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Texas shooting: Governor Abbott issues disaster declaration for Uvalde as funeral services begin

Services are planned for 11 children and their teacher Irma Garcia this week

Alex Woodward,Alisha Rahaman Sarkar,Gino Spocchia
Wednesday 01 June 2022 23:21 BST
Texas police admit ruling gunman inactive was ‘the wrong decision’

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Louise Thomas

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Families and community members have gathered to remember the 19 children and two adult teachers who were killed in last Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with funerals beginning to take place.

All 21 victims will be buried between now and mid-June, authorities have said, with funerals held on Tuesday for Amerie Jo Garza and Maite Rodriguez, both 10 years old. About a dozen services are planned for this week alone.

The investigation into the Uvalde massacre is continuing with revelations that the school district’s law enforcement agency has not responded to interview requests with the Texas Rangers as investigators probe the response.

Recently released footage from outside the school captures a 911 dispatcher relaying information from a child who called emergency operators, “advising he is in the room, full of victims” – again raising questions about the police decision not to storm the classroom.

Governor Greg Abbott has meanwhile issued a disaster declaration for Uvalde allowing the Texas Division of Emergency Management to provide critical assistance.


Canada announces handgun ban legislation following Uvalde

Canada’s Justin Trudeau announced plans to ban handgun ownership in the country following last week’s tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

The proposals, which are expected to pass, will also force owners of “military-style assault weapons” to sell their guns to the government under the newly-introduced legislation.

“As a government, as a society, we have a responsibility to act to prevent more tragedies,” Mr Trudeau said at a news conference on Monday.

As Josh Marcus writes, the Canadian buyback plan is modelled on other successful initiatives in the wake of similar tragedies:

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 10:31

Uvalde prepares for funerals this week as mourners gather

Twelve funerals are planned this week for some of the child victims and their teacher Irma Garcia, who were all killed last Tuesday in Uvalde.

On Monday, mourners gathered at the Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home for 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza.

Another was also held for 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez, the Associated Press reported, and other memorial services are planned ahead of the funerals.

A memorial to the 19 child and two adult victims of the Uvalde shooting
A memorial to the 19 child and two adult victims of the Uvalde shooting (REUTERS)
Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 11:30

Joe Rogan condemned for gun control remarks

Joe Rogan has once again been condemned after he suggested he doesn’t think it’s “wise to take all the guns away” following the shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“No one knows how to stop that,” Rogan said on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, when asked how to stop another atrocity.

The 54-year-old was speaking with scientist Lex Fridman when he added that gun control would “give all the power to the government” and “criminals”.

As Peony Hirwani writes, those comments came despite the shooting deaths of 19 children and two adults at the Robb Elementary School last week. As have other countries been able to reduce gun violence with weapons bans...

Joe Rogan branded a ‘moron’ after claiming it’s ‘wise’ to take guns away from owners

Controversial podcast host has waded into the gun control row in the US, following a deadly shooting at a school in Texas

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 12:30

Debate on AR-15 ban continues amid Biden comments

The discussion on AR-15 guns and whether the US could ban such a ‘military style’ weapon follows the withdrawal of US firearms manufacturer Daniel Defense from the National Rifle Association (NRA) conference in Houston, Texas, at the weekend.

One of the company’s AR-15 semi-automatic rifles was found to have been used by the 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde last Tuesday, leading to that withdrawal.

Joe Biden has said those who say they need AR-15 rifles to “take on the government” are “wrong” because the weapons they would need aren’t legal to own, but who are Daniel Defense?

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Who are Daniel Defense, the makers of Salvador Ramos’ AR-15?

Firearms manufacturer whose AR-15 semi-automatic rifle was reportedly used in Robb Elementary School massacre pledges to co-operate with law enforcement investigations into atrocity

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 13:30

Volunteers helping Uvalde funeral homes prepare

Volunteer embalmers and morticians have arrived in Uvalde following last week’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary school to help prepare for the 21 funerals of victims.

The head of Texas Funeral Directors Association, Jimmy Lucas, told NBC News he had been overwhelmed by support for the community, with many coming from outside the small town to help.

“People, funeral directors, embalmers, caskets — anything,” Mr Lucas said of the help needed. He added that some volunteers have also been helping with facial reconstruction as families prepare for the funerals.

One funeral home in nearby San Antonio also sent a pizza to the two funeral homes in Uvalde, Mr Lucas said, to make sure staff had something to eat.

He explained that towns of Uvalde’s size often have only one or two funeral directors, requiring outside help when a mass shooting event or similar tragedy occurs.

He added that Tuesday will see the first of the funerals for the 21 victims from last week’s massacre, with 12 due to take place this week.

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 14:30

Trump Jr complains about gun ban calls in ‘tasteless’ video

Donald Trump Jr has been attacked for “tasteless” comments made in a video about the massacre in Uvalde, which has seen renewed calls for bans on AR-15 guns.

The son of former Republican president Donald Trump complained that guns were blamed for the mass shooting and remarked: “He wouldn’t have done the exact same thing with a bat, or a bomb, or some sort of improvised device – or a machete?”

As Rachel Sharp reports, he echoed Republican lines on mass shootings being solely about mental health rather than weapons that an 18-year-old was able to buy:

Donald Trump Jr suggests Uvalde shooter could have murdered 21 with a ‘bat’

Donald Trump’s son posted a rambling video on his Facebook page on Saturday where he argued that last week’s massacre could have unfolded with any other weapon

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 15:30

Justice department probe will likely consider who had authority

The US Department of Justice’s decision to review the police response to the Uvalde school shooting is a relatively rare phenomenon, even in the case of deadly school shootings.

The probe could take months and extend to hundreds of pages if like a review completed following the 2015 shooting in San Bernidino, California, the Associated Press reports.

Among the biggest questions to be asked of the Uvalde school district police force are why it’s chief – Pedro Arredondo – had the authority to call shots the day.

“The key question for me is, who designated him to be in charge?,” said Maria Haberfeld, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

Gino Spocchia31 May 2022 16:30

Who is police chief Pete Arredondo?

Uvalde’s school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo is under intense scrutiny over his agency’s response to the massacre at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday.

Who is Uvalde police chief Pete Arredondo?

Investigation underway into law enforcement response to Uvalde massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead at the hands of teen gunman

Alex Woodward31 May 2022 17:31

Uvalde police chief blamed for botched response will not be sworn in as council member amid funerals

Pedro “Pete” Arredondo was elected to Uvalde City Council with nearly 70 per cent of the vote on 7 May and was due to be sworn in on Tuesday after campaigning on community outreach, as the Uvalde Leader-News reported earlier this month.

In an announcement on Monday, however, Uvalde mayor Don McLaughlin said Mr Arredondo would not be sworn in at a special council meeting on Tuesday.

The ceremony will be postponed as the community holds funeral services and memorials for the 19 children and two teachers killed in the Robb Elementary massacre.

Uvalde mayor postpones meeting to swear in police chief

Special session delayed as officials say Pedro Arredondo ‘duly elected’

Alex Woodward31 May 2022 18:00

As Uvalde mourns in funeral services beginning this week, a Texas artist is painting caskets

Trey Ganem of SoulShine Industries in Edna, Texas, along with his son Billy, have painted caskets to reflect the lives of the children killed in the Robb Elementary massacre in Uvalde.

“No family should have to bury a child,” he told NBC’s affiliate in Dallas.

“We don’t just paint caskets here, we represent the lives of the people who have passed,” he said.

Alex Woodward31 May 2022 18:15

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