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Trump tells NRA crowd ‘unlike some I didn’t disappoint you’

6:04 p.m. Former President Donald Trump gave a lengthy speech to attendees at the NRA convention, telling the crowd: “And unlike some I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up.”

Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, John Cornyn and Dan Crenshaw all pulled out of their plans to speak at the convention. 

Trump read the names of victims in Uvalde and asked for a moment of silence, then chastised Democrats for gun control efforts.

Trump was quick to warn against a “repulsive” political effort by some to exploit the tragedy for more gun control laws and blame law-abiding gun owners of the NRA, according to a report from the Chronicle’s Jeremy Wallace.

Former President Donald J. Trump is the keynote speaker at the NRA convention on Friday May 27, 2022 in Houston, TX.

Brett Coomer

The conference room where Trump made his address was not full, with some sections mostly empty.

5:21 p.m. A group of educators and survivors of mass school shootings gathered to talk about their ongoing fight to see meaningful gun law reform Friday morning in Downtown Houston, according to a report from the Chronicle’s Hannah Dellinger.
 
Each speaker voiced their frustrations with lawmakers at the roundtable discussion at the JW Marriott, which happened ahead of a heated rally hosted by Taxes gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke that drew out thousands to Discovery Green. The massacre that killed 19 children and two teaches in Uvalde Tuesday spurred the event as well as protests outside of a previously planned National Rifle Association event at the George Brown Convention Center.

4:53 p.m. Addressing the NRA convention in Houston, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz spoke out against Democrats who are pushing universal background checks and banning so-called assault rifles.

4:49 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott focused the entirety of his comments at the NRA convention on the shooting in Uvalde.

Abbott was initially scheduled to speak at the event in person, but, facing mounting criticism, he canceled late Thursday. Instead, the governor hosted a press conference in Uvalde at the same time.

In a pre-recorded video at the convention, Abbott addressed the crowd with a “heavy heart.”

“Just as laws didn’t stop the killer, we will not let his evil acts stop us from uniting the community that he tried to destroy,” he said.

Cayla Harris

4:13 p.m. Gov. Greg Abbott ripped Uvalde police officers for their mishandling of the mass shooting during a Friday press conference in the border town set at the same time he had previously been slotted to appear at Houston’s NRA convention. 

“Yes, I was misled. I am livid about what happened,” Abbott said. “The information that I was given, turned out in part to be inaccurate. And I am absolutely livid about that.”

He continued, “My expectation is that as we speak, and every minute going forward, law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by doing exactly what they are supposed to do from this point on.”

For the first time since the Uvalde school shooting, he suggested a possible special legislative session on gun violence, according to a report from the Chronicle’s Jasper Scherer.

He mostly skirted questions surrounding gun laws, focusing instead on plans to increase mental health care and provide assistance for the families of the victims.

The state has started an online foundation to collect donations for Uvalde families, and an anonymous donor has already contributed $175,000, he said. He added that a mental health hotline is currently operating and able to take calls at 888-690-0799.

He said he hopes Texas will pass more laws that address mental health but avoided directly speaking about gun legislation. 

“The status quo is unacceptable. This crime is unacceptable. We are not going to do nothing about it,” Abbott said. “We are going to be looking at the best laws to be passed to make our schools and communities safer.”

4:10 p.m. A dozen Houston doctors wearing scrubs and white coats were among the hundreds of protesters Friday at Discovery Green, where they spoke out against lax gun laws amid an epidemic of firearm injuries and deaths nationwide.

“I feel that things are getting worse,” said Dr. Adaeze Okeke, who practices family medicine in Houston.

Okeke sees the collateral damage from gun violence — mothers whose children were killed coming in with high blood pressure.
“There are lives every day that are destroyed,” she said.

Dr. Christina Propst, a pediatrician who organized the doctors, said she’s become more emboldened to speak out about political issues since the pandemic started.

“I think a lot of medical people have had it with people who are spreading false equivalencies, false information, false causes, all of it,” she said.

Dr. Heather Haq says advocating for sensible gun control “is absolutely in our lane” as pediatricians.

“It’s really important for me to lend me voice and speak up for children.”

-Julian Gill

3:43 p.m. Drums beat to chants of “hey, hey NRA, how many kids have you killed today” rang out along Avenida De Las Americas and down to the George Brown Convention center Friday afternoon as people trickled into the building to attend the NRA event inside.

“There’s a different kind of energy over here,” said Nick Cooper, who came out to support protestors with a group of seven drummers.

On the other side of hill dividing Discovery Green, thousands gathered to hear local, state and national figures, including Beto O’Rourke, decry the Uvalde massacre and call for gun reform.

Behind barricades and rows of police officers, dozens mounted on horseback, on Avenida De Las Americas, the crowd of gun violence protesters was angry. They screamed obscenities at convention goers, made obscene gestures and asked if they were worried about their children and grandchildren being safe in schools.

On the other side of the street, a small group of convention-goers engaged with protesters, waving, blowing kisses and shouting back. At one point, a truck with two Trump flags drove down the street, its driver yelling at protesters.

Lauren Morton, a 20-year-old University of Houston student, said it was important for her to be there to show that she cares.

“Sometimes it helps to see that you’re not the only one that’s outraged and activating,” she said.

Her friend, Susana Jimenez, also a UH student, said she didn’t think standing in front of the convention center would change any minds.

“If we shout the names of the victims, they could care less,” she said. “What politicians do notice is we have power in numbers. That’s what they’re seeing now.”

-Hannah Dellinger

2:15 p.m. Beto O’Rourke, former El Paso congressman, walked onto the stage Friday to chants of “Beto!” from thousands of onlookers at Discovery Green.

He began his remarks by discussing how he was “welcomed into the home” of the parents of Alithia Ramirez, one of the students killed in Uvalde, where balloons from her birthday still clung to the ceiling and her bed was still unmade.

“I want (her parents) Jess and Ryan and that family to know that their child will always live with us for as long as we live. We’ll pass her story and her name down to the generations that follow us,” O’Rourke said.

Then, he addressed the people attending the NRA convention, saying “We welcome you to join us to make sure that this no longer happens in this country, but the time to join us in support is now. We cannot wait for you any longer,” he said.

O’Rourke addressed NRA leadership and politicians who accept their money separately.

“If you have done anything good, it is the fact that you have brought us here together and we’re committing ourselves. We will defeat you and we will overcome this,” he said.

– Sam Gonzalez Kelly

1:55 p.m. A GoFundMe set up for survivors of a slain Uvalde teacher and her husband, who died two days later of medical complications, has raised more than $2.2 million.

Irma Garcia, a veteran fourth grade teacher and mother of four, “loved her classroom kids and died trying to protect them,” says a post by Garcia’s cousin Debra Austin. Austin also credited Garcia’s nephew John Martinez with crowdsourcing more than $550,000 of the funds.

– Gabrielle Banks

1:40 p.m. David Hogg, Parkland mass shooting survivor, announced at Friday’s downtown protest a nationwide march slated June 11 in response to the Robb Elementary School massacre, according to Chronicle reporter Sam Gonzalez Kelly.

Hundreds of protesters have gathered to hear organizers, politicians and gun control activists speak in the wake of the mass shooting.

1:30 p.m. The Texas Ranger who fielded a barrage of criticism about his department’s response to the mass shooting in Uvalde is the same man who interrogated death row inmate Melissa Lucio until she gave what her lawyers said was a false confession, according to the filmmaker who made a documentary about Lucio’s case.

Victor Escalon, a regional director for the Texas Department of Public Safety, came up against a flood of questions from reporters Thursday probing why police waited so long to enter the school while terrified children waited inside and called 911.

Lucio, who was convicted in her toddler’s death, narrowly escaped lethal injection when she was granted a stay, days before her scheduled execution, last month.

DPS and Escalon did not immediately respond Friday afternoon to requests for comment.

-Rebecca Hennes

1:11 p.m. The head of the Texas Department of Public Safety criticized the police chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District on Friday, saying he acted too slowly in responding to the elementary school gunman who killed 21 people, including 19 children, according to a report from the Chronicle’s St. John Barned-Smith.

Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said the incident commander — identified by the San Antonio Express-News as Uvalde CISD police chief Pete Arredondo — believed the situation was no longer an active shooter, but that of a barricaded suspect.

But 911 calls, reviewed by Texas Rangers, reveal that at least two people inside the Robb Elementary School classroom called police and reported that there were children inside who were alive.

1:04 p.m. The Dynamo, Dash, Austin FC and FC Dallas will wear a remembrance patch on their jerseys this weekend to honor the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde.

The Dynamo will wear the patch during Saturday’s game at Real Salt Lake while the Dash will wear it in Sunday’s home game against North Carolina. The soccer teams’ opponents also will wear the patch on their jerseys.

The Texas-shaped patch is maroon, which is the official color of Robb Elementary School. The patch also will include a black ribbon with the zip code 78801 for where the school is located.

Saturday’s game-worn Dynamo jerseys will be auctioned off next week on the Dash auction app. The proceeds will go to the Robb Elementary Memorial Fund set up to assist the victims, their families and the Uvalde community at First State Bank of Uvalde.

Fans interested in donating can visit fsbuvalde.com.

– Greg Rajan

12:48 p.m. Thousands of protesters came to Discovery Green on Friday to protest the first day of the NRA convention, where Texas leaders such as Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz were originally scheduled to speak alongside former President Donald Trump.

Scenes from outside NRA Convention in Houston Video: Yi Chin Lee, Laura Duclos

Under a sweltering sun in 95 degree heat, protesters chanted “shame” in the direction of the GRB convention center and listened to a parade of speakers including BLM Houston founder Ashton Woods, Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and others who had been personally touched by gun violence.

Nineteen children lined up on stage wearing the pictures of the children killed in Uvalde around their necks.

“I’m just tired of the NRA subordinating children’s rights for gun rights,” said Ken Council, 65, of Houston.

Beto O’Rourke was seen arriving to the protest as well, according to the Chronicle’s Julian Gill.

12:15 p.m. State Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo is the first Texas Republican to urge Gov. Greg Abbott to call a special session after the Uvalde massacre.

“Governor Abbott should call us into special sessions until we do SOMETHING The FBI or DPS BELIEVE will lessen the chance of the next Uvalde Tragedy,” he tweeted. “We should hope and pray every day , but DO something.”

Seliger, the most moderate Republican in the Senate, is not running for re-election. He will not be present when the Legislature reconvenes for session in January.

11:30 a.m. Texas DPS Director Steven McCraw said the decision by officers to wait 75 minutes to enter the Robb Elementary School building in Uvalde after the shooter entered the school was the “wrong” one.

McCraw described officers responding to the scene, and a fateful decision by the incident commander — whom he did not name and was not DPS — that the situation was no longer a case of an “active shooter,” but rather that of a “barricaded suspect.”

Meanwhile, inside the classroom, children made terrified calls to 911, whispering and asking for help.

“The incident commander inside believed they needed more equipment and more officers to do a tactical breach at that point. That’s why BORTAC (the Border Patrol Tactical Response Team) was requested.”

In hindsight, McCraw said, “It was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision, period. There was no excuse for that.”

“We believe there should have been an entry … as soon as they (could),” he said. “When there’s an active shooter, the rules change.”

Active shooter training requires officers to act, he said.

“We don’t care what agency you’re from, you don’t have to have a leader on the scene. Every officer lines up, stacks up, goes and finds where those rounds are being fired — and keeps shooting until the subject is dead.”

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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