Beto O'Rourke interrupts Uvalde school shooting news conference, tells Gov. Abbott 'this is on you'
In response, Abbott said this was the time for Texans to come together and heal. O'Rourke is seeking to unseat the governor in the November election.
Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke interrupted Gov. Greg Abbott’s news conference in Uvalde on Wednesday, blaming the governor for the elementary school shooting.
O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott for governor, approached the stage and told Abbott: “This is on you.”
“You said this was not predictable? This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything,” he said, blaming Abbott’s policies for the shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two adults dead Tuesday morning.
Last year, Abbott signed into law legislation that allows most Texans to buy a handgun without a permit.
O’Rourke was escorted out of the auditorium by law enforcement agents. One of the officials on stage was heard calling O’Rourke an “asshole” and “sick son of a bitch.”
The other officials at the news conference included Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas House Speaker Dan Phelan, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, Department of Public Safety Steve McCraw, and Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell.
Abbott's news conference comes hours after he attended a fundraiser last night in Walker County, his campaign spokesperson confirmed in an email to The Texas Newsroom.
Abbott responded to O’Rourke by saying the state needs to focus on healing.
“We need all Texans to, in this one moment in time, put aside all personal agendas,” Abbott said.
“This is not a partisan issue. This is not a political issue,” the lieutenant governor said. “This is an unimaginable moment that will impact the lives of those who lost their children and those who survived.”
O’Rourke talked to reporters outside Uvalde High School, where the press conference was taking place.
He said there are solutions the governor has ignored, like safe-storage gun laws and banning the sales of AR-15-style rifles.
“Those are … solutions that have been brought up by the people of Texas, each one of those has broad bipartisan support,” O’Rourke said. “Right now we could get that done if we had a governor who cared more about the people of Texas than he does his own political career or his fealty to the NRA.”
The National Rifle Association is holding its annual conference in Houston this weekend. Abbott is scheduled to make an appearance.
O’Rourke called out Abbott for talking about mental health in the press conference, when “it is insane that we allow an 18-year-old to go in and buy an AR-15.”
The suspect in the shooting is an 18-year-old male. He was killed by law enforcement.
According to law enforcement officials, the suspect bought two semi-automatic rifles in March at a local sporting goods store.
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