May 27 Texas school massacre news

By Travis Caldwell, Seán Federico-O'Murchú, Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 4:46 a.m. ET, May 28, 2022
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9:27 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Gunman emerged from classroom closet and began shooting when Border Patrol agents entered room, source says

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

The 18-year-old man who killed 21 people in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week came out of a classroom closet and began firing when US Border Patrol agents entered the room, a source familiar with the situation told CNN.

Members of a specialized Border Patrol unit had entered the classroom, with one holding a shield followed by at least two others who engaged the shooter, according to a US Customs and Border Protection official.

The gunman is believed to have waited for the agents to enter the room, then kicked open the closet door and began shooting, the source said.

The agents had used a key to get into the classroom, opening the door while standing off to the side since the gunman had been shooting through the door, the source said.

The Washington Post first reported the detail on the gunman emerging from the classroom closet.

8:18 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

What we know about the Uvalde school police chief who decided not to send officers inside the classroom

From CNN's Curt Devine

Uvalde School District police chief Pedro "Pete" Arredondo speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, May 24.
Uvalde School District police chief Pedro "Pete" Arredondo speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, May 24. (Reuters)

The law enforcement official who made the decision not to breach the Uvalde elementary school classroom where a gunman was shooting children and teachers was the school district police chief, officials said Friday.

Col. Steven McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety director, didn't mention the official's name at a news conference Friday, but said the official made the "wrong decision" to not engage the gunman sooner.

The Uvalde School District police chief is Pedro "Pete" Arredondo.

"A decision was made that this was a barricaded subject situation," McCraw said of the incident commander's "thought process" at the time.

At the same time, children inside Robb Elementary School classrooms 111 and 112 in Uvalde repeatedly called 911 and pleaded for help, he said. They were in the middle of the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

"From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision," McCraw said of the supervisor's call not to confront the shooter. "It was the wrong decision. Period. There's no excuse for that."

Pressed by reporters whether Arredondo was on the scene during the shooting, McCraw declined to comment.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he is demanding a full accounting of what happened during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, but said he had no say in whether the school district's police chief should be fired.

"As far as his employment status is concerned, that's something that is beyond my control and I have no knowledge about," said Abbott. "Every act of all of those officials will be known and identified and explained to the public.

The official has not spoken about the shooting publicly since two very brief press statements on the day of the tragedy. CNN attempted to reach Arredondo at his home on Friday, but there was no response.

Here's what we know about the officer:

  • Arredondo is identified on the Uvalde school district website as the police chief and was introduced as the police chief at news conferences on Tuesday in the hours following the shooting at Robb Elementary.
  • At the news conferences, Arredondo stated the gunman was deceased, but provided little other information on the massacre, citing an "active investigation" and taking no questions from those gathered.
  • Arredondo has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, according to the school district, and was recently elected to a seat on Uvalde's city council.
  • A board of trustees for the school district approved Arredondo to head the department in 2020. The district's superintendent, Hal Harrell, said in a Facebook post at the time the board was "confident with our selection and impressed with his experience, knowledge, and community involvement."
  • Arredondo told the Uvalde Leader-News after his appointment he was happy to return to work in his hometown and he wanted to emphasize education and training at the police department. "We can never have enough training," he told the newspaper.
  • In March, Arredondo posted on Facebook his department was hosting an "Active Shooter Training" at Uvalde High School in an effort to prepare local law enforcement to respond to "any situation that may arise." A flyer for the event he posted stated topics covered would include priorities for school-based law enforcement and how to "Stop the Killing."
  • Arredondo previously served as a captain at a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, and in multiple roles at the Uvalde Police Department.

Read more here.

8:31 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Uvalde shooter threatened school shootings on social media app Yubo in weeks leading up to massacre, users say

From CNN's Daniel A. Medina, Isabelle Chapman, Jeff Winter and Casey Tolan

Salvador Ramos told girls he would rape them, showed off a rifle he bought, and threatened to shoot up schools in livestreams on the social media app Yubo, according to several users who witnessed the threats in recent weeks. 

But those users —all teens — told CNN that they didn’t take him seriously until they saw the news that 18-year-old Ramos had gunned down 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, this week.  

Three users said they witnessed Ramos threaten to commit sexual violence or carry out school shootings on Yubo, an app that is used by tens of millions of young people around the world.  

The users all said they reported Ramos’ account to Yubo over the threats. But it appeared, they said, that Ramos was able to maintain a presence on the platform. CNN reviewed one Yubo direct message in which Ramos allegedly sent a user the $2,000 receipt for his online gun purchase from a Georgia-based firearm manufacturer.

“Guns are boring,” the user responded. “No,” Ramos apparently replied. 

In a statement to CNN, a Yubo spokesperson said “we are deeply saddened by this unspeakable loss and are fully cooperating with law enforcement on their investigation.” Yubo takes user safety seriously and is “investigating an account that has since been banned from the platform,” the spokesperson said, but declined to release any specific information about Ramos’ account. 

Use of Yubo skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, as teens trapped indoors turned to the app for a semblance of in-person interactions. The company says it has 60 million users around the world — 99% of whom are 25 and younger — and has trumpeted safety features including “second-by-second” monitoring of livestreams using artificial intelligence and human moderators.  

Despite those safety features, the users who spoke to CNN said Ramos made personal and graphic threats. During one livestream, Amanda Robbins, 19, said Ramos verbally threatened to break down her door and rape and murder her after she rebuffed his sexual advances. She said she witnessed Ramos threaten other girls with similar “acts of sexual assault and violence.” 

Robbins, who said she lives in California and only ever interacted with Ramos online, told CNN she reported him to Yubo several times and blocked his account, but continued seeing him in livestreams making lewd comments. 

"[Yubo] said if you see any behavior that's not okay, they said to report it. But they've done nothing," Robbins said. “That kid was allowed to be online and say this.”

Robbins and other users said they didn’t take Ramos’ comments seriously because troll-like behavior was commonplace on Yubo.  

Hannah, an 18-year-old Yubo user from Ontario, Canada, said she reported Ramos to Yubo in early April after he threatened to shoot up her school and rape and kill her and her mother during one livestream session. Hannah said Ramos was allowed back on the platform after a temporary ban.  

Hannah, who requested CNN withhold her last name to protect her privacy, said Ramos’ behavior turned increasingly brazen in the last week. In one livestream, she said, Ramos briefly turned his webcam to show a gun on his bed. 

The users said they didn’t make recordings of Ramos’ threats during the livestreams.

Yubo’s community guidelines tell users not to “threaten or intimidate” others, and ban harassment and bullying. Content that “promotes violence such as violent acts, guns, knives, or other weapons” is also banned. 

Just a week before the Uvalde attack, Yubo announced an expanded age verification process that involves users taking a photo of themselves and the app using artificial intelligence to estimate their age. The platform only allows people 13 and older to sign up, and doesn’t allow users 18 and older to interact with those under 18.

Yubo, which is based in Paris, has attracted controversy since it launched in 2015 under the name Yellow, with some local law enforcement officials warning about the possibility of abuse. Police have arrested men in KentuckyNew Jersey and Florida who allegedly used Yubo to meet or exchange sexually explicit messages with kids. Last month, Indiana police investigating the 2017 murder of two teenage girls said they were seeking information about a Yubo user who had solicited nude photos of underage girls on other social media platforms.   

Ramos' disturbing social media interactions didn't only take place on Yubo. One user, a girl from Germany who met Ramos on Yubo, said she had some troubling interactions with him via text and FaceTime. The 15-year-old said she received text messages from him shortly after he shot his grandmother and before his assault at the elementary school, as CNN previously reported. 

The girl said she thought any violent or strange comments Ramos made were in jest.  

But after the shooting, she said, "I added everything up and it made sense now... I was just too dumb to notice all the signals he was giving.” 

 

6:44 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

A timeline of what occurred in the months prior to the Uvalde school massacre 

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid, Christina Maxouris and Melissa Gray

As a broken community tries to make sense of a massacre that took the lives of 19 young children and two teachers, authorities have offered shifting timelines of what happened inside the Uvalde, Texas, school.

On Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw laid out the most detailed breakdown the public has received to date about the horror that unfolded in Robb Elementary School on May 24 — and attempted to offer some answers about the way authorities responded.

Among the details we know now are: that a school officer drove right past the shooter — 18-year-old Salvador Ramos — while Ramos fired at the school; that as many as 19 officers were inside the school more than 45 minutes before the suspect was killed; that the school district police chief decided not to breach the classroom where the shooter was; and that a young girl from the class called 911 several times asking for police while authorities were right outside.

CNN created a timeline of events with information provided by McCraw, social media posts and other reporting that offers a look into what came before the shooting:

  • In September 2021, the shooter asked his sister to help him buy a gun and she "flatly refused," McCraw said.
  • The shooter was in a group chat on Instagram and in it, there was a February 28 discussion of the suspect being a "school shooter," McCraw said.
  • On March 1, the shooter had an Instagram chat with several others in which he discussed buying a gun, McCraw said. Two days later, there was another group chat in which someone said, "word on the street" was that the suspect was buying a gun. The shooter replied, "just bought something rn."
  • On March 14, the shooter wrote in an Instagram post, "10 more days." Another user replied, "'are you going to shoot up a school or something?' The shooter replied, 'no and stop asking dumb questions and you'll see,'" McCraw said.
  • On May 17 and May 20, the shooter legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local federal firearms licensee, said Texas state Sen. John Whitmire, who received a briefing from law enforcement.
  • The shooter also purchased 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18, Whitmire said, citing law enforcement.
  • State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said the purchases were made for the suspect's 18th birthday.
  • Before going to the school and committing a massacre on Tuesday, the shooter sent a series of chilling text messages to a girl he met online, according to screenshots reviewed by CNN and an interview with the girl.
  • The teen girl, who lives in Germany, said she began chatting with the shooter on a social media app earlier this month. The shooter told her that on Monday, he received a package of ammunition, she said.
  • On Tuesday morning, Ramos called her and told her he loved her, she said.
  • He complained about his grandmother being on the phone with AT&T about "my phone."
  • "It's annoying," he texted.
  • Six minutes later, at 11:21 a.m. local time, he texted: "I just shot my grandma in her head."
  • Seconds later, he said, "Ima go shoot up a(n) elementary school rn (right now)."

Read a minute-by-minute breakdown into the attack — and how authorities responded to it here.

5:59 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Texas Rep. Castro says the FBI "does not believe the shooter was motivated by a particular ideology"

From CNN's Morgan Rimmer

After asking the FBI “to produce a full, transparent, and public report on the shooting, the timeline, and the response by law enforcement,” Rep. Joaquin Castro, Democrat from Texas, tweeted that the FBI “does not believe the shooter was motivated by a particular ideology” and worked alone. He added that “the shooter was not on the FBI’s radar prior to the massacre.”

Castro wrote that the FBI has “mobilized extensive investigative resources to examine the timeline of events,” that they are “working alongside but independent of” Texas law enforcement, and that they are analyzing the shooter’s digital footprint to “build a clear timeline” around the shooting.

He also noted that “specialists from the FBI’s Victim Services Response Team will process all items in the school” that belong to the survivors of the shooting as well as its victims before returning them.

“Like most Texans and Americans, I’m deeply frustrated by the conflicting accounts that state authorities have provided about how events unfolded, and I’m disturbed by law enforcement’s failure to confront and stop the shooter sooner,” he said, adding that he will “press for answers” on if law enforcement knew about the danger the shooter posed before Tuesday.

6:44 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Gov. Abbott declines to say whether Uvalde school district's police chief should keep job after shooting

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he is demanding a full accounting of what happened during the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, but noted that he had no say in whether the school district’s police chief should be fired.

“As far as his employment status is concerned, that’s something that is beyond my control and I have no knowledge about,” Abbott said.

The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety identified Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arrendondo Friday as the official who served as the incident commander and the person who made the decision for officers to wait and not breach the classroom where the gunman was located.

Arredondo has not spoken about the shooting publicly since two very brief press statements on the day of the tragedy.

“Every act of all of those officials will be known and identified and explained to the public,” Abbott said.

6:05 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to NRA: "We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Houston, Texas, on Friday.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention in Houston, Texas, on Friday. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rejected any new gun control measures in his speech Friday at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Houston, saying instead that schools need single points of entry with multiple armed police officers or retired military members positioned there. 

“Ultimately, as we all know, what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys,” Cruz said. 

He later added: “We must not react to evil and tragedy by abandoning the Constitution or infringing on the rights of our law-abiding citizens.”

Cruz accused those advocating for new gun control measures in the wake of the Uvalde elementary school shooting of “demagoguing” and “virtue-signaling.” 

He said that “there have been too damn many of these killings; we must act decisively to stop them.” But he also said that gun control advocates proposals “wouldn’t have stopped these mass murders, and they know this.” 

Cruz also blamed a host of what he described as cultural problems for the increase in mass shootings. He pointed to “broken families, absent fathers, declining church attendance, social media bullying, violent online content, desensitizing the act of murder in video games, chronic isolation, prescription drug and opioid abuse” as among those problems. 

“It’s a lot easier to moralize about guns and to shriek about those you disagree with politically, but it’s never been about guns,” Cruz said. 

“It’s far easier to slander one’s political adversaries and to demand that responsible citizens forfeit their constitutional rights than it is to examine the cultural sickness giving birth to unspeakable acts of evil,” he said. 

5:24 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

Abbott says he expects new laws to be passed after Uvalde massacre, focusing on health care

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he "absolutely" expects laws to be passed following the deadly Uvalde school shooting, focusing on health care and not gun legislation.

He also again cited Texas' history when answering a question about 18-year-olds being able to purchase an AR-15.

"None of the laws that I signed this past session had any intersection with this crime at all. No law that I signed allowed him to get a gun, the gun that he did get. And so, again, there was nothing about the laws from this past session that has any relevancy to the crime that occurred here," he said during a news conference.

As for the possibility of a special session, "all options are on the table," he said.

"Do we expect laws to come out of this devastating crime? The answer is absolutely yes. There will be laws in multiple different subject areas," Abbott said.

The governor said every law passed in the aftermath of the 2018 Santa Fe shooting will be "completely revisited" by officials.

"You can expect robust discussion, and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state. There is an array of health care issues we face as a state in general, but there are an array of health care issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes in particular," Abbott said.

"The status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We're not going to be here talking about it and do nothing about it. We will be looking for the best laws that we can get passed to make our communities and schools safer," he added.

The governor was also asked: "Would you consider at least a ban on an 18-year-old being able to buy an AR-15?"
He responded: "So for a century and a half, 18-year-olds could buy rifles, and we didn't have school shootings. But we do now. Maybe we're focusing our attention on the wrong thing."

Abbott canceled his in-person appearance at the National Rifle Association conference in Houston, but did record a video that was shown prior to his briefing.

5:39 p.m. ET, May 27, 2022

"I was misled": Texas governor says he's "livid" about receiving inaccurate information regarding shooting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at a news conference with state agencies and local officials at Uvalde High School, on Friday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at a news conference with state agencies and local officials at Uvalde High School, on Friday. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he was "misled" about certain information that he was given by law enforcement officials leading the investigation into the deadly school shooting in Uvalde.

"I was misled. I am livid about what happened. I was on this very stage two days ago, and I was telling the public information that had been told to me in a room just a few yards behind where we're located right now. I wrote down hand notes in detail about what everybody in that room told me in sequential order about what happened. And when I came out here on this stage and told the public what happened, it was a recitation of what people in that room told me — whether it be law enforcement officials or non-law enforcement officials, whatever the case may be," Abbott said during a news conference Friday in Uvalde.

"And as everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I'm absolutely livid about that," he said.

He said he expects authorities leading the investigation to "get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty" about the shooting.

More background: During a Friday news conference, Texas Department of Public Safety Col. Steven McCraw said the school district on-scene commander's decision to not have officers immediately try to breach the classroom and confront the gunman was "wrong." The Texas official said the commander at the time believed that the situation had "transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject."

While officers waited outside adjoining classrooms at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, children inside the room repeatedly called 911 and pleaded for help, he said.

The damning revelation explained the lengthy wait between when officers first arrived to the school at 11:44 a.m. local time and when a tactical team finally entered the room and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m. local time. The tactical team was able to enter using keys from a janitor, McCraw said.