by CNN and an interview with the teenage girl, Ramos complained about his grandmother being “on the phone with AT&T abojt (sic) my phone” and then told her he had shot his grandmother in the head.
  • The gunman drove his grandmother’s vehicle about 0.29 miles, a block and a half away from Robb Elementary School. “He crashed the vehicle at that point in time. He exited with a backpack, took a rifle with him” and went to the west side of the campus, McCraw added.
  • According to McCraw, a school resource officer “engaged” with Ramos, and no gunfire was exchanged. This is when Ramos entered the school through a back door and went down the hallway to the adjoining classrooms, the director said.
  • Gov. Abbott offered additional details, saying, “Officers with the Consolidated Independent School District (ISD) approached the gunman and engaged with the gunman,” he said. “The gunman then entered a back door and then went down two short hallways and then into a classroom on the left-hand side.”
  • According to Abbott, the gunman entered a classroom, which was then connected internally to another classroom. “Border Patrol, Consolidated ISD officers, police, sheriffs and DPS officers converged on that classroom. And a Border Patrol officer killed the gunman,” Abbott said.
  • Chip King, a firefighter and city council member from Uvalde, said it took about 30 minutes after he arrived on the scene for the gunman inside the school to be neutralized by law enforcement.
  • The shooter had one rifle in his possession when he went into the school and was wearing “a tactical vest carrier with no ballistic panels,” a law enforcement official said.

The suspect:

  • The 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was from Uvalde and had attended Uvalde High School, according to Abbott.
  • Ramos legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local sporting goods store on two separate dates, and 375 rounds of ammunition on another date.
  • State Sen. Ronald Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, said the gun purchases were made for the suspect’s 18th birthday.
  • A photo of two AR-15-style rifles was posted to an Instagram account linked to the gunman three days before the shooting.
  • The shooter had a history of physically fighting with others, according to a former friend and a video obtained by CNN that depicts him repeatedly throwing punches. The former friend and classmate said Ramos sent him the video on Shapchat. He said the video, which he received more than a year ago, depicts Ramos fighting with someone else, which the former friend said was not out of the ordinary. “He would always get in fights in school,” the former classmate said, noting that he received multiple messages from Ramos that depicted fights, some in which Ramos was involved. 
  • Two additional former classmates told CNN the individual shown in the video is Ramos. The face of the other individual who was fighting Ramos is not visible in the video. Nadia Reyes, a high school classmate, told the Washington Post that she could remember about five times that Ramos got into fistfights in middle school and junior high. CNN has reached out to the Uvalde school district for more information, but received no response.

The city and the school:

  • Uvalde is about 90 miles west of San Antonio and just east of the US-Mexican border. 
  • Robb Elementary includes 2nd through 4th grades and had 535 students in the 2020-21 school year, state data shows. About 90% of the students are Hispanic, and about 81% are economically disadvantaged, according to the data.  
  • Uvalde County had a population of about 25,000 in the 2020 census. 
  • The Uvalde school district canceled the rest of its school year, which was set to end Thursday, the school’s superintendent Hal Harrell said.

Remember: Tuesday’s massacre is the deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This is at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to a CNN tally.

Supreme Court could soon loosen gun laws in its first major Second Amendment opinion in more than a decade

While the Supreme Court has been working behind closed doors on its first major Second Amendment opinion in more than a decade, three mass shootings have broken the country, including Tuesday’s massacre of 19 schoolchildren in Texas.

Closed off from public view, the justices are penning opinions and dissents in a dispute that targets one concealed carry law in New York that is more than a century old. A narrow ruling could impact only a handful of states with similar laws, but a more expansive ruling could open a new chapter in constitutional challenges to gun safety laws across the country.

“As a formal matter, the Supreme Court’s ruling on New York’s gun law doesn’t call into question gun laws restricting types of weapons or sensitive places where individuals can carry guns,” said Jacob Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University School of Law.

“But a broader ruling that changes the way courts evaluate gun laws could call into question a wider array of gun regulations like assault weapons bans and other restrictions like high-capacity magazine bans,” Charles added.

The deliberations come as the country mourns another tragedy, victims of gun violence plea for more action, and the political branches seem forever divided on a path forward.

In 2008, the Supreme Court held for the first time, that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms at home for self-defense.

After the ruling, however, to the frustration of gun rights advocates, lower courts relied upon language in the opinion to uphold many gun regulations.

“Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,” then-Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority in the Heller case.

Except for a follow-up decision two years later, the justices largely stayed away from the issue, infuriating gun rights advocates and even some of the justices themselves.

Justice Clarence Thomas declared at one point that the “Second Amendment is a disfavored right in this court.”

After Amy Coney Barrett took her seat, the court agreed to take up a new case, highlighting the impact of former President Donald Trump’s three nominees on the court.

Keep reading here.

See how US gun culture compares to the world in 5 graphics

Ubiquitous gun violence in the United States has left few places unscathed over the decades. Still, many Americans hold their right to bear arms, enshrined in the US Constitution, as sacrosanct. But critics of the Second Amendment say that right threatens another: The right to life.

America’s relationship to gun ownership is unique, and its gun culture is a global outlier.

As the tally of gun-related deaths continue to grow daily, here’s a look at how gun culture in the US compares to the rest of the world.

Read the full story and see how CNN reported it here.

Parents: What are your elementary school children feeling and asking you about the Texas school shooting?

As a parent, it can be gut-wrenching to discuss violence happening across the country with your kids, and even harder when the violence is happening in our schools. In the wake of the Texas school shooting, what questions are your school-aged children asking and how are they feeling?

Please call in with your child and leave us a voicemail at (404) 618-1992 to let us know your thoughts and what you are discussing with your children.

Each voicemail can be three minutes in length. All or part of your call may be used by CNN on television and/or digital as part of our coverage.

Please include your name, contact information and where you’re calling from. By calling in with your child, you are representing that you have authority to consent for your child’s voice and statements to be used by CNN on television and/or digital and are agreeing to such use.

Thank you for weighing in with your important perspective.

President Biden says he'll go to Texas to meet families grieving after the Uvalde school shooting

President Biden announced Wednesday that he will be traveling to Texas “in the coming days” to meet with the families mourning the loss of their loved ones after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.

“Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families, and let them know that we have a sense of their pain, and hopefully bring some little comfort to the community in shock and grief and in trauma,” Biden said at the White House during a signing event for an executive order on police reform. 

“As a nation, I think we all must be there for them. Everyone,” Biden said. “And we must ask when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to — if not completely stop — fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country.”

Echoing remarks he made shortly after returning from Asia on Tuesday, Biden said he was “sick and tired of what’s going on.”

He said “common sense” gun reform wouldn’t “prevent every tragedy,” but would still “have significant impact, and have no negative impact on the second amendment.”

“The second amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s just always been limitations.” 

“Where’s the backbone?,” he asked. “Where’s the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?”

The President said “one modest step” Congress could take immediately would be to confirm his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Steve Dettelbach, who vowed earlier Wednesday he would not be influenced by political considerations if he secures the job at a Senate confirmation hearing.

“The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse,” Biden said. “Send the nomination to my desk. It’s time for action.”

Vice President Kamala Harris also addressed the shooting as she began her remarks.

“I know that today, following yesterday, that all of our hearts, of course, are wi