UVALDE, Texas - It’s a moment that caught many off guard at Wednesday’s press conference on the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school shooting, including Gov. Greg Abbott himself: an emotional outburst by his election opponent Beto O’Rourke.
Gov. Abbott was speaking about what local officials believe to be the root causes of the massacre.
"They said we have a problem with mental health illness in this community," said Abbott.
He then passed the mic to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, but before Patrick could speak, O’Rourke interrupted.
"Governor, I have to say something," said O’Rourke, prompting Patrick to respond, "You’re out of line and an embarrassment."
Referencing past Texas mass shootings, O’Rourke accused Abbott of inaction.
"The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you’re doing nothing," said O’Rourke. "This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything to stop this from happening again."
Police then told O’Rourke to leave, at which point Uvalde’s Mayor Don McLaughlin had some choice words for O’Rourke.
"I can’t believe you’re a sick son of a b**** that would come to a deal like this to make a political issue," said McLaughlin.
O’Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium by police, before Abbott continued speaking, suggesting O’Rourke was acting in his own political interest.
"We need to focus not on ourselves and our agendas, we need to focus on the healing and hope," said Abbott. "There are no words that anybody shouting can come up here and do anything to heal those broken hearts."
- Who is Salvador Ramos? What we know about Texas elementary school shooting suspect
- Texas school shooting: What we know about the victims in Uvalde
- Texas school shooting: Border Patrol agent killed gunman, reports say
Rosie Yanas Stone, whose son Chris was among 10 people murdered in the Santa Fe school shooting in 2018, knows something about that.
"What these families are going through, it’s a total gut-wrenching pain," said Yanas Stone.
Santa Fe was one of the deadliest mass shootings in Texas in recent memory, alongside the 2009 Ft. Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed, the 2017 shooting at a Sutherland Springs Church in which 26 people died, the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting that claimed 23 lives, and now the Robb Elementary School shooting in which 21 people, including 19 children, were murdered.
"You know here they are at another press conference, just to send out more thoughts and prayers, and for what?" said Yanas Stone.
That’s why Yanas Stone says she wasn’t upset by the interruption.
"There’s a lot I can say about Beto that I don’t agree with. I am a conservative Republican. But at the end of the day, what he did today, I stand by him. I stand by him for having the courage to stand up," said Yanas Stone.
Outside the auditorium Wednesday, O’Rourke doubled down.
"I came here to call it out," said O’Rourke. "Year after year, city after city, this is on all of us if we do not do something."