Uvalde, a town crushed by tragedy and pain after the massacre 2:49
(WABNEWS) — President Joe Biden traveled to Uvalde, Texas, with the difficult task of bringing comfort to a community reeling from the horrific shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday at an elementary school. The Justice Department announced it will review the police response to the shooting, which has been under intense scrutiny for how officers intervened.
President and First Lady Jill Biden’s first stop was at the Robb Elementary School memorial where they paid their respects and laid a bouquet of flowers.RELATED
The Bidens were greeted with applause from onlookers and spoke with Dr. Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde County Independent School District, and Mandy Gutierrez, principal of Robb Elementary School.
WABNEWS’s Arlette Saenz in Uvalde reported that some onlookers began yelling at Gov. Greg Abbott as he approached the memorial site. “Please, Governor Abbott, help Uvalde County,” shouted Ben Gonzales, a 35-year-old Uvalde resident. “We need a change. Our kids don’t deserve this.”
As Biden departed the memorial, Gonzales shouted the same plea to the president: “President Biden, we need help! We need help, President Biden!”
The president and first lady took several minutes to look at photos of the 19 students and two adults who lost their lives in the shooting.
Following their stop at the memorial, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attended a bilingual Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Later, Biden arrived at the Uvalde County Arena to meet with survivors and family members of the shooting, a meeting that is scheduled to last three hours and is closed to the press.
This weekend would have been the first to celebrate summer in the community. Instead, funeral plans are underway for the 19 children and two teachers who were massacred in their classrooms two days before summer break.
Here are the latest details:
Biden hopes to provide ‘little comfort’ in Uvalde, adviser says
President Biden traveled to Uvalde, Texas, with the difficult task of bringing comfort to a community reeling from the horrific shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers Tuesday at an elementary school.
“He hopes to convey empathy and understanding of how incredibly horrible this moment is for them,” says an adviser traveling with the president this Sunday. “He hopes to provide some small comfort, if that is possible.”
Throughout the morning, community members – adults and young children – deposited flowers and stuffed animals at the site. A family was seen kneeling in prayer in front of the crosses that represent the 21 lives lost. Dozens of spectators gathered near the barricades ahead of the president’s anticipated arrival.
In addition to the horrific events that unfolded in Uvalde, this weekend also holds personal significance for the Biden family. Tomorrow marks seven years since Beau Biden passed away from cancer, a loss the president has often noted as he seeks to connect with grieving families.
Ahead of his visit this Sunday, Biden urged unity in trying to make America safer. “We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of our people and our children,” Biden said during his commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
“As I speak, those parents are literally preparing to bury their children, in the United States of America, to bury their children, there is too much violence, too much fear, too much pain,” referring to the relatives of the victims in Uvalde.
Biden delivers message after Texas shooting: I’m sick of it 7:41 Bidens attend bilingual mass in Uvalde after visiting elementary school memorial
After their stop at the Robb Elementary School memorial, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden attended a bilingual Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with approximately 600 people more than 1 km away from the shooting site. mass fatality last week.
The first lady greeted some p arishioners seated along the church aisle, according to the reporter inside the church.
Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller began the Mass by saying, “Our hearts are broken.”
“In the midst of collapse and devastation, we have once again come to this our home. To pray. And being together,” said one of the other service leaders earlier.
Another servant leader began the Mass by talking about the difficulties of recent times: a pandemic, poverty, and now this.
“Sir. The president has a very good understanding of what is happening right now, here. And we are very kind to his spirit,” he added.
The choir sang “On Eagle’s Wings” during the service. Biden has said the anthem was a favorite of his late son Beau Biden, who died seven years ago on Monday at the age of 46 after battling brain cancer.
As the Bidens were leaving Mass at 1:28 p.m. local time, he approached a group of protesters who were asking him to “do something.”
“We will,” he told them, according to reporters with the group.
They then left for a meeting with the families of the victims and survivors of Tuesday’s shooting.
Justice Department to review police response to elementary school shooting
The Justice Department announced Sunday that it will conduct a review of the police response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
“At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the US Department of Justice will conduct a critical incident review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on May 24,” Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement.
The review is a significant development as Texas officials and law enforcement have come under intense scrutiny for how officers responded to the shooting.
The massacre, America’s deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012, has been followed by conflicting official accounts of how it unfolded. The delayed police confrontation with the attacker has compounded the anger of the parents, with some saying a quicker response could have saved the children’s lives.
“The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help first responders prepare for and respond to active attacker events. The review will be conducted with the Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing,” Conley said. “As with the Department of Justice’s pre-after-action reviews of mass shootings and other critical incidents, this assessment will be fair, transparent, and independent. The Department of Justice will publish a report with its findings at the conclusion of its review.”
Vice President Harris Calls for Assault Weapons Ban
Following the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, Vice President Kamala Harris called for a ban on assault rifles in the US.
“An assault weapon is a weapon of war with no place, no place in a civil society.” His comments came during a visit to Buffalo on Saturday, where he attended the funeral of a mass shooting victim who died in a racist attack targeting Black people.
Acts of kindness spread in the community
Residents of the troubled city of some 16,000 people have supported each other in the days after the shooting through prayers, hugs and donations. Omar Rodríguez, owner of a car business, made 250 hamburgers to raise funds for the families of the victims. He set up a large grill, tables and cooking utensils while his family and friends took rags and car wash soap for donations.
Patrick Johnson, a 58-year-old father of four, drove seven hours from his hometown of Harleton, Texas, to Uvalde and set up a table full of toys for children who haven’t smiled in days. “There are many ways to be a blessing to people,” he said.
This is how the Uvalde community mourns after the shooting 6:28 Funeral services for the victims of Uvalde will begin on Monday
Local funeral homes announced wakes for at least one victim on Monday and other services are scheduled for next week. Two funeral homes in Uvalde have agreed to cover the costs of all the victims.
No confrontation with the police
The gunman was not confronted by police before he entered the school, a Texas police officer said Thursday, contradicting earlier comments by authorities and raising more questions about the police response to the massacre. A representative from the Texas Department of Public Safety said earlier this week that a school resource officer had “engaged” with the suspect before he entered the school.
Did the police fail during the Uvalde school shooting? 2:24