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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott brings up Chicago violence, dismisses 'quote-"real"' gun laws at news conference on school massacre

Gunman sent private online messages stating intentions before Texas school massacre
Gunman sent private online messages stating intentions before Texas school massacre 05:18

UVALDE, Texas (CBS Chicago/CBS News) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott invoked Chicago unflatteringly Wednesday afternoon as he said stricter gun control was not the answer in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre.

"There are, quote, 'real' gun laws in Chicago," Abbott said at a news conference. "I hate to say this, but there are more people who are shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas, and we need to realize that people who think that, 'Well, maybe if we just implement tougher gun laws, it's going to solve it,' Chicago and LA and New York disprove that thesis."

On Tuesday, an 18-year-old man opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers. The attacker was killed by law enforcement, police said. 

A total of 31 people were shot in Chicago this past weekend. One of them was killed.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker responded on Twitter: "You are lying about Chicago and what actually perpetuates gun violence. The majority of guns used in Chicago shootings come from states with lax gun laws."

"Do better," Pritzker continued. "You have 19 kids and two teachers who deserve our best."

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also took issue with Abbott's remarks.

"It's a long-standing Republican trope to try to put a city like Chicago in their mouths, and try to criticize us. But the fact of the matter is that guy needs to focus on taking care of business there," she said.

The mayor also slammed Abbott and his policies as governor and said he should focus on his own state's shortcomings. 

"There's probably not anything nice that I can say about the Texas governor. This is a man who is determined to be in a race to the bottom. He's obviously trying to burnish his credentials for what was likely a run for president, and he's doing that frankly at the expense of the people in that state, particularly of working-class folks," Lightfoot said. "He is the mirror opposite of what we're trying to do here in our city."

Mayor Lightfoot fires back after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's remarks about Chicago gun laws 00:51

Also at the news conference, Abbott was interrupted by Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke.

Abbott said he would be passing the microphone to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, when O'Rourke stood up. "You are doing nothing," O'Rourke said. 

One of the officials on stage told O'Rourke, "You are out of line" and said, "I can't believe you are a sick son of a bitch and would come here to make a political issue."

Law enforcement officers appeared to escort O'Rourke out of the news conference afterward. CBS News' Janet Shamalian said it appeared that some people had saved seats for O'Rourke. 

Providing updates on the investigation into the massacre at the news conference, Abbott said the gunman posted three messages on Facebook before the attack: once, about 30 minutes before the school shooting, to say he was going to shoot his grandmother, once to say he had shot his grandmother, and a third time — approximately 15 minutes before the shooting — to say he was going to open fire at an elementary school. 

Facebook said the posts "were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred," and that the company is "closely cooperating with law enforcement."

Authorities said the gunman shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before the school shooting. She contacted police and the suspect fled, later crashing his grandmother's car about a block from the school. He then exited the car and took a backpack and one rifle with him.  

A district police officer engaged the gunman when he arrived at the school, but the shooter was able to enter a back door, travel down two short hallways and enter a classroom, which was connected internally to another classroom, Abbott said. 

The gunman then barricaded himself in the classroom, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department Public Safety told "CBS Mornings."

"At that point, [he] just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom, having no regard for human life," Olivarez said. "Just a complete tragedy. An evil person going into the school and killing children for no reason whatsoever."

The attack was the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut 2012. Many, including President Biden, invoked Sandy Hook and the many mass shootings that have followed to call for stronger gun laws. 

Meanwhile, children sitting in classes, parents dropping their kids off at school, and teachers trying to get through their lessons are no doubt having a very difficult day no matter where they are.

Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, the head of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children's Hospital, joined CBS 2's Joe Donlon and Marie Saavedra with some advice on what parents can say to their kids about the massacre in Texas, and also some words for parents who are struggling emotionally too.

Lurie Children's doctor discusses how to talk to the Texas shooting with kids 02:14

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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