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Gov. Abbott says he's 'livid' after providing wrong information on Uvalde shooting

Three people at a table with the seal of Texas on it and a woman standing behind them.
Jiawen Chen
Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a news conference about the mass shooting at speaking Uvalde High School on Wednesday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he was misled by those who initially briefed him after the Uvalde school shooting.

In a press conference Friday, Abbott told reporters his initial assessment praising the response from law enforcement was based on inaccurate information he received at the time.

“Yes, I was misled,” Abbott said. “I am livid about what happened.”

Abbott’s comments came hours after the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) admitted the way law enforcement handled the shooter — waiting more than 70 minutes before engaging with him — was “the wrong decision.”

The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, entered Robb Elementary School on Tuesday morning without facing any law enforcement, and locked himself in a classroom before shooting at the students and teachers inside, DPS now says.

That’s contrary to earlier accounts from Abbott and DPS, which indicated a school resource officer engaged with the man prior to his entrance, and that it took police about 60 minutes to kill the shooter.

Abbott was also asked whether he planned on calling a special session to address gun violence in the state, and gun legislation. He said all options are on the table.

He expressed a similar sentiment in 2019, after a shooting in El Paso that left 23 dead and 23 injured. He ultimately never called for a special session following that tragedy.

During Friday’s press conference, state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, interrupted Abbott to demand legislative action.

“You have to do something, man,” Gutierrez said. “This is enough.”

Abbott defended the gun-friendly bills he signed into law last year, including a law that allows most Texans to carry a handgun without a permit.

He said none of those laws had an effect on the shooter.

That echoes the comments Abbott made in a prerecorded video for the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston Friday.

"There are thousands of laws on the books across the country that limit the owning or using of firearms -- laws that have not stopped madmen from carrying out evil acts on innocent people in peaceful communities," Abbott said.

Abbott was scheduled to speak at the event, but canceled late Thursday. Instead, he scheduled Friday’s press conference.

During his opening remarks at the conference, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre also suggested no laws would have stopped the massacre.

“If we as a nation were capable of legislating evil out of hearts and minds, we would have done it long ago,” LaPierre said.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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