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This is the moment Texas senator Ted Cruz stormed out of an interview after being asked why school mass shootings ‘only happen in America’ during a vigil for victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre.
Republican senator Cruz had joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott to be with hundreds of tearful relatives and friends mourning loved ones killed in the shooting, which is the worst school massacre since Sandy Hook in 2012.
Nineteen children and two of their teachers at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas, were murdered on Tuesday by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos using two AR-15-style rifles. Ramos had bought the guns and 375 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition legally a week before, just days after his 18th birthday.
British journalist Mark Stone cornered Cruz at the vigil and asked him whether it was time for gun reform laws in America.
When asked why by the British Sky News journalist why American exceptionalism is ‘so awful’, Cruz said: ‘You know, I’m sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful. You’ve got your political agenda. God love you.’
After repeatedly being asked ‘You can’t answer that’ by the British journalist, Cruz turned and said: ‘Why is it that people come from all over the world to America? Because it’s the freest, most prosperous, safest country on Earth. Stop being a propagandist.’
‘You know, it’s easy to go to politics,’ Cruz told Sky News. ‘Inevitably, when some violent psychopath murders people, if you want to stop violent crime, the proposals the Democrats have — none of them would have stopped this.’
He added: ‘There are 19 sets of parents who are never going to get to kiss their child tonight.’
The Texas senator then stormed out of the interview at the vigil being held by relatives and friends of those killed in the massacre on Tuesday.
Texas senator Cruz stormed out of an interview after a British journalist asked why school mass shootings ‘only happen in America’
He was asked the question while he was attending a vigil for victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre
Cruz had joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott to be with hundreds of tearful relatives and friends mourning loved ones killed in the shooting
Nineteen children and two of their teachers at Robb Elementary School, Uvalde, Texas, were murdered on Tuesday by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos using two AR-15-style rifles
Mourners gathered on the bleachers and on the dirt of a fairground arena in the small town of Uvalde
A woman cries as she hugs a child, during a community gathering at the Uvalde County Fairplex, following the school mass shooting
The tight-knit Latino community of Uvalde was wracked with grief Wednesday after a teen in body armor marched into the school and killed 19 children and two teachers
Around 15,000 people live in the town of Uvalde, which is 50 miles from the international border with Mexico
As mourners embraced and wept, relatives and friends of those murdered gathered on the bleachers and on the dirt of a fairground arena in the small town of Uvalde.
Throughout the day, mourners made their way to a municipal center, where they could receive psychological support.
Around 15,000 people live in the town, which is 50 miles from the border with Mexico.
Ryan Ramirez fought back tears as he spoke of his ‘lovable’ 10-year-old daughter Alithia, an aspiring artist who was among the 19 schoolchildren killed in a cold-blooded shooting that has devastated the tight-knit community.
Some held portraits of the dead, others squeezed stuffed animals and drawings, each struggling to comprehend the tragedy of the previous day.
‘I’m just heartbroken right now,’ Ramirez said as Alithia’s mother hugged their other daughter.
Mourners held portraits of the dead, others squeezed stuffed animals and drawings, each struggling to comprehend the tragedy of the previous day
Flowers are placed on a makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 25
Balloons adorned the elementary school’s welcome sign while small white crosses were placed on the grass by the sidewalk to remember the children and teachers who were killed on Tuesday
Community members prayed together during a vigil on Wednesday, May 25, for the 21 victims of the shooting
Hundreds of people attended a vigil on Wednesday after the worst school mass shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012
Mourners gathered to grieve together after the horrific tragedy at the Texas elementary school in which 19 children and two teachers were killed
Religious figures offered prayers at the bilingual vigil, where Governor Greg Abbott gripped Uvalde’s Mayor Ruben Nolasco in a long hug (pictured)
‘She was a real good artist’ and aspired to greatness, he added, flipping through a portfolio of his daughters colorful paintings as well as birthday cards she drew for her mother.
‘My daughter would want everybody that was involved to be strong and keep it together. That’s what we’re trying to do.’
Young Alithia faced similar tragedy last September when she lost a close classmate, Nico, in a car crash in Dallas, her father said.
She processed the grief in one of the few ways that made sense: through art.
Ramirez showed a detailed drawing his daughter had made of Nico up in heaven, looking down at the friend he left behind.
Religious figures offered prayers at the bilingual vigil, where Governor Greg Abbott gripped Uvalde’s Mayor Ruben Nolasco in a long hug.
A grieving Esmeralda Bravo held a photograph of her granddaughter Nevaeh, one of those who was murdered.
Ryan Ramirez fought back tears as he spoke of his ‘lovable’ 10-year-old daughter Alithia (pictured), an aspiring artist who was among the 19 schoolchildren killed in a cold-blooded shooting that has devastated the tight-knit community
A grieving Esmeralda Bravo holding a photograph of her granddaughter Nevaeh, one of the children who was murdered
Angie Garcia consoles her son as he cries for his cousin who died in the mass shooting
Jacinto Cazares, whose 10-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed in the Uvalde school shooting on Tuesday, is pictured on Wednesday outside the school
‘This has no explanation, my granddaughter did not deserve this,’ Bravo said quietly.
‘She was a good little girl, very shy and very pretty,’ she said. ‘It means so much to me to have this support from the community but I would rather have my granddaughter here with me.’
Hours earlier and blocks away, Aida Hernandez shed bitter tears as she left mass at the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church.
Hernandez, who is in her sixties, taught at Robb Elementary until she retired two years ago.
In the small house of worship off Uvalde’s main street, the largely Hispanic congregation prayed for the victims of America’s worst school shooting in a decade.
It is the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook in 2012, when year-old lone gunman Adam Lanza shot dead 20 children and six teachers at the Connecticut elementary school.
After the mass for Tuesday’s massacre, Hernandez said: ‘My experience was of horror and pain. I knew the victims. I’m still in shock.’
‘When you teach and you’re in the classroom, that’s your job to protect them. They did more beyond what they were supposed to do.’
In this aerial view, law enforcement works on scene at Robb Elementary School where at least 21 people were killed on Tuesday
Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother before going on a killing spree at Robb Elementary School, murdering 19 children and two teachers before he was shot dead by a Customs and Border Protection agent
Salvador Ramos legally purchased two AR-15 style rifles (right) including the one he used in yesterday’s attack after his 18th birthday last week. The gunman also bought more than 300 rounds of ammunition
Ramos bought two AR-15 assault rifles, bragged about them on social media and suggested he would commit an atrocity before the deadly attack. He spent an estimated $4,000 on the weapons, ammunition and a tactical-style vest
Rosie Buantel, in her fifties, was equally grief-stricken but outraged as well. The massacre at Robb Elementary has reignited debate over gun laws.
Buantel said: ‘I’m sad and I’m angry at our government for not doing more about gun control.
‘We’ve gone through this one too many times. And still there’s nothing done. They’re still debating.’
There were 288 school shootings in the US between 2009 and 2018, the highest number in the world. Mexico was second with eight school shootings in the same time.
The National Rifle Association said: ‘Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil. On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services.
The faces of 11 confirmed victims from Tuesday’s shooting. Nineteen children in the fourth grade were shot and killed on Tuesday. Top row, from left – Eliahana ‘Eliajha’ Cruz Torres, 10; Lexi Rubio; Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10; Maite Yuleana Middle row, from left – Xavier Lopez, 10; Rojelio Torres, 10; Uziyah Garcia, 8. Front row, from left – Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10; Jacklyn Cazares, 10; Layla Salazar, 10; Jose Flores Jr., 10
Irma Garcia (left) and Eva Mireles (right), who co-taught fourth grade, were both shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday. A little boy claimed they sacrificed themselves to protect their students
Jacklyn, 10, was one of 19 children and two teachers murdered by Ramos on Tuesday
‘Although an investigation is underway and the facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal.’
It ended its statement with a confirmation its marquee Houston event will move forward despite the recent tragedy.
‘As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.’
On the day of the shooting, many relatives and friends of the victims faced hours of anguished waiting to find out what happened to their loved ones.
Volunteer psychologist Iveth Pacheco traveled from San Antonio to provide support to those in need.
‘It’s one of those situations where you just have to be present,’ she said. ‘We have to be ready for the child whatever questions they have and it’s the same thing with the adults right now.’
Tuesday’s violence began when Ramos shot and critically wounded his grandmother at her home in Uvalde, where he had reportedly been living for several months after domestic problems in his mother’s home across town.
Tuesday’s violence began when Ramos shot and critically wounded his grandmother at her home (above) in Uvalde. The grandmother survived and Ramos then drove the short distance to Robb Elementary and opened fire
The grandmother was airlifted to a hospital and was still clinging to life on Wednesday.
After shooting his grandmother, Ramos drove in a black Ford F-150 pickup truck the short distance to Robb Elementary, just half a mile away.
Veering wildly off the road, Ramos crashed the truck into a culvert behind the elementary school, according to officials and photos from the scene.
At 11.32am, the first 911 call came in reporting the vehicle crash, and saying a man with a gun was exiting the truck.
Ramos, wearing body armor, apparently left one of the rifles in the truck, and carried the other with him towards the school, along with a backpack full of ammunition.
Investigators say that Ramos dropped the backpack near an entrance to the school, and that it contained seven 30-round magazines. It’s unclear whether the magazines held live ammunition.
Police told news station KENS 5 that Ramos exchanged gunfire with police as he stormed into the school, but ultimately cops were unable to prevent him from gaining entry.
Texas DPS Director said a school resource officer ‘confronted’, but did not ‘engage’ the gunman as he entered the school.
Veering wildly off the road, Ramos crashed a Ford F-150 pickup truck into a culvert behind the elementary school
Ramos crashed his truck into a ditch before entering the school. Cops found one of his AR-15 guns inside the vehicle, and he had also dumped a bag (circled) nearby. At the entrance of the school, they found his backpack which contained ammunition
One video at the scene appears to show Ramos approach the school while what sounds like gunfire is going off in the background. Police exchanged gunfire with Ramos but were unable to stop him from storming the school
‘The suspect made entry into the school and as soon as he made entry into the school he started shooting children, teachers, whoever’s in his way,’ Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez told the station.
‘He was shooting everybody,’ the state official said.
Olivarez told CNN that the shooter barricade himself inside of a single classroom, and that it is inside that classroom where most or all of the 19 children and two teachers were killed.
The children killed were believed to be third and fourth grade students. Robb Elementary serves grades two through four, officials said.
Police and state troopers arrived in time to hear gunshots inside a classroom where the man barricaded himself and began shooting children and teachers.
Olivarez said some of the officers were shot by the gunman, so others began breaking windows around the school trying to evacuate children and teachers.
Meanwhile, a nearby Customs and Border Protection tactical unit responded to provide backup.
The agent who ended Tuesday’s school massacre by shooting and killing the Robb Elementary school gunman is reported to be part of an ‘elite’ Customs and Border Protection (CBP) tactical unit. Law enforcement personnel are pictured at the scene of the shooting
Olivarez said ‘tactical law enforcement’ forced their way into the classroom, where ‘they were met with gunfire as well but they were able to shoot and kill that suspect.’
The unnamed agent who shot and killed Ramos is believed to be from the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which has specialized agents dispersed throughout the United States.
The BORTAC agent, whose identity has not yet been revealed, rushed into the school without waiting for backup.
Ramos was behind a barricade, returning fire, but the border patrol agent managed to shoot and kill the gunman before he could claim more victims.
‘They came in from opposite sides. The BORTAC agent ended up exchanging gunfire with the shooter, killed the shooter, and I am told that the agent was injured in his leg,’ reported Fox News.
‘They are trying to figure out if he was shot in the leg or hit by shrapnel.’
More than a dozen children were also hurt in the attack, including a ten-year-old girl taken to hospital in the nearby city of San Antonio in critical condition. A 66-year-old woman – believed to be Ramos’s grandmother who he shot at the start of his killing spree – was in the same hospital, also in critical.
A second hospital within Uvalde itself said 13 children had been brought to them, without saying what condition they are in. Police warned late Tuesday that the death toll is expected to rise.
Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School. The gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement
The unnamed agent who shot and killed Ramos is believed to be from the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), which has specialized agents dispersed throughout the United States
Police work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 children and two adults were killed
Victims of Uvalde school shooting
The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas left 19 students and two teachers dead. Here are the victims that have been identified so far:
Fourth grader Alithia Ramirez (left) was confirmed dead early Wednesday by her father, Ryan. Jaliah Nicole Silguero (right) was also confirmed as one of the victims early Wednesday, with her mother Veronica Luevanos sharing a memorial post
Jayce Carmelo Luevanos (left), was confirmed as one of the dead Wednesday by his aunt. Amerie Jo Garza (pictured right with father, Angel Garza) was confirmed dead by her dad Wednesday
Uziyah Garcia, nine, (left) and Makenna Elrod, 10, (right) were both confirmed dead by loved ones on Facebook
Xavier Lopez, 10, (left) and Eliahana Torres, 10, (right) was also killed at the school shooting on Tuesday
Ellie Lugo (left) and Nevaeh Bravo (right) were also killed. Ellie was reported as missing for several hours before her parents confirmed her death
Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, and Rogelio Torres, right, were also killed
Fourth-grader Tess Marie Mata (left) was confirmed dead by her sister, who described her younger sibling as a ‘precious angel’. Miranda Mathis, 11 (right), was confirmed dead by an elder cousin
Alexandria Aniyah Rubio – who was better known to friends as ‘Lexi’ (left) – was confirmed dead just before midnight on Tuesday. Maite Yuleana (right) was also confirmed dead, having taken a photo with her honor roll certificate just hours before
Jose Flores, 10, was also killed in the shooting hours after attending the honor roll ceremony, where he was pictured clutching his certificate (above)
Irma Garcia (left) and Eva Mireles (right), who co-taught fourth grade, were both shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday