Bidens Lay Flowers at Memorial and Attend Mass in Uvalde
By CBS News
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President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Sunday visited Robb Elementary School, the site of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last week that resulted in the deaths of 19 children and two adults. Mr. Biden and the first lady laid flowers at the front of the school, and Jill Biden touched the photograph of each student at a memorial set up in front of the school. Protesters who called for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to do something could be heard yelling in the background.
After visiting the school, the Bidens headed to Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Uvalde to attend mass. The president and first lady were greeted at the church by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, according to the White House.
"In the midst of collapse and devastation, we have come once more to this our house. To pray. And be together," one of the church leaders said before the service.
Another began the mass by speaking of recent hardships — the pandemic, poverty and now, the mass shooting. "Mr. President has a very good understanding of what is happening now, here. And we are very gracious of his spirit," he added.
After the service, protesters could be heard yelling "do something," and Mr. Biden responded "we will" twice. The Bidens also plan to meet with the families of the victims of the shooting, survivors and first responders. Mr. Biden is not expected to make any formal remarks.
This is the second time this month that Mr. Biden has traveled to a city still reeling from a mass shooting. He visited Buffalo, New York, on May 17, where 10 people where killed by a gunman at a supermarket. In Buffalo, Mr. Biden issued a forceful condemnation of the "hateful and perverse ideology" that he warned has seeped into the mainstream.
The gunman's motive in Uvalde is still under investigation, officials said Friday. But the Texas Department of Public Safety on Friday said there was a 90-minute gap between when the gunman entered the school and when U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the classroom door and killed him, including 45 minutes when 20 officers stood in a hallway outside of the classrooms before opening the door with a master key.
Friday's press conference came after days of conflicting and incomplete reports. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he was "misled" when initially briefed about the police response.
"The information that I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate," he said. "And I'm absolutely livid about that."
Just days after the shooting, tens of thousands gathered about 300 miles away in Houston, Texas, for the annual NRA convention, the first one held since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands protested outside the convention on Friday and called for stricter gun laws.
In the hours after the shooting, Mr. Biden called for stricter gun laws. "As a nation, we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" Mr. Biden said Tuesday night. "When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?"
Kristin Brown and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report.