Deadly mass shooting at Texas Elementary School. Texas DPS: at least 19 children, 2 teachers killed in Texas school shooting. Biden makes plea for action on guns after deadly Texas school shooting. Sen. Murphy calls on colleagues to pass gun legislation. December marks 10 years since Sandy Hook massacre. Biden orders flags to half-staff after school shooting.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Senator Chris Murphy gets tonight`s Last Word. The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Hi there. I`m Stephanie Ruhle, it has happened again. Tonight our nation is grieving as yet another American community is devastated. Their hearts ripped open by another mass shooting, this a massacre.
Here`s what we know right now. At least 19 children and two teachers have been murdered after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. These school kids were looking forward to classes ending on Thursday, the second, third and fourth graders that means they were between the ages of seven and 11 years old are just two days away from their summer break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they`re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now. And the State of Texas is in mourning with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Tonight, the New York Times describes the terrifying experience of one parent who rushed to the school searching for his child. "Ryan Ramirez could not find his daughter, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary, when he showed up at the school and at a reunification point at a civic center. "Nobody`s telling me anything,` he told KSAT in San Antonio, adding, `I`m trying to find out where my baby`s at."
Among today`s victims was Eva Morales. The Times says she was a teacher of 17 years and her aunt tells the paper, she was killed by the gunman as she was trying to shield her fourth graders. Authorities say officers killed the 18 year old suspect at the scene. They say the shooter lived in a small town and attended a nearby High School. According to the police, he walked into the elementary school with a handgun and a rifle.
Tonight, President Biden has ordered the flags at the White House and on public buildings lowered to half-staff. Today`s carnage comes just 10 days after the deadly attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, where 10 people were murdered. Some of them not even buried yet.
This evening, just hours before returning home from a trip to Asia, hour -- excuse me, this evening, hours after the President returned from a trip to Asia. He spoke to the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away. There`s a hollowness in your chest, and you feel like you`re being sucked into it. Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God`s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbies? It`s time to turn this pain into action. For every parent, for every citizen in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Today`s tragedy in Texas is far too similar to the massacre almost 10 years ago. We all remember at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. And this afternoon that states Chris Murphy took to the Senate floor to plead with his Republican colleagues to help end gun violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Our kids are living in fear, every single time they set foot in a classroom because they think they`re going to be next. What are we doing?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: NBC News Correspondent, Texas Native Garrett Haake is live in Uvalde tonight. Garrett, you`re at the Civic Center. This is where families are reuniting with their children. At this point, does every parent know where his or her child is?
GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Stephanie, I wish I could say that they did. This is a place that earlier this afternoon was a place of relief for a lot of families. Kids were taken from the school, brought here, they could be reunited with their family and there was joy where I`m standing. Tonight, there is no place more miserable in a city that is consumed with misery right now than at this Notification Center because the families that are here now are basically preparing themselves for the news that their child won`t be coming home. They`re conducting DNA tests. They`re trying to get positive identification on kids and every couple of minutes or so over the last hour and a half, this evening. Some family has come out of the doors behind me in tears. Their life forever changed. It is incredibly sad experience to be a part of. And it`s, you know, this is a community that is so small everyone is going to know someone. There are so many friends and relatives of the people who`ve been waiting out here standing among reporters all of us just waiting for news that`s going to change these family`s lives forever. It is truly an awful thing to behold.
RUHLE: Why does the number of deaths keep going up? Are you getting these notifications from the hospital? People who are there? Or is it inside the school more bodies that weren`t accounted for?
HAAKE: I suspect it`s probably a combination of the ladder of bodies being discovered in the school, which is still an active crime scene. Also, the hospital here in Uvalde is quite small. It was the first place we went to when we got into town. This afternoon, there were 14 patients treated there. 11 of them children. But five of those were very quickly transferred to other hospitals. We`re about 90 miles from San Antonio. They`ve got much more adept trauma centers there. There`s military hospitals there. So it`s possible that we`re also seeing are some of those folks who couldn`t be treated by the medical staff at these small community hospitals transferred to these trauma centers where they hope for better outcomes and are not finding them, Stephanie.
RUHLE: I mentioned it before, the shooter who entered the school with a rifle and a handgun. Do we yet know if it was an assault style rifle?
HAAKE: That is the operating assumption here but I don`t think that the official make and model of the weapon have been confirmed. I mean, what we`ve heard described by DPS is a shooter who can better arm than the law enforcement that were there to try to stop them, a shooter with a rifle, you -- in this context, we assume that is an assault rifle, but again, it has not been clarified, and wearing body armor and this was a person who came prepared to do the maximum amount of damage, Stephanie, as has been the ammo, frankly, in so many of these shootings we`ve seen in other communities across the country.
RUHLE: Garrett Haake, thank you. You will be with us for the rest of tonight. Please come back as you have any, any updates. I appreciate it.
With that, let`s bring in our leadoff panel. This evening, Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, Julian Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He`s also the former HUD Secretary and a 2020, Democratic Candidate for President, and Matthew Watkins, Managing Editor for The Texas Tribune.
Julian, this is your home state, it is almost impossible for all of us to grasp what is happening there tonight. I want you to give us your thoughts. This is your town, this is your city, in just a couple of days, there`s going to be a huge NRA event in Texas that the governor is speaking at. What is this like for Texas?
JULIAN CASTRO, FORMER MAYOR OF SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Well, unfortunately, this is the result, I think of a state that has made it very, very easy over the last two decades, especially to get a hold of guns. Just recently, Greg Abbott and Texas leadership, the legislature passed constitutional carry basically anybody over the age of 18, without training, without a permit can go and get a gun. They instituted open carry in any number of different measures that have celebrated this gun culture and have refused even basic common sense gun safety reforms have actively oppose them. And that also goes for the two senators, Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz.
Look, Uvalde is a town of only about 20,000 people, a small town of hardworking folks, people know each other. There are a lot of guns in that town, people enjoy hunting around Uvalde and that area of Texas, they have weapons to protect themselves. But whether you`re talking about people in Uvalde or other parts of the state or nation, they don`t support this guy being able to get a military style assault weapon if that`s what we find that he had. And I think that it`s probably right now, a good bet that that`s what he used because he was able to kill and injure so many people so quickly, like we`ve seen in other incidents where these AR-15s and similar weapons are used. And so it`s a moment of real sadness in this state, that we`re living in this culture that is perpetuated by leaders who have no concern for the safety of children or schools under these circumstances.
RUHLE: But then here`s what makes me scratch my head because our leaders, our political leaders, basically do what voters ask or tell them to, if the majority of people are not OK, with assault style weapons, why doesn`t anything ever change?
CASTRO: Well, I mean, look at how Americans stand on universal background checks. Almost 90% of Americans support universal background checks, and yet you have Mitch McConnell and Republicans in the Senate. And let`s be honest, a couple of Democrats also who have refused essentially to expand background checks to make them universal, a large number of the transactions happen in this state happen at gun shows or in other ways that are covered by loopholes so no background check appears.
Yes, the only way that we can make change in this democracy is for people to stand up, to speak out, to vote. But there have been instances where the power of lobbyists here, the gun lobby is very, very difficult to overcome, even when the overwhelming majority of people want a policy change. We saw that after Newtown, so many of us thought that finally, after we saw 26 children murdered in cold blood by that shooter, something was going to change. It didn`t. My only hope tonight, Stephanie, for the victims of this tragedy for my home community and for our country, as this time is different. And we make change happen.
RUHLE: Frank, there`s no lobbyists inside that school tonight. There are children that were brutally killed, teachers, possibly other staff, we don`t even know and devastated parents waiting outside. Explain to us what is happening inside that crime scene? What is going on? It`s almost unfathomable, that hours later, so many parents still don`t know.
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: The first priority is identification of the bodies and being able to positively determine that this victim belongs to this parent, this family. And it may seem like a long time, Stephanie, and this may seem gruesome, but we need to understand that the weapons, the kind of weapons we`re talking about, we allow an 18-year-old to purchase their weapons of war, they`re made to maim, to sever limbs and arteries and ultimately, to kill. And when they`re used against 7, 8, 9-year-old children, there`s a devastating impact on the human body that even precludes easy identification by a parent.
And so don`t be surprised to hear that parents may be asked to provide DNA samples so that they can positively be matched to a child, they might otherwise not be able to even recognize. That`s the nature of the devastation. That`s the nature of the weapons that we allow on the street every day.
RUHLE: Weapons of war, Matthew, this was not a mass shooting. It was a massacre. What more do you know?
MATTHEW WATKINS, TEXAS TRIBUNE MANAGING EDITOR: That will, I mean, I think there`s a lot that remains to be answered exactly how this went down. You know, we -- there has been very little information about the gunman so far. And then also a lot to learn about the state`s responses, the Secretary mentioned, you know, there`s a lot of calls for change after these kinds of shootings occur. But these kinds of shootings are not unusual in Texas, unfortunately. I mean, we`ve seen this happen in Santa Fe outside Houston. We`ve seen it happen in Dallas and Odessa, Midland and El Paso and Sutherland Springs, each time there`s a call for change to gun laws and things like that. But, and even we`ve seen our Republican leadership at times be open to things like red flag laws, or beefing up background checks. We heard our lieutenant governor after the El Paso shooting say that we need to, you know, be more resistant to the NRA, the gun lobby in the state of Texas. But ultimately, when the legislature met again, after this two most recent shootings, very little happened, and they ended up loosening gun laws. So I think we`re going to see a lot of conversation around here, but how much will be different remains to be seen.
RUHLE: I want to share what we heard today from Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: There`s no doubt we need to do more to keep children in school safe. We know from past experience that the most effective tool for keeping kids safe is arm law enforcement on the campus. Inevitably, when there`s a murder of this kind. You see politicians trying to -- try to politicize it. You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: OK, I got a two part. But Julian, I`m going to go to you first. If this was an airplane crash, and this was about keeping people safe, it would have grounded the plane by now. Remember the Boeing 737 Max two crashes, boom, grounded until they figured out how do we keep people safe? Why does that never apply here?
CASTRO: Because politicians like Ted Cruz are bought and paid for by the NRA. Because Ted Cruz and his colleagues, his Republican colleagues don`t have the moral courage to do the right thing. They see their political future is tied to this gun lobby and to people who support it to these gun manufacturers. And they`re perfectly fine. Taking these little children as casualties so that they can continue to move up politically. Even though again, 90% of Americans want them to at least do background checks. This is also part of their effort to distract and deflect and let the emotion cooled off a little bit in the coming days and weeks and then nothing gets done.
The truth is that this is a uniquely American phenomenon. More guns don`t make us more safe, they make us less safe.
RUHLE: What about the fact that we have guns and they`re not keeping us safe, Frank? A Texas Department of Public Safety Officer told CNN earlier tonight that law enforcement was there. They did engage with the shooter. And still he made his way in and he shot into classroom after classroom. So how do you make the argument that a good guy with a gun could change anything? There was a security guard in Buffalo, there was one in Parkland?
FIGLIUZZI: That it doesn`t support what Senator Cruz tried to sell to the public today, it`s just not there, in fact, the FBI statistics have come out in a report just yesterday on last year`s active shooting incidents, and on all of them, there are over 60 of them with over 100 people were killed in those, in only four of those instances did citizens engaged with weapons. That`s it. And so there`s no evidence of that. And in fact, the notion that you would arm teachers with minimal training, there`s no way they can fulfill their teaching students and get the kind of training a police officer has, you`re simply introducing more guns into a school setting. And tragedy is bound to happen with that, as you said, even highly trained police officers and agents get it wrong much of the time with regards to their use of deadly force. And it didn`t work in Buffalo. It didn`t work here until ultimately, they were able to take this guy down.
He had body armor on. You can purchase body armor legally. That seems to be a bit of a little bit of a trend that`s developing so did the shooter in Buffalo have body armor. People have extended magazines that are often illegal. The police are outmanned arming teachers putting more cops in schools. The cops responded in a heartbeat. There were cops at Parkland, as you said, in the Stoneman Douglas shooting didn`t help at all.
RUHLE: Matthew, generally speaking what do Texas teachers want? Our public schools in this country are massively underfunded. Teachers aren`t even given enough resources to pay for books and school supplies. This notion, what are they supposed to keep an AR-15 in their drawer next to a slide rule and a protractor?
WATKINS: Sure, well, after a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, there was a big effort among Texas lawmakers to do what they called hardening schools. And that included, you know, allowing teachers to carry weapons, be trained as marshals to stop these shootings. There are places in Texas where you can go where there`s basically live active shooting, you know, resources, training for teachers and other educators where they can, you know, essentially using paint balls to practice in these types of scenarios. But you see, the number of teachers who actually sign up to do this who want to be armed in the classroom or want those kinds of resources is pretty limited. I mean, teachers are fairly diverse in their, you know, ideology across the state. There are some people who certainly, you know, support looser gun laws. There are many others, you know, including many teacher groups who have called for the state to do more to protect their classrooms and to protect Texans in this way.
RUHLE: The only thing getting hardened in schools are these poor young children another day, watching school children walk out, run out with their hands behind their heads.
Before we go, I have to -- I can`t believe I`m asking this. But Julian, I saw this tweet earlier today after the shooting. That said Border Patrol also on the scene. I pray for those parents fearing that their kids are dead, and debating whether or not they`ll be arrested, if they go in to find out. How real is that complicated fear?
CASTRO: Well, I mean, it`s a real fear that immigrants have, undocumented immigrants may have, if that`s their status, here in Texas, the governor, the lieutenant governor, others have urged law enforcement to penalize them for that, to punish them, arrest them. Hopefully that did not happen in this instance, that would make such a tragic, terrible situation even worse. So I have not heard that, that it did happen. I hope it did not happen. I hope there was more sensitivity and humanity than that this evening with law enforcement.
RUHLE: Humanity is certainly what we need. And more than anything, love. Thank you all for joining us tonight. Frank Figliuzzi, Secretary Castro and Matthew Watkins, I appreciate you`re getting started tonight.
Coming up, a Texas Congresswoman all too familiar with the tragedy of gun violence in her state, as the 11th Hours continued special coverage is just getting underway on this difficult Tuesday night.
RUHLE: We`re continuing our special coverage tonight of the horrific shooting at an elementary school in Texas. NBC`s Morgan Chesky is in Uvalde and spoke with Chris Olivarez, lieutenant and spokesperson with the Texas Department of Public Safety for the South Texas region about today`s tragic events.
LT. CHRIS OLIVAREZ, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SPOKESPERSON: So what we do know is obviously this took place, it was initially a domestic disturbance between the suspect and his grandmother in which he shot the grandmother, the grandmother and now she is in critical condition, she is alive. At that point, local law enforcement here in Uvalde received a call of a crashed vehicle and an armed gunman nearby in close proximity of the school. At that point the gunman made entry into the school and complete disregard for human life just an evil person started shooting kids. Anybody that was in his way, teachers, had no regard for human life.
MORGAN CHESKY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Just walking through the school opening fire?
OLIVAREZ: Right. At that point we do know that he was armed with some type of long rifle. We`re still trying to determine exactly what type of rifle. How he obtained that. We do have ATF and FBI here on scene working with us, trying to make those determinations.
But once he made entry to the school, he continue shooting children, teachers, anybody that was in his way. And of course, at that point, local law enforcement, brave law enforcement, I just want to praise the law enforcement of the small community and everyday work together federal agencies as well coming together and going into the school and active shooter situation and trying to encounter this gunman who met with gunfire. The gunman then shot several police officers. He was wearing body armor, so that we do know for a fact. And then at that point, we had a tactical Law Enforcement Team arrive on scene. They made entry again, they were met with gunfire. So it just goes to show you how evil this gunman was, that he did not care about anybody, and who he was going to kill. But they were able to shoot this gunman. And right now the government is deceased.
CHESKY: Officers ran inside this school as that gunman was still opening fire indiscriminately on teachers and the kids?
OLIVAREZ: That`s right. So again, I just want to praise those brave men and women that went in there, several officers were shot, we do know that there was a federal officer -- well, officer that was shot as well by making an entry, this goes to show you the braveness from these men and women that went to that school to prevent any further loss of life. But unfortunately, right now, there is 19 children that were killed by this evil gunman, as well as two teachers from the school.
CHESKY: This is now the worst school shooting in Texas history. How do you begin to break down this investigation?
OLIVAREZ: You know, Morgan, it`s really hard to really, you know, to really put this in perspective, right now, it`s just, as a father, as a parent and everybody else that this parents are, even those law enforcement officers that went into that school, families that lost their children because of this incident, and also the witnesses, the small child that witnessed this tragic incident, how they`re going to be traumatized? It makes an impacts every single person and even the small community here in Uvalde right now. So I think it`s very important that we continue to offer our prayers and condolences to the victims, to the families and everyone that`s been involved in witnesses tragic incident.
RUHLE: FBI stats show active shooter incidents have only increased over the last five years. The Washington Post points out, "In the nearly decade long stretch between Sandy Hook and Buffalo and Uvalde, congressional efforts to change gun policies in any significant way, have repeatedly failed."
Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar has seen her constituents devastated by gun violence. She`s also a former El Paso County Judge. Congresswoman, first I want to say I am so sorry for what the State of Texas is experiencing tonight. My heart goes out to you. It has now been almost 10 years since Sandy Hook. Since then, this country has seen more than 3500 mass shootings. What feels really scary and different tonight, when I think back to Sandy Hook, this whole country stopped. We were devastated. We were incensed. We were outraged, as we were in Parkland, and Vegas and El Paso. But tonight, it almost feels eerie and lonely. Like more resigned, this is just who we are as a deeply broken country.
REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (R-TX): Yeah, Stephanie, you know, you and I are both moms. We know the love for kids, our kids, we know that we would do absolutely anything for our children. And I cannot imagine what those parents who are waiting at that reunification center waiting for word about their babies, I cannot even begin to imagine what they`re going through. And I will tell you that the community of Uvalde is going to need a lot of love, and a lot of resources in the hours days and weeks ahead. El Paso stands with Uvalde. And we are sending our profound condolences. And, you know, all I can say is that we will be here for you in any way that we can be.
You know, the problem, Stephanie, is I think, while the country mourns, there are some who don`t want us to talk about why we can`t solve this problem. And it is a uniquely American problem. And the solutions are not mysterious. The solutions are pretty common sense. It just takes the political will to take action. And the headline, you just read about the failure of Congress to act, it`s in the last decade, it`s really important, Stephanie, that we look at where the obstruction happens. And it`s important for voters and for the public to know where the obstruction happens. Because --
RUHLE: We know where it happens, it happens with Republicans. So is there anything that can be done without them?
ESCOBAR: You know, I`m going to put this on voters, Stephanie, we have elections in November. There are primaries tonight all over the country here in Texas as well run offs to the primaries, their primaries in the months ahead. American voters have a choice. And the choice is when they talk to the candidates, are the incumbents running for the seats, are they going to ask them if these incumbents or if these candidates will put the lives of Americans above the addiction that exists for NRA money? And the cowardice that exists to act in the face of such violence?
And you know, here`s the thing, Stephanie, honestly, that -- as our country has, has put in place reforms that keep people safe, you know, vehicles were very deadly at one point, there are laws put in place to make vehicles safer. The highway, once a dangerous place, but speed limits are there and other regulations to make it a safer place.
RUHLE: And what do you say to your constituents that asked you, is it safe for me to go to school or work or the grocery store tomorrow?
ESCOBAR: You know, it`s what we all asked ourselves after the August 3 shooting in El Paso, a Walmart where families were shopping for school supplies, where schools were raising funds for their soccer teams, where senior citizens were getting their prescription medication. I had to -- I was asked by my constituents if our community was safe. Now, a gunman in drove 10 Miles -- 10 hours rather to get to El Paso to slaughter Mexicans and immigrants. That`s what he confessed to. You know, we have to make a decision in this country if we really want safe communities. Are we willing to go to the polls and elect people who will put people first or not? And I`m going to work very hard to make sure that we have turnout so that we can protect vulnerable communities.
RUHLE: And a slaughter is what we had today. Congresswoman, thank you for joining us. Slaughtering our own children, going to war with ourselves.
Coming up, he was a firsthand witness to the frustration and the deep pain a president can feel during times like this, former White House photographer Pete Souza joins us when the 11th Hour continues.
RUHLE: Tonight, we continue to follow the tragedy in the small city of Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 young children and two teachers were murdered and several others injured in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. This was the last week of school for students and teachers. They were preparing for summer vacation. And as the District Superintendent spoke about the grief counseling being offered to students and staff, the emotional toll of this tragedy was very clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAL HARRELL, UVALDE SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: My heart was broken today. We`re a small community and we would need your prayers to get us through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: This December will mark 10 years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. 20 children and six adults were killed in that horrific event. And then President Obama struggled to articulate our national grief just hours after the massacre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: The President then traveled to New Town to try and comfort the families of the victims and the entire community. Tonight, Obama echoed those words of grief and called for action, "It`s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it is another tragedy as quieter but no less tragic one for families to wait another day."
White House Photographer Pete Souza was with President Obama for eight years, including that very day in New Town. He`s here with us now. Pete, when I called you tonight, you did not want to come on air with me. You did not think you could get through this. But I wanted you to, I needed you to because I`m afraid we`re growing numb to this. We`re sad that these things are happening, but we`re kind of accepting them actually saying this is who we are. So I want you to take us back to that day when you joined President Obama, when you went to New Town, what was that experience like? What did you walk into?
PETE SOUZA, FORMER CHIEF OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: There was a public memorial service and beforehand he met with each of the families individually, for hours, at least two hours. And it`s just raw emotion. It`s two days after the worst possible thing that could have happened to any of these parents. And under those circumstances, they`re meeting the President United States. And they want to show him pictures of their loved ones. They want to tell them about their son or their daughter.
And you showed that picture of Francine and David Wheeler, and this is one of the young child that one of the girls that had been killed, first grader had been killed. This is her surviving cousins and siblings in that photograph. And if you look closely at that photograph --
RUHLE: Let`s pull it back up.
SOUZA: -- President Obama kind of had to -- he had to kind of force a smile. Because it wasn`t really a smiling kind of event, if you will. It was --
RUHLE: Then take me --
SOUZA: No, I mean, I think that normally, under these circumstances, I`m able to keep my emotions in check. I think two days after the shooting, when we went to Newtown, was the one time where I was crying throughout that evening in Newtown.
RUHLE: Then take me to that night, and how you felt seeing parents of kindergarteners, first graders who lost their children forever, did you ever think that 10 years later, you`d be sitting, having a similar conversation about a very similar brutal attack in our country?
SOUZA: I mean, we -- if we couldn`t do anything after Newtown, then will we ever do anything. I got the news as I was headed to the airport to happen to be flying to Washington, D.C. today. And it was just eerily similar, the first news where the information was rather sketchy. And then by the time I got to the airport, you know, we had learned 14 died. And now after I got into D.C. 19, and it very similar to what had happened in Newtown, where the numbers just getting growing. It`s -- I mean, I don`t even know how to wrap my head around this happening again, like what kind of country are we living in where we can accept this? We can`t accept this.
RUHLE: Earlier today, I picked up the phone and I called former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. And he told me something that scared me. We were talking about what do we need to do now? And I was impressing upon him how young these children are, how do we get people to stand up and care more? He said to me that we need an Emmett Till moment. He said, we actually need to bear witness to the horror. He said, we need to see photos of the victims knowing that they weren`t just shot, they were brutally murdered. He said, we need to see that, like we saw Emmett Till for America to really care. You are photographer, you know the power of photographs, do you agree with that?
SOUZA: I do agree with that. I mean, it would be very difficult to do. But I do agree with that. And I think that we have empathize with what`s happening in Ukraine, because some of the horrific photographs that we`ve seen, and I did say that after Newtown, that that would be one thing that would change people`s minds. Could we ever do that though? Would families ever allow that? You`re listening to Frank Figliuzzi, just a little while ago, saying that the bodies are unrecognizable, that they`re having to use DNA to identify the bodies. That is just so heartbreaking to hear. It just, I mean, I can`t even articulate what that must be like for those families.
RUHLE: Babies identified by their mothers by their shirts and their shoes. Pete, I know you didn`t want to join me tonight, but I really appreciate you doing so and your pictures means so much to us.
SOUZA: Thanks, Stephanie.
RUHLE: Pete Souza.
Coming up, we`ve been talking about an all-night, it was almost 10 years ago exactly when the sanctity of another elementary school was suddenly and savagely torn apart by gunfire. We`re going to hear from one of those courageous mom ones whose child was murdered then when our special coverage on the 11th Hour continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, LOST DAUGHTER JAIME IN PARKLAND SCHOOL SHOOTING: I am begging Senator Cruz, I sat with you in your office two years or so ago. I listened to your nonsense, I listened to your BS. I listened to you explain to me why you thought we didn`t need the bare minimum of effective background checks. Mark into Senator Murphy`s office right now tonight and you be the Republican who says I`ve had enough, because if you don`t, get your ass out of office, you don`t belong there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: A desperate plea from Fred Guttenberg, a father whose beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Jamie, was slaughtered just four years ago in another deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. 17 people were murdered in that shooting. And yet here we are again tonight.
With us to discuss someone else who is all too familiar with these senseless tragedies, my dear friend, Nicole Hockley. Her six year old son Dylan was killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, now she has devoted her life to education and gun safety as the co-founder and CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise. Nicole, I hate seeing you tonight. You are my true friend. And I wish we weren`t friends. We know each other. Because Dylan was killed 10 years ago, and you were the first person I thought of today. When I heard about the shooting in Texas. Dylan was just six years old. Are you reliving that day all over again tonight?
NICOLE HOCKLEY, SON KILLED IN NEWTOWN SHOOTING: More so than usual. I`ve been all over the place emotionally today. This is just eerily similar to what happened at Sandy Hook. And the more details come out, the more similar it becomes. And I`ve been in a state of shock. I`ve been angry. I`ve been sad. It`s like, my heart has been torn open all over again. And everything I hear just is echoes of Sandy Hook, again.
RUHLE: Then I want you to know how much I appreciate you joining us because I know every word that you`re saying, just sitting here speaking your truth to America is so hard. But I need you to keep going because the problem is, so many people are becoming desensitized. They`re saying I guess things won`t change. Help us understand, I know it`s hard. You`ve been there, when I`m just saying reading off a prompt or parents who are at the reunification center right now, what does that like? What does it mean for those parents standing in the dark in Texas right now, you were once there?
HOCKLEY: For the parents who -- the way is interminable while you`re trying to find out is my child`s dead. And even when they are able to tell you that your child was identified by the picture you gave in the clothing description that you gave, there`s -- your mind just can`t fathom it. It took me several days, even when I saw Dylan in his casket before, even then couldn`t really comprehend that my once living, moving, laughing, joyful, six year old son was this lifeless body, as a parent as a person, it`s just impossible to comprehend in that wait to find out, it`s an eternity. And then when you`re told it`s still like, no, this can`t be real. So for the parents that have been told, I can`t -- I can`t imagine what they`re going through right now. And the parents that are still waiting to find out. I mean, that is just an enduring agony.
RUHLE: Talk to me about where you are right now. We talked about people in this country being dead inside, you actually have every right to be and you`re not. You`ve devoted your life to gun safety since losing Dylan and now here we are, again. What keeps you going? Do you want to give up?
HOCKLEY: Days like today, there are a few moments that it becomes too hard. But I know I`ll get up again tomorrow and keep fighting. And you know, Stephanie, part of the thing that keeps me going is my surviving son.
HOCKLEY: Who is now a senior in high school. He is my reason for life. He is my everything. And I need to be here for him. But also, I know that even though there have been 1000s of mass shootings and 1000s of shootings every day since Sandy Hook, I also know that there are -- there have been shootings that have been averted. And I need to just keep turning the tide. So that more averted than are happening. So I have hope because I know that there are solutions that work. And I`ve always said this is going to be generational change. And that`s the hardest part of what I do because, you know, Jake, all he`s known in his life is school shootings, and active shooter drills and trauma. All the kids in the 10 years since Sandy Hook, this is their experience and that`s they`re going to be the ones that grow up to truly create the change. It`s not the politicians in D.C., it`s not necessarily the adults that are demanding action. It`s the kids that are going to make the difference because we didn`t do enough to save them.
RUHLE: Have you --
HOCKLEY: So they have to save themselves.
RUHLE: Have you given up on those politicians in D.C.?
HOCKLEY: Not all of them. There`s quite a few that are excellent people. Brilliant champions, Chris Murphy is one of my heroes. There are many, many good people like him. And then there are people that you know, I don`t name but there are some people that I just don`t understand how they can look at themselves in the mirror in the morning, especially if they have children of their own. And I don`t know how they can comprehend and believe the words that are coming out of their mouths sometimes. They don`t care about people. They just care about their careers. And that shameful, absolutely shameful.
RUHLE: Well, you care about so many people and I`m truly grateful and your son Jake, he knows something beyond just school shootings. He knows he has the greatest mother in the world. Nicole, I truly appreciate you. Thank you for joining us tonight.
HOCKLEY: Thank you, Stephanie.
RUHLE: Nicole Hockley, also known as Dylan and Jake`s mom.
We`ve got much more on this breaking news from Texas as our special extended edition of the 11th Hour continues right after the break.
RUHLE: I`m Stephanie Ruhle back for an extended edition of the 11th Hour. It is now midnight on the East Coast and this is a very difficult night for a small town in Texas but really for our nation. Police say an 18-year-old gunman opened fire late Tuesday morning inside the Robb Elementary School in the small city of Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 young children and two adults were murdered. One of those victims was Eva Morales, she taught fourth grade there. She`d been a teacher for 17 years. And according to The New York Times, she was brutally murdered while trying to protect her students.
President Biden has ordered flags at the White House and flying over public buildings lowered to half-staff. And several hours ago he spoke to the nation about that very massacre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I had hoped, when I became President, I would not have to do this again.
Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened.
As a nation, we have to ask: When in God`s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Not yet obviously. Our coverage begins this hour with NBC News correspondent Texas native, Garrett Haake. He`s live in Uvalde. Garrett, what`s the latest? We spoke to you about an hour ago.
HAAKE: Yeah, Steph, this scene here just continues to be almost intolerably miserable for these families. This is the civic center that I`m standing in front of which started the morning as a polling place became in the immediate aftermath of the shooting a place of hope, where so many reunions took place for students who survived the shooting at the nearby elementary school and then tonight has just become a site of prolonged agony for families who are here waiting DNA results or other positive identifications that they might know that it is in fact their children who are not coming home.
Since we last spoke, we`ve seen maybe other two, three families leave the building behind me. There are not many left now. I suppose that`s the closest thing to good news, I can provide you.
On the investigative side of this, you know, we`re still continuing to hear a little bit more from DPS about what they know about the shooter. And I can tell you that school is still an active crime scene tonight, likely will be through the night into the morning.
RUHLE: But there still are parents there who don`t yet know where their children are? It`s been hours?
HAAKE: There still are parents here, Stephanie. That`s right. And I think we have to operate under the assumption that we know where their children are, but that there have not yet been specifically identified, which has to make the weight that much more intolerable.
RUHLE: I know you don`t know specific numbers, but can you give us a sense? What -- approximately how many people are being treated in the hospital? Are we talking a couple of people? Are we talking dozens?
HAAKE: No, those numbers are slightly more positive. The hospital here in town is quite small. It took 14 patients today, 11 of them were children. Of those four were dismissed or sent home by the time we had gotten here, discharged back to their families, five had to be sent to other hospitals, other trauma centers in the area. San Antonio has a number of major hospitals. They`ve got military facilities. They`ve got the kind of trauma center where you would want to send a gunshot victim not to your sort of smaller neighborhood hospital. So those five patients have been transported. We`ve not heard updated conditions on them. There were another three patients that were expected to stay overnight. But when I talked to the CEO of that hospital system earlier today, he was optimistic about their conditions. So I don`t think we`re going to see those numbers change from the hospital system here in town.
RUHLE: Garrett Haake, thank you.
I want to bring in our friend and colleague, NBC News Investigative Correspondent, Tom Winter. Tom, can you walk us through the investigation?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, at this point, a lot of details are starting to come into focus, some timeline, details are starting to come into focus. He apparently, we`re talking about Salvador Rolando Ramos just had his 18th birthday on May 16, born in 2004.
RUHLE: And then what on that birthday?
WINTER: Well, there are some indications that either on his birthday or immediately thereafter purchased two of the weapons that were used, or at least on his person in today`s shooting. The shooting happened just shortly after 12:30 Eastern Time today. All indications are that he initially shot his grandmother. At some point, law enforcement engages him after he`s either chased or his car crashes near the school, he`s still able to get into the school.
In an interview with our colleague, Morgan Chesky tonight, the Texas Department of Public Safety says that the initial officers that responded, try to shoot him and kill him and end this before anybody else could be hurt. But it wasn`t until tactical teams arrived, that they were able to finally shoot and kill the suspect because the suspect was wearing -- or the shooter I should say was wearing body armor. This presents a potentially very disturbing trend in the shooting that we just saw in Buffalo that was targeted at the black community there and that supermarket, the shooter there also wore body armor and was shot at by a security guard retired police officer in that did not end that shooting.
We know --
RUHLE: So just -- wait for a second because we keep hearing, you know, if we had more people trained well, and armed, at best, a security guard or grocery store or a school, what do they have on them, a handgun?
WINTER: They have a handgun on them depends upon which caliber, one thing that we saw after Sandy Hook and anecdotally in law enforcement and after the shooting that -- the shootout that occurred in Watertown, Massachusetts, following the Boston Marathon bombing is that there was a little bit of movement in law enforcement circles to go to a higher caliber handgun. So instead of shooting with a nine millimeter or going to a 45, because that has a better ability to stop the person that is firing at you.
RUHLE: But they`re facing off against someone who now has body armor and what kind of guns was that that he potentially bought on his birthday?
WINTER: And so the -- and so we`re looking at a situation here where it`s sure seems like at this stage of the investigation that an assault rifle was used. So the picture that this paints and the reason why I think it`s troubling a lot of people in law enforcement is for the school safety officer. You know, the officer that`s part time counselor, part time parent, part time protector of the school, is maybe now at best matched evenly with the person who`s going to try to come in and kill little kids. But it worse is overmatched from the beginning. And I think that presents a troubling new trend. You know, Garrett is pointing out this idea of DNA testing. I`m sure there`s some folks at home that are wondering how a parent couldn`t recognize their kid.
RUHLE: Please explain this. This is the killer.
WINTER: So having reviewed and having covered the Newtown shooting, I reviewed all my old files before coming on the air with you tonight. And all my old notes from it, I keep them all. And the damage that an assault rifle round, because of the velocity that it`s fired, does to a young child is positively horrific, and would need potentially DNA testing for a positive identification to occur.
RUHLE: Imagine you drop your kids --
WINTER: That`s the incident that occurred.
RUHLE: You drop your seven year old at school at 7:30 and when you pick them up at a reunification center, they need a DNA test to identify them. I have to ask you, Tom, and I know you don`t want to answer. You were the first NBC person at Sandy Hook, at Newtown10 years ago, you`ve covered almost every mass shooting that we`ve covered at NBC since then, what is this like for you?
WINTER: And before that? I think the feeling that myself and my colleagues have is we`re over it. We have a lot of support here. We have a lot of pride in our work. We care very deeply about the people that we cover. And we care very deeply about these incidents. We would gladly never ever have to do this again. If it meant that another one of these kids doesn`t die. The school shootings are by far the worst. All the active shooters, the terrorist attacks, everything we`ve done. There is a moment where we feel a drive to identify and find a motive.
But let`s be honest, Steph, if I got the motive emailed to me right now, we had a document that they found on this Ramos guy, and I could explain to you what he said. There`s no motive I can give you tonight that`s going to satisfy a single person as to why this occurred today. There`s just -- there`s just nothing. And so when we look at this, I think the lack of answers in rereading the Newtown report, the Sandy Hooks school shooting report, they did everything to try to figure out if there were vibrations from the gas pipelines in the neighborhood that could have somehow driven Adam Lanza to kill all those kids at that school.
And that`s not the -- you know, that wasn`t the answer. But I mean, that`s the lengths that they went to try to explain it. And we might get to a point here, where we can`t explain it. And you can`t explain why somebody would do what they did today. It is profoundly frustrating for law enforcement. It`s profoundly frustrating for those of us that deal with it. And it`s profoundly frustrating knowing that sometimes there are readily available answers, those won`t present themselves. And then for the next few hours, few days, few weeks, was there anything that could have stopped this in advance from happening? All that we know is that somebody who had intentions that the extreme majority of us in society could never understand, was able to commit this act today. And just kill an awful lot of people. So from our perspective, this sadness is just pervasive. And in speaking with my colleagues, and frankly, competitors tonight, it`s just -- it`s kind of reaching a breaking point for all of us, and so I can`t imagine what it`s like, in Uvalde tonight.
RUHLE: I am so, so appreciative from your work. Thank you. Thank you, Tom.
WINTER: You bet, Steph.
RUHLE: He doesn`t like when I asked him the personal questions.
I want to dig deeper and bring in Texas native, my dear friend, MSNBC Political Contributor, Matthew Dowd. He is also a former George W. Bush Strategist, and Founder of Country Over Party. And Clint Watts, West Point Graduate, Army veteran, former FBI Special Agent and distinguished Research Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
Gentlemen, thank you for joining us. Matthew, help us here. We`ve been saying it all night. America doesn`t want this. We want to change. The President said enough is enough. Chris Murphy got on the Senate floor and demanded change. You felt the frustration in his voice. He represents Sandy Hook, Connecticut. But nothing`s happening. The President is saying we`re going to fly the flags at half-staff. Is there anything that can be done tomorrow, whether the President or Congress without Republicans how they ain`t playing ball?
MATTHEW DOWD, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST TO BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Well, I think the thing that can be done tomorrow is all of our broken hearts can be turned into an act of anger and a political act of anger. And I think that`s what we have to fundamentally move towards. I mean, this is -- this is not a question that we don`t know the answer to. We know the answer to this. As tragic as it is, I was thinking of this tonight, in 2017, 27 people were killed in Southern Springs, Texas, at a church. In 2018, 10 people were killed in Santa Fe High School. In 2019, 21 people were killed at a Walmart, all of the things and then we have tonight, 19 children killed today, they all have the same thing in common, which is access to guns gotten by people that shouldn`t have them. And we know the answer to this, this is an epidemic. This is like a medical epidemic, where we have the inoculation. But we don`t -- we refuse to use it. So the virus spreads and spreads and spreads.
And ultimately, ultimately, the American public is going to have to come to the point where they throw people out of office that are unwilling to do the basic things that need to be done to protect the American public.
I was thinking right before I came on, remember that knucklehead shoe bomber guy was Richard Reid or whatever. Richard Reid is his name, we had one incident on an airplane -- one incident in an airplane, no one was killed. And we made every single person that goes through a metal detector take off their shoes, one incident, nobody was killed. And that`s what we did. And in this case, time after time after time, and I`m afraid I`m going to be on with you and Clint three days from now, a week from now having the same conversation. So yeah, we our hearts break, my heart breaks. I know Uvalde, it`s a great town. It`s a wonderful town, wonderful people there in Uvalde. But until we turn our broken heart into political anger, and then remove the politicians that are standing in the way, that`s the only path forward.
RUHLE: Well, is that going to happen tomorrow in Texas because three days from now, you got a big NRA brouhaha going down in Texas and the governor is going to be there?
DOWD: Well, yeah, they`re already -- we already seen people bail, the Senator bail tonight, Senator Cornyn bail tonight because he doesn`t want to take the political heat. So at least there`s some sense there`s political heat surrounding the deaths of 19 children by guns in the midst of this.
RUHLE: Yeah, but hold on. Heat -- let`s be really clear, Cornyn cancelled and he didn`t say he canceled because of the shooting. He said he`s got a prior personal commitment on Friday in D.C. so he -- there may be heat but he not acknowledging it?
DOWD: So I can`t tell you tonight -- I can`t tell you tonight for all those families of 19 kids that there`s a solution tomorrow, just like we haven`t been able to tell any family of any kid what`s our -- any person that`s been shot, there`s a solution tomorrow. But I do believe there`s a solution. And there`s choices to be made. And there`s choices to be made here in Texas. In the election, there`s distinct differences between candidates on the ballot in November on just this issue.
And so I think we can`t solve it tomorrow, we can solve it, we know what to do. But what we have to do is the American public has, has to remove the leaders who are standing in the way of the commonsense solutions that can solve many of these problems.
RUHLE: Clint, Matthew just ran through a bunch of stats. And I assure you, every cable news show on television, including mine tonight was lining up. We need to know the number of mass shootings, we need to make sure we know the guns bang, bang, bang. You could read those numbers all night long, and it becomes white noise explained to us. Are we seeing this dramatic increase in active shootings over the years? Is this all about availability of guns?
CLINT WATTS, FORMER COUNTER TERRORISM DIVISION FORMER CONSULTANT: It`s two parts, Stephanie. I think the first part is there`s a dramatic underestimation of the number of angry young men in the online environment that are discussing thinking about or commiserating with each other around these mass shootings that we see. Is there any connection to Buffalo? No. But what we do see is when we have one mass shooting, we should expect that we will have more mass shootings, it`s a contagion effect. We see it quite often think of all the shootings we`ve just had, in the last 14 days. If you go back to Buffalo, look at what happened in Southern California. Look at this one here, they these are devastating attacks.
The second part is the severity. And that`s what you were talking about, Stephanie, with the guns. We don`t see this and other countries because we don`t arm citizens in other countries with AR-15s and the assault rifles, we don`t set them up to basically be the same infantry soldiers, the same gear that I wore when I was in the military, that guy wore into an elementary school today. Why did he do that? Why did he have access to it? Part of the discussion which you had with Tom, which I thought was fantastic, was about how is this school resource officer, I`ve met lots of them, I`ve done trainings with them and for them, let me tell you what, that`s not your newest cop off the street. It is now your young SWAT team member, you`re talking about people that are oftentimes counselors as much as law enforcement officers, and they`re towards the end of their career, we`re expecting them to go and defend the school against an unknown assailant at an unknown time, who is better -- has better armor and better weaponry than that individual does. You`re taking people with an guns and facing them off against what would be the equivalent of soldiers. This this is intolerable, that we have this sort of a system here. And now what we will hear today and tomorrow and for the next few days, is we just need more security around an elementary school. We just need more police officers to try and engage the shooters when if and when they show up. I can tell you what in the online environment you can go right now, they`re going to -- they`re going to be people champion, the sick individual today, and there going to be people out there that are champion them that are buying AR-15s online, that are buying weapons online and then are picking their targets. This is an untenable situation in America, we cannot let it continue anymore.
RUHLE: Matthew, I appreciate what you`re saying about taking our broken hearts, broken hearts and turning them into political anger. But I want to get real, because we`ve got all sorts of gun common sex groups, right? We`ve got every town, we`ve got Moms Demand, think about all that Mike Bloomberg money going up against this. And it doesn`t seem to change things. Do -- what we really need to look at is the massive lobbying efforts, the dark money, the money that supports Republicans, that`s pushed by these gun groups?
DOWD: I think I mean, obviously, the money is important, but I don`t think it matters as much as the political dysfunction that we have, that -- I mean, when 80% of the country wants to move in one direction, 80% of the country wants to go in one direction, and Republicans refuse to go there, it`s less about money. But Democrats have plenty of money to spend on campaigns. And there`s plenty of money to go around to win these things, to do these things. We just haven`t been compelling enough. One, the voters have engaged enough on this issue. And so I think it`s our responsibility as voters.
But two, I also fault the politicians. There`s only been one politician that ran on this issue solely. And that was in Georgia, Lucy McBath, in Georgia, she ran on this issue because she had a child that was killed by a gun. She ran on this issue solely in a swing district in Georgia and one. And I think politicians and people running for office need to take this on and quit talking about whatever student loans or all of the other things and take on the major issues that face America and run on them and I think voters will get engaged but again it`s incumbent upon on voters.
One other thing I`ll say that is so disturbing about this that I would think would be an easy fix, this guy turned 18, walked down to a local store, he walked down to a local gun store as far as I can tell, local gun store in Uvalde, went to a gun store, he went into a gun store. He couldn`t go to the local bar and buy a Shiner Bock beer when he turned 18. But he can go and buy an assault rifle at a local gun store. That`s insanity.
RUHLE: And if he bought a beer at a bar, and then got a DUI and heard somebody, that bar owner could get charged. Then here`s my last question to you, Matthew, in the great state of Texas, if somebody wanted to run right now, could they run saying this state makes no sense where you can get unlimited assault rifles, and limited or no access to reproductive care?
DOWD: I think Beto should run on that. Beto is running for governor. And there`s a complete opposite candidates here between Beto and Greg Abbott, there`s a great dramatic contrast. He ought to run it but also so that Attorney General candidates ought to run at it, the Congressional every single, and if I would advocate here in Texas, every single candidate ought to be running on this because Texas, as many as other states, we have this every single year, and gun owners like myself, would support that candidate if they came with a compelling message.
RUHLE: Then, Clint, if people want to wake up tomorrow and say, let`s do something, what is something that would make us a little more protected?
WATTS: Well, beyond the gun discussion, which Matt very clearly laid out, I think there`s another thing that we can be doing, which is in the online environment, there are many, and I mean, many of these individuals that are hyping up talking, are talking about doing a shooting.
The second thing that I would advocate for is we oftentimes see when we look, you know, we`re going to return the rearview mirror, and everything is going to, you know, they`re the indicators, those things we should have been looking for. Whenever we see a mass shooting, and we start seeing it pop up in terms of the media and social media, I think that`s a great time for school administrators and law enforcement and local communities to go back and check their record books and see who has been reported or who have they gone out and talk to about potentially doing a school shooting or mass shooting, and what are they up to at present? Because there is a very interesting pattern that tends to emerge. These things aren`t isolated events. These are angry young men, they serve us or get reported on high school, maybe they do it or workplace. They are oftentimes known to the communities. I think that`s something that we got to look at if we have a contagion effect, the best way to stop a contagion is to get out in front of it.
RUHLE: If hate is on the rise, we got to find out how to combat it with some love. Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining your expertise tonight. Matthew Dowd, Clint Watts, join me in taking a deep breath and a quick break. We need both.
RUHLE: Our special coverage of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas continues after this. But first another plea for gun reform from the coach of the Golden State Warriors. Steve Kerr.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE KERR, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS HEAD COACH: I`m not going to talk about basketball. Nothing`s happened with our team in the last six hours. We`re going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don`t matter. Since we left shoot around 14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher and in the last 10 days we`ve had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo. We`ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California and now we have children murdered at school.
When are we going to do something? I`m tired. I`m so I`m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I`m so tired of the excuse, but I`m sorry, I`m tired of the moments of silence. Enough. There`s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HRA, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple of years ago. It`s been sitting there for two years. And there`s a reason they won`t vote on it, to hold on to power. So I asked you, Mitch McConnell ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I asked you, are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our church goers? Because that`s what it looks like. It`s what we do every week. So I`m fed up. I`ve had enough. We`re going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this to think about your own child or grandchild, or mother or father, sister, brother, how would you feel if this happened to you today? We can`t get numb to this. We can`t sit here and just read about it and go, well, so the moment of silence, yeah, go dubs. You know.
Come on, man. Let`s go. That`s what we`re going to do. We`re going to go play a basketball game. And 50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. You realize that 90% of Americans, regardless of political party want background check. Universal background check, 90% of us. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refused 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 on to their own power. It`s pathetic. I`ve had enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BODDY STUDER, WIFE IS TEACHER AT ROBB ELEMENTARY: Just taking some flowers and the minute I got my pickup I heard a couple of shots. Her class and everybody got her got in the cafeteria and just kind of turned off the lights, got on the stage. Started paper in the windows. She said the kids were real good, real quiet and did what they`re supposed to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do think your wife is OK?
STUDER: Yeah, she`s good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you bringing her flowers?
STUDER: She`s retiring Friday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my gosh.
STUDER: Yeah. So she`s done. Thank goodness.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: She wasn`t planning for today to be her last day of school, that right there was the very sweet husband of one of the teachers inside the elementary school during Tuesday`s horrific massacre. She was just trying to keep her students safe.
I want to bring in Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez. Senator, first I want to say thank you so much. I know you`ve been waiting to speak to us for almost an hour. This has been such a long and terrible day for you. I want to start with getting sort of an update on the facts. At this point, can you confirm the number of deaths right now?
STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ, (D) TEXAS 19TH DISTRICT: Yes, Stephanie, right now, it`s 19 deaths. 19 children, and of course the three adults.
RUHLE: So it`s 19 children, and how many adults?
GUTIERREZ: Three adults, Stephanie, I`m sorry, we`re getting a big gust of wind. The weather is changing. As you and I are speaking, so I apologize.
RUHLE: So that`s 22 people total? 19 children, three adults plus the shooter 24?
GUTIERREZ: No, the shooter is included. It`s 22, altogether.
RUHLE: 19 children between second, third and fourth grade. So that`s ages seven to about 10 or 11 sir?
GUTIERREZ: Yes, that`s correct, Steph. Mostly fourth graders.
RUHLE: Mostly fourth graders, that`s 10 year olds.
GUTIERREZ: That`s right.
RUHLE: Two teachers, and the shooter, what can you tell us about the people in the hospital? Do we know anything about their condition?
GUTIERREZ: So, so far, Stephanie, I have not been advised as to any of the issues that have happened with folks in the hospital, or their conditions. We were -- I was briefed by the Texas Rangers about 5:30 today, when there was 18 children that had passed on, and three adults. We knew then that this young man had purchased these guns, first thing that he did on his 18th birthday, was go to a shop in Uvalde to buy these weapons legally. And that`s a very sad state of affairs, unfortunately, in Texas, instead of making it harder for people to access these kinds of guns, my Republican colleagues in the legislature have made it more and more difficult at times. You know, while we`re not here to politicize this issue, we`re very sad for everybody. But at some point, we have policymakers have to create significant change on how young men have access to these kinds of militarized weapons.
RUHLE: He bought these weapons legally. Do you know anything about that gun shop about the person who sold them the guns?
GUTIERREZ: So I`m now headed back to San Antonio, but I`ll be back in Uvalde tomorrow, that`ll be part of my investigation. As we move forward, right now, my whole concentration is on making sure that the county and the school district have the resources that they need, by way of psychiatric and psychiatric psychological health for these families. That`s first and foremost, we still have bereavement counselors in Sutherland springs, two years after that particular incident. This is something that is going to haunt the people on Uvalde for months and years to come. We have to do our part as state policymakers to make sure the fish community has all of the resources at their disposal, so they can get through this tragic loss.
RUHLE: Can I ask you, you`ve had those grief counselors for two years since that tragedy, the people in your community in Texas since that tragedy two years ago, until tonight, have you seen voters raise their hands make any push even those who are gun enthusiast or hunters make any push to change gun laws?
GUTIERREZ: So we -- what we have seen is the Republican controlled legislature that is made it more and more easy for people to access these types of militarized weapons. But look, I`m a gun owner, and I`m a hunter. When I talk to people that are similar enthusiast, we don`t go out there with AR-15s to hunt down deer. That just doesn`t happen like that. And so I think that we have to have a really hard look at what we`re doing in Texas and what we`re doing across the United States. I can`t imagine what people in the rest of the world are thinking about when every two weeks or every month, there is such a tragic event such as this in these United States. I can`t imagine it because it only seems to happen here. We have to create some significant change on this issue. At the time is now you`ve heard from Steve Kerr and others on your show what am I doing up in Austin if I can`t create some kind of change and so yes to answer your question many of my constituents and even -- I`m a Democrat, but even Republicans constituents want to see change on this particular issue when it comes to assault rifles.
RUHLE: Sir, thank you for everything you do. Thank you for pulling over on the side of the road and waiting for us tonight. You`ve had a long day. You`re going to have a long day tomorrow. I really appreciate you joining us, State Senator Roland Gutierrez.
Do you hear that point that he made? He`s a gun enthusiast. He`s a hunter. I don`t know much about hunting but not think it`d be a very good hunter. If you need an AR-15 to do it.
Coming up, after every mass shooting, angry activist step forward with gun control proposals that that basically go nowhere. We`re going to give you a reality check on possible solutions to the violence when our extended coverage of the 11th Hour continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: As a nation, we have to ask: When in God`s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God`s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: One group has been trying for more than a decade. 11 years ago, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot and nearly died during a political event. Since then, the Giffords Law Center has been fighting for laws, policies and programs proven to save lives. Robyn Thomas is the group`s Executive Director.
Robyn, we know all the reasons things have stalled, and they`re not working and the people who are to blame. But right now, for those who actually have hope that things can get better, what can be done tomorrow?
ROBYN THOMAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GIFFORDS LAW CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE: We absolutely have to raise our voices at the state level at the local level and most importantly, at the federal level. We`ve talked about this in the past, until we pass federal regulation, state laws are patchwork, state borders are porous and guns are going to get into the wrong hands. We absolutely need the Senate to take up universal background checks. It passed the Congress two years ago. So the Congress has already voted on this, voted it through and the Senate hasn`t even called it for a vote, there needs to be a vote on universal background checks. We know we have 50 votes we need the rest of the votes to get this through it is the absolute floor and baseline for what we need in order to begin regulating guns properly in this country.
RUHLE: Here`s the issue, what we need, and what we`re likely going to get are really far away. National progress has gone nowhere. But there are several states that have improved their laws. Is this a fight that can be won on a local level?
THOMAS: Absolutely. I mean, having good laws, having strong models with comprehensive regulation in states like California states, like New York, we have much, much lower rates of gun violence and gun death in the States. We show the model that`s possible when there`s political will, when our elected officials step up to actually pass the kind of laws that almost all Americans want. I mean, 90% of Americans support and agree with things like universal background checks, you know, our elected leaders just simply aren`t representing the will of their own constituents.
RUHLE: OK, then just stop for one second. I know, people have asked this question 1000 times, but for me and everybody else in the cheap seats, if 90% of Americans support universal background checks, explain to me practically why that doesn`t materialize because I truly don`t get it.
THOMAS: I mean, it`s just the way our federal government operates at this point groups like the NRA, but gun lobby, the elected officials, to be honest, the Republicans that they represent that that are in their pockets, don`t vote for what their constituents want, because they care more about the lobbying interests about the money that they`re getting from lobbying groups. You know, the governor of Texas sat next to Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, when he signed legislation weakening Texas`s gun laws just last year. I mean, the fact that he could sit next to a lobbyist for the industry and sign laws that put American lives at risk is despicable. It`s absolutely insane to me that we see that and nobody is outraged that this is how our country runs, that the governor of a state can do that with a straight face.
RUHLE: So is it that we don`t realize what we`re voting for? For example, we might say, inflation is my number one issue and because it is we forget about things like gun control, and then those lawmakers who we elect slipping policies that we don`t support, is that how it happens?
THOMAS: It`s a little bit that, I think it`s a little bit people vote, whatever their number one issue is, and they don`t pay attention to other issues. I think it`s a lot of money. I mean, when you`re getting a lot of money from special interests and lobbying groups, and you can be the name that`s out there, because you have money to run your campaign, you`re able to win even when your policies aren`t very good. And in this case, in Texas, unfortunately, it`s a state where a lot of change needs to happen. It`s actually moving in the right direction, but we have a way to go.
RUHLE: 19 children were brutally murdered today and two of their teachers. They could have been anybody`s children across this country. The question is when will people make it their number one issue to vote for? Robyn Thomas, thank you for joining us. Thank you for everything that you do. I appreciate it.
Coming up, it is not every day that you hear a U.S. senator literally begging, pleading with his colleagues, his hands in prayer today is not every day. Today is a day that no one would ever wish for. It is our country`s worst nightmare. We`re going to hear that plea when our special extended edition of the 11th Hour continues.
RUHLE: When Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut learned about today`s mass shooting, he went straight to the Senate floor as he has done so many times before to speak about the Senate`s inaction on gun violence. But today, today things were different. His frustration and anger has been growing since 20 children, young children and six adults were brutally killed in his state at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut back in 2012. And no, I repeat no meaningful legislation has been passed to prevent the next tragedy or the one after or the one after that here are his full remarks to his colleagues earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): There are 14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now.
What are we doing? What are we doing?
Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African-American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands.
What are we doing?
There were more mass shootings than days in the year.
Our kids are living in fear. Every single time they set foot in a classroom, they think they`re going to be next.
What are we doing?
Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority?
If your answer is that as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing.
What are we doing?
Why are you here?
If not, to solve a problem as existential as this.
This isn`t inevitable. These kids weren`t "unlucky." This only happens in this country, and nowhere else.
Nowhere else do kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day.
Nowhere else, do parents have to talk to their kids as I have had to do, about why they got locked into a bathroom and got told to be quiet for five minutes, just in case a bad man entered that building.
Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.
What are we doing?
In Sandy Hook Elementary School, after those kids came back into those classrooms, they had to adopt a practice in which there would be a safe word that the kids would say if they started to get thoughts in their brain about what they saw that day.
If they started to get nightmares during the day, reliving stepping over their classmates` bodies as they tried to flee the school.
In one classroom, that word was "monkey".
And over and over and over through the day, kids would stand up and yell, "monkey!" And a teacher or paraprofessional would have to go over to that kid, take them out of the classroom, talk to them about what they had seen, work with them through their issues.
Sandy Hook will never be the same. This community in Texas will never, ever be the same. Why? Why are we here?
If not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through, what Uvalde is going through.
Our heart is breaking for these families. Every ounce of love and thoughts and prayers we can send, we are sending.
But I`m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues.
Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way, to pass laws to make this less likely.
I understand my Republican colleagues will not agree to everything that I may support. But there is a common denominator that we can find.
There is a place where we can achieve agreement. That may not guarantee that America never ever again sees a mass shooting.
That may not, overnight, cut in half the number of murders that happen in America.
It will not solve the problem of American violence by itself.
But by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers, whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing. Shooting after shooting.
What are we doing? Why are we here? What are we doing? I yield the floor.
RUHLE: Sadly, I have to correct the senator who gave those remarks about eight hours ago when he said 14 children were murdered. It`s 19 children and two teachers who were massacred. Because hate is on the rise here and around the world. I can`t change the gun laws tomorrow. But I do know one way to combat hate. I`m going to wake up tomorrow. And I`m going to love more. And I`m going to care more. And I hope you`ll join me. Thank you for caring tonight. And staying tuned. Stick around, my friend and colleague Ayman Mohyeldin picks up breaking news coverage right now.