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Beto O'Rourke interrupts a press conference of Texas Governor Greg Abbott Bob Daemmrich/PA

'This is on you': Beto O'Rourke angrily confronts Texas governor over Uvalde school shooting

19 children and two teachers were killed in the shooting on Tuesday.

TEXAS DEMOCRATIC POLITICIAN Beto O’Rourke was ejected from a press conference held by the state’s Republican governor Greg Abbott last night after confronting him about the mass shooting at a school in Uvalde.

O’Rourke, who has been calling for years for gun reform, confronted Abbott and pointed in the governor’s face and accusing him of doing “nothing” to reduce gun violence.

“This is on you!” O’Rourke fumed at Abbott, who was seated at a table on the stage and surrounded by officials including Texas’s senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, two longstanding pro-gun politicians.

“This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything for the kids of this state,” O’Rourke said. “I’m standing up for the kids of this state to stop this from happening again.”

19 children and two teachers were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday, which ended when the 18-year-old assailant was killed by a Border Patrol team.

Investigators are working to track the massacre that lasted more than 40 minutes at the school.

O’Rourke’s interruption plunged the press conference – where Abbott revealed further details of the attack – into chaos and put security officials on high alert.

The governor sat stone-faced just a few feet away as O’Rourke, a 2020 US presidential candidate who is challenging Abbott for his job this year, confronted him.

“Sir, you are out of line,” someone yelled loudly from the stage at O’Rourke. As he refused to step away, police intervened and voices rose.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, a Republican, shouted at him “you’re a sick son of a bitch (to) come to a deal like this to make a political issue”.

“Why are we letting this happen in this country? Why is this happening in this state, year after year, city after city?” O’Rourke asked reporters after leaving the auditorium.

“This is on all of us if we do not do something,” he said. “We’re going to stop the next one. We’re standing up right here in Uvalde, Texas right now, that’s why I’m here.”

At the meeting, Abbott revealed night that the gunman shared his plan to attack a school on Facebook approximately 15 minutes before opening fire, and that the attack weapon was a AR-15 assault rifle.

He also said the gunman had no known criminal or mental health history. The gunman legally bought the rifle and a second one like it last week, just after his 18th birthday, authorities said.

About a half-hour before the mass shooting, he sent the first of three online messages warning about his plans, Abbott said.

He wrote that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman. In the last note, sent about 15 minutes before he reached the school, he said he was going to shoot up an elementary school.

Facebook rapidly released a statement after Abbott’s comments, saying the posts “were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred”.

- © AFP 2022

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