Beto O’Rourke arrives to NRA protest

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

– 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.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee makes statement outside NRA Convention Video: Yi Chin Lee, Laura Duclos

11:15 a.m. A Texas Department of Public Safety official is conducting a press conference in Uvalde giving out the most detailed timeline yet and so far has revealed that a teacher propped open the door Salvador Ramos entered — and that a responding officer mistook a teacher for the suspect.

10:15 a.m. A family assistance center has been opened in Uvalde for the families of victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, according to a tweet from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The center is at the Uvalde County Fairplex located at 215 Veterans Lane.

9:54 a.m. A handful of demonstrators gathered outside the NRA convention in Houston Friday morning, hours before hundreds more plan to join them for a mass protest against gun violence, writes Cayla Harris of the Chronicle’s Austin bureau.

One stood along the barricades outside the venue, holding up a copy of The New York Times’ front page featuring photos of the students and teachers who died in Tuesday’s shooting in Uvalde.

Attendees filed past them as they got an early start at the event, where former President Donald Trump is expected to speak later this afternoon. They mostly filed into an exhibition hall, where gun sellers, hunting organizations and firearm manufacturers have set up booths. Dozens of others bought raffle tickets for the “Wall of Guns,” which offers “over 60 makes and models of firearms” as prizes.

9:20 a.m. Rep. Tony Gonzales clarified a statement made to KSAT that the Uvalde shooter had been arrested previously in 2018 for threats to shoot up a middle school. It is currently unknown if Salvador Ramos was one of the two teens arrested during that incident.

9:00 a.m. An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde smeared blood on herself during the attack in order to play dead and avoid being shot, according to a report from CNN.

Miah Cerrillo recalled it all happening so fast — her teacher backed into the classroom and the gunman followed. She told CNN the shooter looked at one of her teachers in the eye, said, “Goodnight,” and then shot her.

She said bullets flew by her, and fragments hit her shoulders and head. The girl was later treated at the hospital and released for fragment wounds.

8:50 a.m. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has cancelled his appearance at the NRA meeting in Houston Friday morning, according to Jeremy Blackman of the Houston Chronicle.

The announcement comes on the heels of Gov. Greg Abbott canceling his appearance on Thursday stating he would be heading to Uvalde to hold a news conference, according to a report from Cayla Harris of the Austin bureau. Abbott will still send a pre-recorded video message for the convention.

Former President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz are still scheduled to speak at the event.

8:21 a.m. The Uvalde shooter was arrested four years ago for threatening to shoot up a school, according to KSAT.

In 2018, authorities arrested 14-year-old Salvador Ramos after plans were discovered that he and a 13-year-old boy were planning a Columbine-inspired shooting at an Uvalde middle school.

According to the Uvalde Leader-News, the teens had originally planned to carry out the shooting on April 20, 2022, which would coincide with the Columbine shooting anniversary during their senior year of high school, but one of the suspects persuaded the other to commit the shooting that year at Morales Junior High, where the 14-year-old was a student.

8:20 a.m. Houston researchers and physicians say more is needed to inform common-sense laws and practices that could prevent the next mass shooting, like the one in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers, according to a report from the Chronicle’s Julian Gill.

“Even with partial funding, we could really fill gaps,” said Dr. Sandra McKay, a Houston pediatrician and gun violence researcher at UTHealth Science Center at Houston. “Our clinics could be handing out gun locks in their clinics for free, but we don’t because there’s no funding for that. We could be partnering with our local schools (for research opportunities), but there’s no funding for it.”

8:10 a.m. The League of United Latin American Citizens along with Tejano recording artist Little Joe are scheduled to host a protest performance at 10 a.m. on Friday outside the NRA meeting at the George R. Brown Convention Center, according to a press release.

LULAC will also be joined NAACP, American GI Forum, Houston Area Urban League, PAX Christi, Houston Peace and Justice Center during the protest.

“I am a Tejano of Mexican ancestry but I am also an American, a very proud one. We need to change this country with leadership that truly cares about us. We the people have the power to make change with our vote, and this is the time to get it done,” Little Joe said.

7:55 a.m. Some residents in Uvalde are rethinking their position on gun safety laws in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, according to a Chronicle report.

In the rural, predominantly Hispanic and Catholic town where many people keep guns for hunting, some residents from the heartbroken ranching community of roughly 16,000 people are questioning the need for such high-powered weapons.

Amelia Cervantes, a 38-year-old mother, called for stricter gun control and parental responsibility.

“I’m all about and a supporter of the Second Amendment, but I’m against that any person could buy a gun that easily. There should be stricter rules, especially at that age.”

7:50 a.m. In a significant departure from initial Texas Department of Public Safety reports, DPS Regional Director Victor Escalon said the gunman didn’t encounter resistance after he crashed his pickup in a ditch near the school and walked to the building while indiscriminately shooting, according to a report from the Chronicle’s St. John Barned-Smith.

The delay and subsequent discrepancies by the Texas DPS has left law enforcement executives perplexed and elected officials frustrated at the lingering questions about the police response during the mass shooting.

7:32 a.m. Dozens gathered in Richmond for a vigil Thursday night honoring the victims of the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in Uvalde, according to a report from the Chronicle’s Leah Brennan.

Those gathered lit candles and heard impassioned words from elected officials and pastors who shared their thoughts, prayed and called for action.

7:08 a.m. Houston researchers and physicians say more funding is needed to inform common-sense laws and practices that could prevent the next mass shooting, reports the Chronicle’s Julian Gill.

“Even with partial funding, we could really fill gaps,” said Dr. Sandra McKay, a Houston pediatrician and gun violence researcher at UTHealth Science Center. “Our clinics could be handing out gun locks in their clinics for free, but we don’t because there’s no funding for that. We could be partnering with our local schools (for research opportunities), but there’s no funding for it.”

6:45 a.m. Houston’s much-publicized NRA meeting is set to begin in Houston on Friday — but Gov. Greg Abbott won’t be there.

Abbott was part of a slate of marquee speakers, including former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, but the Texas governor announced late Thursday that he’s canceling his plans to attend.

The governor faced strong criticism this week for his decision to attend the event in the wake of the Uvalde massacre. Records show that Abbott has accepted $16,750 in donations from the NRA in the past.

Rather than appearing in person, Abbott will now deliver “pre-recorded video remarks,” his spokesman told the Chronicle.

Multiple country singers have also pulled out of the event, which is expected to draw large groups of protests.

6:30 a.m. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays used their social media accounts during Thursday night’s game between the teams to spread information about how gun violence affects American life.

– Elizabeth Trovall

6:15 a.m. After anti-NRA protests were planned to take place at Discovery Green this weekend, official events and activities scheduled there for Saturday have been canceled, according to a tweet

The Houston Police Department has designated protest areas at Discovery Green this weekend as it is next to the George R. Brown Convention Center, which is hosting the National Rifle Association convention. 

Among the canceled events is the International Festival, a national event by UNESCO aimed at celebrating multiculturalism and diversity.  

“We believe that this cancellation is unnecessary and unfair and hope that Discovery Green will recognize the significance of engaging in positive conversations through the impactful programs our team and partners have created over the past year,” said a festival spokesperson.

– Elizabeth Trovall

The Uvalde school massacre

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