Police face questions about response to Texas elementary school shooting. WH: Biden and First Lady to visit Uvalde, Texas Sunday. 9-year- old hid in bathroom to avoid gunman. Uvalde GOP Rep. deflects question on gun control. Strong GOP opposition to new gun laws. Columbine principal reaches out to shooting survivors. Lethality of AR-15 style rifles.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: That is tonight`s "LAST WORD," THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, scrutiny over the police response to the shooting at Robb Elementary. What officials said at a press conference today that raised more questions than answers. And the chances of anything getting done in Congress on gun control after talk of bipartisan action, what would that even look like? And 23 years since the massacre at Columbine, the former principal joins me to talk about his efforts to help communities heal after unthinkable horror as THE 11TH HOUR gets underway on this Thursday night.
Good evening once again, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Tonight, new questions about what happened inside that Texas elementary school where 19 young children and two teachers were killed on Tuesday. NBC News reporting Texas Investigators now say victims of the shooting were found in four separate classrooms.
Meanwhile, details are emerging about the police response and the specific timeline of the attack. Tom Llamas has more on that timeline.
TOM LLAMAS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Authorities say the gunman crashed his grandmother`s truck at 11:28 a.m. Witnesses report seeing him carrying a long gun in a bag. He fired at two people outside of a funeral home across the street before heading to the elementary school. At 11:30, the first 911 call came in. This video shows the gunman dressed in black lung gun in hand entering the school 10 minutes later at 11:40. Police say the doors appear to be unlocked. As for whether or not anyone tried to stop him from entering, yesterday, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety said this.
STEVEN MCCRAW, TEXAS PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR: There was a brave, consolidated Independent School District resource officer that approached him, engaged him and at that time, there was not -- gun fire was not exchanged.
LLAMAS: But today the department telling me this.
(On camera): Was there a school officer on campus and was that school officer armed because that`s what we`ve been told?
VICTOR ESCALON, TEXAS PUBLIC SAFETY DEPARTMENT REGIONAL DIRECTOR: No, no, there was not an officer readily available on, no.
LLAMAS: Four minutes after the shooter entered, local police arrived at 11:44. The shooter fired at them, so the officers were treated and call for reinforcements.
ESCALON: We need specialty equipment. We need body armor, we need precision rifleman, negotiators. They`re also evacuating personnel, students, teachers.
LLAMAS: A tactical team arrived at 12:47.
ESCALON: U.S. Border Patrol, tactical teams arrive, they make entry shoot and kill the suspect.
LLAMAS: Police acknowledging the shooter was in the classroom for an hour before they were able to take him out. Video taken after the shooting rampage shows loved ones being restrained outside the school. Unable to get to the children, begging officers there to charge in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Our thanks to Tom Llamas for that report.
Today, the Uvalde, Texas Police Department issued a statement saying in part this, "It is important for the community to know our officers responded within minutes."
The President and the First Lady planned to visit Uvalde on Sunday.
Meanwhile, today was supposed to be the last day of school before summer vacation. Instead families there are preparing for funerals. Those students who did survive are left with a memory of that horrible day that changed their lives forever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUBRIELA IBARRA, SURVIVED UVALDE, TEXAS SHOOTING: I hear the shooter start shooting at officer. They ran past. They rescued me back inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were you thinking as you were hiding in the bathroom for so long?
IBARRA: I think I was just like childlike be still not like oops thought, I was just crying in my head, still make some noise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Let`s bring in my good friend, my partner, Ali Velshi live in Uvalde and -- excuse me, and NBC Correspondent, our friend Ken Dilanian and he covers National Security and Intelligence. I`m so happy to see that it is both of you tonight just watching that hearing from that nine year old girl is brutal.
Ali, tell us, people in Uvalde obviously searching for answers. How are they reacting to law enforcement response?
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Look, this -- imagine this, the many cases the families didn`t get the bodies of their children because the process here - - this a small town of 16,000 people they called in the medical exam, doesn`t have its own medical examiner or coroner so they called him the medical examiner from a Bear County which is San Antonio about an hour and a half away.
So there`s -- it`s been a long time to get to this and they`re trying to get closure. There`s no -- there`s no chance of closure before there are burials and funerals and things like that. And then this confusion coming from the police is adding to it.
Now, look, we don`t know what the story was, and no one is disparaging the bravery of the police were involved in this, went into a tough situation. But the confusion, the changing messages, it has been very, very hard on people. There`s a memorial behind me, you can see it lit up there. It`s got the crosses, you and I talked about it last night. This is the front page of the newspaper, just the date of May 24, 2022. And a completely black paper.
But Stephanie, think about this. It`s not just the parents who lost their own children. It`s the idea that this is a tiny community that everybody knew somebody here. And last night you and I were talking about one of the two teachers who died, her husband today went and laid flowers at the memorial, went home to his family and died. He collapsed and died. We believe it`s a heart attack around here, a lot of people are saying perhaps it was heartbreak. This community is broken. And it`s hard. And in a little community like this, you and I have covered mass shootings before. But in larger cities, there`s a way to recover because there`s so many other things in that place.
The school is central. I`ve interviewed so many people who went to the school, who grew up here. I interviewed a man whose father planted that pecan tree right on the lawn. So it`s very hard to see how this place recovers over time because it is now on a list that it never wanted to be on. It is -- it`s a difficult times, Stephanie. The communities come together. But it is the stress today`s -- levels of stress are increasing, not decreasing.
RUHLE: People are grieving about their loss, but they`re confused. Ken, help us understand because tonight we learned that victims were found in more than one classroom. Tell us what we know at this point. And what did you make of that news conference?
KEN DILANIAN, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That news conference was astounding, Stephanie, not only because the Texas Department of Public Safety substantially revised its account two days after the shooting, and including contradicting things that the head of that agency said at a news conference sitting next to the governor of the state. But then they -- the person failed. The Deputy Regional Director who gave the news conference failed to answer key substantial questions.
Now, we`re 48 hours after the incident at this point. And the biggest one really, Stephanie, is why there was an hour delay. You know, there was at - - when this shooter made entry into the school, unimpeded, we now understand, there were -- Uvalde police officers did rush in, and they were fired on by the shooter with a weapon of war, an AR-15. And a couple of them were wounded and then they retreated. And understandably so but so they were following the doctrine of mass shootings that developed after Columbine, which is you don`t wait for the SWAT team, you rush in and try to eliminate the shooter because most victims and mass shootings are killed at the very beginning. Most of them don`t last longer than 12 minutes. So they did that. But then they were repelled. And then for reasons we don`t really understand they waited for 60 minutes until a federal Border Patrol led tactical team came in and finally took the initiative and let`s not under state the bravery involved in that action. And there were local police and that too, they created that stack. One person leading the way with a ballistic shield. And that person was shot in the scalp, we understand. And then they breached the classroom and shot the shooter, put 15 bullets in him. Julia Ainsley, my colleague is reporting.
But that was an hour later. And there are real questions about whether some of the children who were wounded could have been saved, had the police gone in earlier that just violated the doctrine of what police are supposed to do after a mass shooting. And it`s really inexplicable. There is a SWAT team in the Uvalde police force. And it`s not clear why whether they responded or if they did, why they didn`t get there before an hour. So many, many painful questions here. This would have been horrible under the best of circumstances. But you have a Texas police agency that doesn`t appear to be giving straight answers. And then you have some real questions about the police response, Stephanie.
RUHLE: We are just two days out, there are a lot more questions. We just have to be careful. We`re not drawing any conclusions yet. There`s a lot more we need to find out.
Ali, Governor Abbott is going to Uvalde tomorrow. And let`s be clear, because there`s headlines, he`s no longer going to the NRA convention. But that`s not exactly true. He`s not going to the NRA convention in-person but he`s not turning his back on the NRA. He`s making them a pre-recorded video that will be shown on the big old Jumbotron. So what`s the community saying about the Governor coming in the state`s response?
VELSHI: Well, look, this is -- Texas is a complicated place when it comes to guns, right? Even in this community of gun ownership is taken as a given. So we don`t have people who sort of are at extremes on this thing, but it is kind of interesting because Texas has some of the most liberal gun laws in the entire country that just got more liberal in March and part of the issue here is that there are people who are saying what we`re doing isn`t really working. So what`s the way in which you preserve your Second Amendment rights, but not do exactly what we`re doing? What are the incremental ways in which you can do this?
Well, showing up at NRA conventions is not a place where that`s going to actually have that conversation enhanced as you know. This is the second time now, 1999 Columbine, there was an NRA convention right after Columbine and it was in Denver. So it`s about 15 minutes away, same thing, this one is going to be in Houston. But getting Republicans of the state of Texas to disavow support from the NRA, you know, that`s not going to happen anytime soon.
So it remains controversial. Again, it`s not hard and fast in this community. This is not a place where people are saying, hey, we shouldn`t be having guns. They`re just questions about who acquires them, how you acquire them, how readily available they are? Whether red flags are something that we should be considering.
This is -- like I said, there`s -- this is complex, and it`s nuanced. It`s not a given what should be happening, but Greg Abbott initially said he wasn`t -- was going, then he wasn`t going, and now he`s not going but he`s sending this video response. And there`s going to be a lot of protests on Friday afternoon and Saturday in Houston.
RUHLE: He`s not going in-person but he is participating. Ali Velshi stay safe get rest. Thank you.
VELSHI: Thank you.
RUHLE: Ken, we heard this earlier today from former FBI Official Frank Figliuzzi. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: The biggest thing that`s contrary to training post Columbine, clearly is the philosophy and practice and policy is you go in, you go with what you got. I remember that phrase particularly being ingrained in our heads in the FBI post Columbine, if that means you, a local cop who showed up and some sheriff`s deputy who drove by then the three of you are going in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Now, Ken, you just mentioned this just a few moments ago that that protocol has changed. It`s not, let`s retreat, let`s get back up. Let`s bring in the SWAT team, something happens and you charge. Frank is obviously saying they didn`t follow the latest protocol. How are other law enforcement veterans reacting to this?
DILANIAN: They are aghast. They have questions because, you know, let`s leave open the possibility that there was a good reason. There -- one factor here was there were hardened doors on these classrooms, ironically designed to keep out mass shooters, he locked himself in. They didn`t have the key for a while so that that may have impeded the police response. But that doesn`t answer the whole question.
Those videos of parents exhorting the police to go in and other accounts that we`ve seen that`s just that`s just agonizing and infuriating to law enforcement officials that I`ve talked to because it is absolutely the case that they are all trained, go in, do what you can do with the weapons that you have. But at the same time, we`ve set up a system where we`re asking police officers with handguns to rush into rifle fire from weapons of war. That`s not really fair to them, either, Stephanie, we should point that out.
RUHLE: Certainly isn`t. Ken Dilanian, thank you for your reporting. I know it is not easy.
I want to bring in Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, his district includes Uvalde. You and I talked just a couple of nights ago, it was just a few hours after the shooting. And here we are, again. What have the last two days been like for you? How are you tonight?
STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ, (D) TEXAS 19TH DISTRICT: You know, it`s definitely I guess my -- how I feel doesn`t really matter. I mean, my constituents are hurting. I went by one of the victims fathers today, I saw him outside of his house. And he`s just in shock. You know, he doesn`t want to talk to a senator, doesn`t want to talk to a reporter, doesn`t want to talk to anybody. Families are in shock. They`re destroyed. And I -- you know, if you`re a parent, you understand that if you`re a rational human being you understand it.
But I`ll tell you what one person did tell me. I didn`t want -- they don`t want their children`s death to be in vain. And they want to see change. We must create change.
RUHLE: Do you think Texans want change? Just think about this. You have had, what is it 13 mass shootings over the last several years. And in response, what is the state of Texas done? Gotten looser gun laws.
GUTIERREZ: I have a lot of Republican constituents who elect me as well. At the end of the day, I`m a hunter, just like them. I don`t use AR-15s. Many of them don`t either. At the end of the day, these are militarized weapons. If you talk to hunters in Texas, they`ll tell you they want common sense gun laws, age restrictions, how an 18-year-old was able to access militarized weapons is just shocking to me. But that`s been the law in Texas for so many years. That must change and we can have that change. If Greg Abbott has the will to bring us back into the legislature and get that done. Red flag laws can happen tomorrow. If they simply have the fortitude to do what`s right, waiting periods can happen if they simply have the fortitude. But that fortitude has been lacking with the Republican Party in Texas.
RUHLE: I made a mistake it was eight shootings over the last 13 years. Well, the governor is coming tomorrow, when he speaks with constituents, when he speaks with families. Do you think they`ll be telling him this?
GUTIERREZ: I know that I was told this. And I`ve been advocating for gun -- common sense gun laws for years in the Texas legislature. In 2019, I filed a red flag bill that went nowhere, didn`t even get out of committee. At the end of the day, people will elect us to bring solutions to problems. This is a significant problem. There`s the evidence of that problem right behind us, these are the things that we`re dealing with here. And these people are hurting. And for anybody that`s against this, they need to put themselves in the place of these people. They need to understand that these folks took their kids to school, and they`re never ever going to see them again.
RUHLE: What`s your reaction on how officials are handling the investigation, the timeline, it seems confusing to people sitting in my seat, but you`re right there.
GUTIERREZ: I`ve talked to DPS officials, I`ve asked him for speed. I`ve asked him for a little bit more transparency, a little bit faster reporting on this, it`s my hope that we`ll have something more tomorrow and not Saturday. At the end of the day, I get it, I get that this is an ongoing investigation. A lot of brave people here, including those officers that went in, it does appear that some protocols might have been violated, but I`m not a professional. I mean, at the end of the day, we`ll let people -- will let these facts come out.
RUHLE: We certainly will. What have parents told you, though? I mean, we`ve seen video of parents that were on the scene begging to go inside, what are they telling you about that?
GUTIERREZ: A lot of people are upset. And as this last press conference came out earlier today from DPS, a lot of people are upset about the ambiguities, the confusion, the lack of response. And so I`ve impressed upon my colleagues here and the folks here at DPS to make sure that they have transparency, quickness, to really get the information out as quickly as possible to people because these folks deserve to know if there was a failure. This is not going to bring their children back. Not at all, and I don`t blame anybody for what happened here. But we have to know how to do things right. Should this ever happen again, who I do blame is the policymakers that are in charge of this state. The Republican House controlled, Republican controlled Senate, the governor, at the end of the day, people are demanding change. What are you Greg Abbott going to change? The laws have some commonsense gun solutions for all Texans. Militarized weapons have no place in our schools or anywhere in our community.
RUHLE: Well, he`s making his way to Uvalde tomorrow. Perhaps he`ll hear that very message. State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
Coming up, new reporting on the possible and I say this in quotes, "bipartisan action on gun control." We`ll ask our friend Michael Steele the chances of anything getting passed the divided Senate.
And later, we`ll talk to the former principal of Columbine High School, his message to other schools dealing with mass shootings, and what he`s doing to make other ones safer. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on a Thursday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRETT HAAKE, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: You can`t buy a beer when you`re 18 years old. Why do you need to be able to buy an assault rifle?
REP. TONY GONZALES, (R) TEXAS: You know, I think part of the conversation we have to be unified. This country is not unified.
HAAKE: I want to go back to my original question. Why does an 18-year-old in Texas need to be able to buy an assault rifle?
GONZALES: The reality is this isn`t a new topic. There has been a lot of legislation that`s been out there.
HAAKE: You have an answer my question, though, why does an 18-year-old need an AR-15 in the state of Texas?
GONZALES: So this is how the legislative process works, is Congress determines the laws. Right now we have a Congress that won`t talk to one another. There`s so much rhetoric and hate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: So start talking or answering Garrett Haake`s important question. That question dodged three times by Uvalde`s Member of Congress. That was Tony Gonzalez there.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got the headline he was looking for. He said he encouraged Senator John Cornyn to discuss possible bipartisan action with Democrats. But NBC News points out this, "Asked if the legislative solution that Republicans would welcome involves red flag laws, background checks or mental health access. McConnell declined to offer any specifics. He only said that the goal is to come up with a proposal, if possible, that`s crafted to meet this particular problem."
Let`s discuss. I want to bring in Lisa Falkenberg, Editor of the Opinion for the Houston Chronicle. And Michael Steele, former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland.
Michael, of the three of us, you know, Mitch McConnell the best so I turned to you, as I said, he got the headline he wanted, there are discussions on getting something done on a bipartisan basis. Do you buy that? Because that`s talk on the same day that Senate Republicans blocked a domestic terrorism bill?
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Yeah, no, I don`t. It is a way of sort of deflecting some of the heat. So now the members have a talking point. We`re working on bipartisan legislation. We`re looking at ways to address this issue, is taking that clip that you came into the segment with and just sort of exponential lysing it, just sort of giving it a better frame and a better, you know, a better deflection point. It`s not -- no one`s putting anything serious. So the table even though there are serious substantive policy positions they can put on the table. McConnell could very easily have said in answering the question, will it include background checks, red flag or what? He could have easily said it`ll include all of that. We`re looking at all of that. But he did. And that was a tail to me.
RUHLE: So why are Democrats even wasting their time talking to him? Why not take something to the vote -- to a vote, show America on the floor, all of these Republicans that don`t want to keep America safe? Why don`t they just move on?
STEELE: I think they should. And you actually are raising a very important point not to lose sight up because guess what happens now that McConnell has sort of made this move is that it freezes everything. So now Schumer is sitting there going well, he`s saying that Cornyn is going to talk to us about legislation. Oh, we`re going on break for 10 days for Memorial Day. And then, oh, then the summer recess for Fourth of July. And all the steps that McConnell, that Schumer could have taken to put legislation on the table that would have backed Republicans into a corner on these individual items doesn`t happen, because they`re talking to Democrats about legislation. We`ve seen this movie 1000 times. McConnell is acutely adept at playing this particular game this way. It still stuns me that Senate Democrats haven`t figured this issue out by now.
RUHLE: He`s going to run the clock and wait for us to get back and talk about gas prices and the price of eggs at the grocery store. You know, who`s not eating eggs, those 19 children that were murdered two days ago.
Lisa, your paper`s editorial headline reads this, "Abbott says, never again after Uvalde`s school massacre. Don`t fall for it Texans." Why? What do you know that we don`t?
LISA FALKENBERG, THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE EDITOR OF OPINION: That`s right. Well, after Santa Fe, there were promises made. After El Paso, there were promises made. I remember after Santa Fe the governor was actually open to red flag laws, he held task force that got together. He invited a group, Texas gun sense that does favor sensible gun reform. And the leader of that group was sitting right next to Abbott and said he seemed very engaged. And he really understood the problems and he really wanted to address them. A year or so later, when the legislature really needed the governor`s help and leadership, it was nowhere to be found. And the leader of the group, as Greg said, he backed away from everything that we thought he was going to do. So we`ve seen this before.
I guess what I`m hoping, you know, Texans are very angry right now. And so am I. So it was my editorial board. But we can`t despair, we have to cling to some kind of hope that when John Cornyn, for instance, says that he`s not making a political point, that he`s -- that he really does care about these dead children, that there`s something inside of him that actually does and actually wants to do something.
RUHLE: Whether he does or he doesn`t, Michael --
RUHLE: Take us to Republican voters, because you know, all sorts of them. And many are not gun enthusiast. I think about a whole lot of rich Republicans that moved to Texas in the last few years, because they liked the low taxes. They`re not into unlimited guns and no abortions. So why do so many Republicans just go for this?
STEELE: Well, I think you have to really be clear about who you`re talking about. You`re absolutely right. There`s a very distinct difference between, you know, the Republican who`s more concerned about other things than guns, and you just referenced them. But then you have a group that is very much honed-in with the NRA, very much honed-in to the political infrastructure of the party, then that allows for cash and votes to flow. And that`s how they leverage both of those at critical times.
So you see, as we were just discussing maneuvers, that, you know, that say, oh, we care and we`re concerned. But that is -- that`s the runway approach is, you know, the runway is along. And so by the time you get to the end of the runway, and you`re ready for liftoff, you burned all the fuel. Planes not going anywhere. And so that for a lot of those Republicans, that`s been a very effective tactic. That that really kind of runs the clock on a lot of the legislation. And so other Republicans that are in the party, that`s not their thing, that`s not what they fight over there. They`re looking at other narratives.
And even within the NRA, which is very interesting, Stephanie, you`re finding more and more NRA members who are just saying, I`ve had it, I`m done between the corruption inside the institution as a whole and in its response to these tragedies. It`ll be interesting to see how that pressure builds inside that organization in a way that maybe changes some of that dynamics. But right now, to the point that was just made, there`s not -- there`s not a lot of hope in that regard, which is why the citizens have to turn the tables here.
RUHLE: I don`t know, Michael.
STEELE: And that`s who put at the ballot box?
RUHLE: I believe it when I see it, when I hear about people breaking away from the NRA or they want change. OK, in theory, they say that yet an 18- year-old can walk into a gun store tomorrow and buy a semi-automatic weapon. When rules start to change, when safety becomes a priority, then I`ll believe it.
Lisa Falkenberg, Michael Steele, always good to see you. Thank you for joining.
Coming up, the former principal of the high school we know well, Columbine, on the message he gave to another school dealing with his unimaginable tragedy. What he is doing now to make schools safer around the country, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Littleton, Colorado wakes up to the full scope of this tragedy at Columbine High School after the deadly school shooting yesterday, investigators are now on the scene, trying to clear what is still an active crime scene. Investigators inside the high school, trying to clear the -- all of the bombs and explosives left behind. Meantime, the dead toll -- the death toll now stands at 15 dead, the latest figures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: At the time, Columbine was by far the deadliest high school shooting in American history. In the 23 years since, there have been many, many more school shootings. And as those communities grieve, the surviving students and teachers try to cope with their new normal, their school, their hometown, it all becomes a household name for the worst possible reason, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and now Robb Elementary.
Frank Deangelis is with us tonight. He is the former Principal of Columbine High School, and he has made it his life`s work to help other schools recover from such tragedies. Frank, you are doing that work this week. I know you reached out to the Principal of Robb elementary, what`d you say?
FRANK DEANGELIS, FORMER PRINCIPAL COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL: I left a message. And right now I remember right after Columbine, a principal from Heath High School reaching out to me after the shooting at Paducah and didn`t even know what I needed. So I reached out and just said, please give me a call and explain, you know, that we`re here to help her. And I`m waiting to hear back. But there`s another connection I was involved with the Santa Fe shooting many years ago, and I ended up meeting with the school board members and the superintendent that just helped them deal with the aftermath of the horrific event.
RUHLE: How do you do that? What does your work look like? I know you`re part of a network of principals who`ve had mass shootings at your schools and you kind of come in and I don`t want to say troubleshoot but offer some pretty unique support.
DEANGELIS: Right. And it was a few years ago and part of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the director, Greg Waples, called me and said, Frank, would you head up this committee, and there`s about 29 of us that are part of it in which we are administrators who have dealt with school shootings. And right now what we`re basically working on is a Recovery Network guide to deal with the aftermath. You know, things dealing like with graduation, or dealing with the aftermath of the media, things of this nature. And we`re out there. And then usually what ends up happening since Columbine, almost every major shooting or all shootings, I reached out to the principal and just I`ve been to various places. I`ve been to Sandy Hook. I`ve been to Parkland and just go out and reach and talk to the faculty and answer any questions, meeting with parents and recently doing a lot just through zoom just to help these people with the recovery process.
RUHLE: People want answers now and they are not happy with what they`re getting from law enforcement and the response thus far. I know you experienced something similar with Columbine, what are these early days, like when people are in trauma and just want answers?
DEANGELIS: It`s very frustrating. And I think what we ended up seeing early on is, and I see this all the time is the five stages of grief. You know, right now, some denial, but now there`s some anger taking place. And unfortunately, what ends up happening is the narrative comes out right away in things that we`re still talking about 20 year -- 23 years later, but things that were narrative that were not necessarily accurate. And I think right now just being able to understand they want answers, and justifiably so I know in the State of Colorado, we had a school shooting in Arapahoe High School and Claire Davis unfortunately lost her life. And the parents just wanted answers. And so state legislators passed a Claire Davis rule that does allow things to be opened up to find out exactly they just want to know and they`re entitled to know.
RUHLE: Let`s talk about preventing shootings. There have been all sorts of ideas thrown around. They always are after a shooting. What do you think about hardening schools arming teachers, making one entrance point? When I think back to Columbine, I remember looking at your sprawling campus. There couldn`t have been one entrance?
DEANGELIS: No, we had many. And it was very interesting we probably -- parents were concerned about the safety of our school and I told her parents, Columbine was probably the safest school in the world after Columbine. But what`s really interesting to me is some students came in and they said, Mr. D, with all due respect, we know you love us, you want to keep us safe. But this is no longer like a school. And we get more anxious by seeing all this extra security and there are ways to do things. But you know, the thing about arming teachers, I am not a proponent of that.
Now, I need to preface that by saying there are some rural communities where it would take law enforcement some time to get there. But I`m not for -- the reason I`m going to say this, I`m going to use myself as an example. I could go through gun training, gun safety programs and things of that nature. What I don`t have is that mental state when I encountered the gunman on April 20, and he`s pointed a gun at me, and he`s getting ready to shoot me in these girls. If I was armed, I don`t know if I could have shot that person because he was one of my students. And I would have tried to talk him down a reason. And doing that, that mentality having that mind mentality that would put the girls in danger. And when I talk to law enforcement people, they basically say, when we come in and we see a perpetrator, we`re going to stop the killing. I don`t know I could have done that, because he was one of my students that was aiming a gun at me.
But I am a strong proponent of school resource officers being in. And I think a lot of times what ends up happening is they get a bad rap. And when I go out and talk to administrators and school officials, a lot of times I hear administrators saying, well, if you ask gun, I`m going to send you down to the cops. And that gives a negative connotation to the police officers. The school resource officers we had at Columbine were unreal as far as being developing relationships with the kids. They were a trusted source for the kids. And it was very -- it was very enhancing. And so the thing that we see with a lot of these events, they`re usually over within five minutes. And it makes you wonder if there was a school resource officer standing right there, that if the gunman would have walked into that school, knowing that there`s a good chance he would not have survived.
RUHLE: Frank, you just made us a lot smarter on all of this tonight. Imagine that a principal facing off against the student if they did have a weapon in their hand. Could they fire at their own student? That is the world we`re living in. Frank Deangelis, thanks for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
DEANGELIS: Thank you so much. Thank you.
Coming up, it is difficult to hear and that is why you need to hear it. Dr. Vin Gupta is here to explain why AR-15 style weapons are especially lethal in mass shootings, when THE 11TH HOUR continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a nine millimeter bullet from a handgun, which we captured in slow motion. The handgun bullet traveled about 800 miles an hour. It sliced nearly straight all the way through the gel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This one`s going to be a little bit louder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, look at the AR-15 round.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See the difference?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s three times faster and struck with more than twice the force. The shockwave of the AR-15 bullet blasted a large cavity in the jail, unlike the bullet from the handgun.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: A powerful and much needed reminder of how lethal AR style rifles are. As experts tell the Houston Chronicle these particular weapons like the one used in Uvalde often leave victims unrecognizable. You need to hear this.
With us tonight, Dr. Vin Gupta, a critical care pulmonologist in Seattle and a reservist serving in the U.S. Air Force medical Corp.
Vin, I know this is the last thing you want to talk about. But I need you to explain to our audience while we`re talking all about gun safety, there`s nothing safe about an AR-15. Walk us through what happens to a human body, a child when a bullet from an AR-15 style enters you?
DR. VIN GUPTA, MSNBC MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, good evening, Stephanie, and for your audience her not to get too graphic. But if you are -- if you know somebody or let`s say somebody gets shot by an AR-15 style weapon, and that bullet goes in through an entry wound, what happens on impact to the to that flesh that soft tissue between your skin and say bone, it`s like a mini-bomb went off, Stephanie. And so what you`ll have is you`ll have tissue destruction, you`ll have somebody bleeding out like the damage to arteries and veins. In battlefield medicine where we get taught in military medicine that one of the core components here is tactical combat casualty care, you put a tourniquet on as high as possible to stanch that bleeding to try to save a life. And then you start talking not in heart rate, respiratory rate temperature, these normal vital signs that you and I are well aware of two years into the COVID pandemic. We`re talking about things like shock index, heart rate divided by systolic blood pressure. We don`t - - I mean, that`s not common parlance in civilian medicine.
We`re talking about things like shock index, because we`re wondering how much blood volume has been lost if somebody has incurred this type of injury. In settings like this, you lose 40% to 50% of your blood volume within minutes. So this can happen really quickly. There`s organ failure. There`s an inflammatory cascade much more detrimental to the body than an injury or a bullet that might go into the body from a handgun, Stephanie, so that`s why time is of the essence but also a different skill set battlefield medicine, not civilian medicine.
RUHLE: So does your average hospital, let`s say someone actually makes it into an ambulance into an emergency room, can an average hospital, can they even treat someone?
GUPTA: Absolutely. But time is of the essence here. The concern here is what -- are you going to hemorrhage to death? How much blood volume will you lose? Depends on where that injury occurred. Was it in a limb and they amputate that limb, again, is a tourniquet in place? Can they stand out that bleeding? EMTs -- civilian EMTs generally are taught in these -- in what to do in these situations. But Stephanie, they just don`t have enough opportunity to flex this type of skill set because it`s not that common. These types of injuries across United States add at a massacre like level. This is battlefield medicine. But yes, if this were to happen quickly, and the end a patient was stabilized in the field right after that injury. Literally within a minute or two, we`re not talking one hour than a minute or two, the injury was recognized, a tourniquet was placed, yes. Then you take that person to a hospital, you get them blood products, you do damage control, resuscitation, that type of immediate emergent surgery from a trauma surgeon to really staunch out that bleeding.
RUHLE: We`re out of time. But I have to ask, why can some of these children not be identified? There`s not rubble they`re under. They`re not missing. They`re right there in the classroom?
GUPTA: Well, they likely sustained I`m speculating here but they probably likely is sustained facial trauma bullets to their face. And again, in this case, once you have that impact, you have soft tissue destruction, you probably have a face that`s unrecognizable. As hard as it is to articulate that as hard as it is for your audience to hear that, so that`s the reason why.
RUHLE: Unrecognizable, unrecognizable. That is the work of an AR-15, a weapon of war. Dr. Vin Gupta, thank you for joining us tonight.
Those lives that were stolen in Uvalde, they were all taken too soon. Each one of those faces you`re looking at that is what matters. And tonight we are hearing from those who love them most including the parents of many of them. One little girl, Lexi Rubio`s parents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is sustaining your right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, we`re not (inaudible). I just want to be with my baby.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven`t gone to see my baby since this day, since the day we took a picture with her, with her award. (Inaudible), I know I can`t hold her. I can`t touch (inaudible), I can`t hold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Rubios also told Lester that Lexi was smart, loving and appreciative little girl. Ellie Garcia`s dad told my colleague Savannah Guthrie something very similar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sweetest girl you`ve ever, ever had just me, had the honor to call (inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: And as we learn the names of more victims, let`s take a moment to remember who they were. Makenna Lee Elrod, she was just 10 years old. Her uncle said that she loved school and made friends everywhere she went. Layla Salazar`s dad told The Associated Press that she was fast, on field day she won six races. She also loves to dance and swim.
Nevaeh Bravo`s family told The Washington Post that she put a smile on everyone`s face. Her aunt said that her name is Heaven, spelled backwards. The Washington Post also reporting that Miranda Mathis was lost. A family friend said the 11-year-old was fun, spunky and smart.
Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, also 10 years old, her aunt wrote on Facebook that she was full of life and dreamed of one day going to Texas A&M to become a marine biologist. Young children who deserved to live long, beautiful lives. Whose lives were stolen. We`ll be right back.
RUHLE: The last thing before we go tonight, this is now our fault. An emotional Jimmy Kimmel used his monologue last night to speak about his sadness and frustration over the Robb Elementary School shooting. He asked for courage from pro-gun Texas politicians, Senator Cruz and Governor Abbott. He pleaded with Americans not to take this inaction on gun regulations anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, TELEVISION HOST: Here`s the thing I would like to say to Ted Cruz, the human being and Governor Abbott and everyone. It`s OK to make, you made a mistake. In fact, it`s not just OK, it`s unnecessary to admit you made a mistake when your mistake is killing the children in your state. It takes a big person to do something like that. It takes a brave person to do something like that. And do I think these men are brave people? No, I don`t. I don`t. But, man, I would love it if they surprised me. I would love it. If any of these guys surprise me. I don`t know -- this is not a time for moments of silence. This is a time to be loud, and to stay loud and not stop until we fix this. Some people say this is a mental health problem. Other states gun problem. It is both and it can be both. So let`s work on both of those. There have been 27 school shootings so far this year in this country and it`s May.
How does this make sense to anyone? These are our children. And our representatives are supposed to represent us. We want limits on who can walk around with an AR-15 and a damn old shouldn`t be a teenager who works at a fast food restaurant, if we can agree on that forget it. This is not their fault anymore. This is now our fault, because we get angry. We demand action. We don`t get it. They wait it out. We go back to the lives that we should rightfully be able to go back to. But, you know, doesn`t forget it. The parents of the children at Sandy Hook and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and now Robb Elementary School, they won`t forget it.
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RUHLE: We demand action and then we forget it. That is something Jimmy Kimmel`s call to action has taken us off the air tonight. And on that very important note, I wish you all a good and safe night. From all of our colleagues across the networks of NBC News, thanks for staying up late with us. I will see you at the end of tomorrow, when we will have a very special 11TH HOUR. Enough is enough. We`re going to break down what`s happening why and where the hell we go from here.