NATIONAL NEWS

Biden visits memorial to victims of Texas school shooting

May 29, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 10:59 am

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and President Joe Biden walk towards their car after attending mass at Sa...

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and President Joe Biden walk towards their car after attending mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on May 29, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. On May 24th, 19 children and two adults were killed during a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School after a gunman entered the school through an unlocked door and barricaded himself in a classroom where the victims were located. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden offered comfort Sunday to a city gripped by grief and anger as they paid respects at a memorial to 19 students and two teachers slain during a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.

The visit to Uvalde was Biden’s second trip in as many weeks to console a community in mourning after a staggering loss from a shooting. He traveled to Buffalo, New York, on May 17 to meet with victims’ families and condemn white supremacy after a shooter espousing the racist “replacement theory” killed 10 Black people at a supermarket.

Outside Robb Elementary School, Biden stopped at a memorial of 21 white crosses — one for each of those killed — and the first lady added a bouquet of white flowers to a pile in front of the school sign. They viewed individual altars erected in memory of each student, and the first lady touched the children’s photos as the couple moved along the row.

The shootings in Texas and New York and their aftermath put a fresh spotlight on the nation’s entrenched divisions and its inability to forge consensus on actions to reduce gun violence.

“Evil came to that elementary school classroom in Texas, to that grocery store in New York, to far too many places where innocents have died,” Biden said Saturday in a commencement address at the University of Delaware. “We have to stand stronger. We must stand stronger. We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer.”

After visiting the memorial, Biden arrived for Mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where a teacher nearby held up a sign that said, “Mr. President, thank you for coming. I’m a teacher.” Later, the president planned to meet privately with family members at a community center and then with first responders at the airport before returning to Washington, the White House said. He was not expected to deliver formal remarks.

Mckinzie Hinojosa, whose cousin Eliahana Torres was killed Tuesday, said she respected Biden’s decision to mourn with the people of Uvalde.

“It’s more than mourning,” she said. “We want change. We want action. It continues to be something that happens over and over and over. A mass shooting happens. It’s on the news. People cry. Then it’s gone. Nobody cares. And then it happens again. And again.”

“If there’s anything if I could tell Joe Biden, as it is, just to respect our community while he’s here, and I’m sure he will,” she added. “But we need change. We need to do something about it.”

The Bidens’ visit comes amid mounting scrutiny of the police response to the shooting. Officials revealed Friday that students and teachers repeatedly begged 911 operators for help even as a police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway. Officials said the commander believed that the suspect was barricaded inside an adjoining classroom and that there was no longer an active attack.

The revelation caused more grief and raised new questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, who was ultimately killed by Border Patrol tactical officers.

“It’s easy to point fingers right now,” said Ronnie Garza, a Uvalde County commissioner, on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” before adding, “Our community needs to focus on healing right now’

Authorities have said the shooter legally purchased two guns not long before the school attack: an AR-style rifle on May 17 and a second rifle on May 20. He had just turned 18, permitting him to buy the weapons under federal law.

Biden said Saturday that something had to change in response to the attack.

“I call on all Americans at this hour to join hands and make your voices heard, to work together to make this nation what it can and should be,” Biden said. “I know we can do this. We’ve done it before.’’

Hours after the shooting, Biden had delivered an impassioned plea for additional gun control legislation, asking: “When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

Over the years, Biden has been intimately involved in the gun control movement’s most notable successes, such as the 1994 assault weapons ban, and its most troubling disappointments, including the failure to pass new legislation after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

As president, Biden has tried to chip away at gun violence through executive orders. He faces few new options now, but executive action might be the best the president can do, given Washington’s sharp divisions on gun control legislation.

In Congress, members of a bipartisan group of senators were in talks over the weekend to see whether they could reach even a modest comprise on gun safety legislation after a decade of mostly failed efforts.

Encouraging state “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental health issues, as well as addressing school security and mental health resources are on the table, said Sen. Chris Murphy, who is leading the effort.

While there is nowhere near enough support from Republicans in Congress for broader gun safety proposals popular with the public, including an assault weapons ban or universal background checks on gun purchases, Murphy, D-Conn., told ABC’s “This Week” that these other ideas are “not insignificant.”

The group will meet again this week under a 10-day deadline to strike a deal.

“There are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have ever seen since Sandy Hook,” said Murphy who represented the Newtown area as a congressman at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting. “And while, in the end, I may end up being heartbroken, I am at the table in a more significant way right now with Republicans and Democrats than ever before.”

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

The bright purple color depicts auroras on Mars’ nightside that were detected by the ultraviolet ...

Ashley Strickland, CNN

A massive solar storm hits Mars, revealing a risk for future astronauts on the red planet

When the sun unleashed an extreme solar storm and hit Mars in May, it engulfed the red planet with auroras and an influx of charged particles and radiation, according to NASA.

52 minutes ago

Catherine, Princess of Wales, pictured here in 2023, has said she is making “good progress” in ...

 Rob Picheta and Max Foster, CNN

Catherine, Princess of Wales, making ‘good progress’ against cancer and is set for first public appearance in months

Catherine, Princess of Wales, has said she is making “good progress” in her recovery from cancer, and will make her first public appearance in months at the King’s official birthday celebration on Saturday.

1 hour ago

FILE - A bump stock is displayed in Harrisonburg, Va., on March 15, 2019. The Supreme Court will he...

Lindsay Whitehurst

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, gun accessories used in 2017 massacre

Supreme Court strikes down Trump-era ban on bump stocks, rapid fire gun accessories used in 2017 Las Vegas massacre.

5 hours ago

A local organization is keeping kids away from crime and drugs one bike at a time. (KDRV via CNN Ne...

Rocky Walker, CNN

Familia Unida: Keeping kids away from drugs and crime by teaching them to work with their hands

A local organization is keeping kids away from crime and drugs one bike at a time. Familia Unida is a nonprofit that teaches children to channel aggression and negative experiences into healthy and constructive life skills through activities such as bike and car building.

16 hours ago

FILE - Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the Department of Justice, on Aug. 11, 2023, in W...

Larry D. Curtis

Justice Department says Phoenix police violated rights. Here are some cases that drew criticism

Phoenix police use unjustified deadly force, discriminate against people of color and routinely violate the rights of homeless people, the Justice Department said in announcing the results of a sweeping civil rights investigation.

19 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump gestures after speaking during the North Carolina Republican Party Co...

Samuel Benson, Deseret News

Poll: Trump leads big among Utah voters; Biden, Kennedy tied

After viewing both Trump and Biden unfavorably in August, most Utahns now see Trump favorably

20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Biden visits memorial to victims of Texas school shooting