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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

Texas police admit ruling gunman inactive was ‘the wrong decision’

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.

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Children were calling for help as police waited outside Uvalde school, 911 dispatch reveals

Recently released video appears to capture a 911 dispatcher alerting law enforcement that emergency operators were receiving desperate calls from schoolchildren reporting that their classroom was “full of victims” after a gunman opened fire inside Robb Elementary School.

The footage reportedly took place at 12.13pm on 24 May, when officers had surrounded the building and waited inside a hallway, raising more questions about law enforcement’s delayed response, and whether their inaction led to more bloodshed.

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George W Bush’s attorney general signals support for banning AR-15 ‘killing machines’

Former US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who served under former Republican President George W Bush, condemned AR-style rifles as “killing machines” and echoed comments made by Joe Biden a day earlier saying there was “no rational basis” for owning such a weapon.

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Biden laments ‘devastation’ of US gun violence in meeting with New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern

Ahead of a White House meeting between President Biden and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the president said her leadership has helped galvanise a “global effort” to curb online extremism and gun violence in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.

“I want to work with you on that effort,” he said. “ And I want to talk to you about what those conversations were like, if you’re willing.” He added: “There’s an expression by an Irish poet that says, ‘Too long a suffering makes a stone of the heart.’ Well, there’s an awful lot of suffering. ... I’ve been to more mass shooting aftermaths than, I think, any president in American history, unfortunately. ... Much of it is preventable, and the devastation is ... is amazing.”

He said the “pain is palpable” in Uvalde, where he visited over the Memorial Day weekend alongside First Lady Jill Biden.

Biden laments 'devastation' of 'preventable' gun death in wake of Uvalde shooting
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Teacher who reported gunman did not leave door open, attorney claims, contrary to police narrative

A teacher that Texas law enforcement officials claimed had left a door propped open that allowed the gunman to enter Robb Elementary School had closed the door, her San Antonio lawyer told The San Atonio Express-News.

Last week, Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told reporters that the door to the school was propped open by a teacher who ran outside after hearing Salvador Ramos crash a truck nearby.

Her attorney said she ran back inside to get her phone to call 911, then came back out while on the phone with 911, and ran back inside after witnesses at the funeral home next to the school shouted out that Ramos was armed.

“She kicked the rock away [that was propping the door open] when she went back in. She remembers pulling the door closed while telling 911 that he was shooting. She thought the door would lock because that door is always supposed to be locked,” her attorney said, according to the newspaper.

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Nine dead and 60 injured in Memorial Day weekend mass shootings

At least 14 mass shootings across the US from early Saturday until late Monday have left nine people dead and more than 60 injured.

A tracking of mass shootings from the Gun Violence Archive – which defines a mass shooting as an incident in which “four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter” – shows that there have been 230 mass shootings in 34 states and Washington DC within the first 150 days of the year.

The organisation reports that at least 156 people were killed and 412 were injured in all gun-related violence over the Memorial Day weekend.

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Funeral mass begins for Amerie Jo Garza, 10

A funeral mass is underway at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, among the first of 19 Uvalde children to be laid to rest following last week’s massacre.

Amerie had just turned 10 two weeks before she was killed with her classmates at Robb Elementary School.

She is remembered as a “kind, caring, blunt, loving, sweet, sassy and of course funny little diva who ‘hated dresses’ but nonetheless; she truly had a heart of gold,” according to an obituary.

It reads: “She loved to eat at Chick-Fil-A and vanilla bean frape from Starbucks. Her favorite hobbies were swimming, drawing, and most of all spending time with family. [Amerie’s] biggest dream was to become an Art teacher due to her ambitions for creativity. A protector of her brother and as we now know her classmates. This world will never have another Amerie. She will truly be missed. “

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Girl Scouts award Amerie Jo Garza with posthumous honour

Amerie Jo Garza, whose funeral services are being held in Uvalde today, one week after she was killed in the Robb Elementary School massacre, was posthumously awarded the Girls Scouts’ bronze cross, which recognises a scout’s attempt to save lives at the risk of their own.

Amerie, who turned 10 years old just two weeks before she was killed, was one of the students who called 911 from her fourth-grade classroom.

“On May 24, Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers. It was our honor as Amerie’s council to present the Bronze Cross to her family, and Girl Scouts will continue to pay tribute at her funeral services today with a Presentation of Color,” Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas said in a statement.

“We will carry her story with us always and ensure her brave actions will endure for generations,” the organisation said.

The organisation is collecting notecards and donations; information for how to help is available at this link.

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Video appears to capture police radio call of child reporting ‘I got shot’

A chilling video reportedly captured during the Uvalde massacre includes a radio message in which a voice that appears to be a Robb Elementary School student tells an adult that they have been shot.

CNN obtained the video from an anonymous individual who was recording the day of the shooting and had been listening to radio communications between Border Patrol agents responding to the scene.

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Officials have reportedly mulled whether to raze Robb Elementary. Here is what happened to school buildings from other mass shootings

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez said President Biden told him that "we're going to look to raze that school, build a new one” in the wake of last Tuesday’s massacre.

This is what happened to school buildings at other mass shootings, according to CNN:

  • Columbine High School in Colorado closed for the remainder of the school year in 1999, and most of the school reopened for the following school year, except for a library where most of the violence took place. It was demolished and replaced with a new building called the Hope Library.
  • After the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the entire school was demolished and rebuilt.
  • One of the buildings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida remained closed after the 2018 shootings. A new building later replaced the use of temporary classrooms.
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New York officials propose 10 gun control measures in wake of massacres

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Democratic leadership in the state legislature have introduced 10 bills to “tighten New York’s gun laws, close loopholes and directly address the gaps in our laws exposed by the horrific shootings” in Buffalo and Uvalde, the governor announced on Tuesday.

“New York already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but clearly we need to make them even stronger,” Governor Hochul said in a statement. “New Yorkers deserve to feel safe in schools, in grocery stores, in movie theaters, in shopping malls, and on our streets – and we must do everything in our power to protect them.”

The bills would make threats of mass shootings a crime; create a taskforce for online extremism and requirs social media platforms to provide “clear and concise” policies for responding to hateful conduct; ban the sale of bulletproof vests for people who are not in law enforcement; and require a license to buy all semi-automatic rifles, among other measures.

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