The totality of O'Rourke's remarks were difficult to hear as he was shouted down by those on stage who were speaking into microphones. Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick told O'Rourke to "sit down" and that he was an embarrassment.
Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled at 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 deal."
McLaughlin replied "It's on assholes like you" when O'Rourke yelled toward the stage. Why don't you leave?
Security escorted O'Rourke out of the event.
His outburst seemed to channel the nationwide outrage from advocates for stricter gun laws. Despite widespread skepticism within the caucus that such legislation has any realistic chance of winning enough Republican support to pass, Democrats in Washington are restarting their efforts to impose gun restrictions.
He continued his remarks outside of the event. He railed against Abbott for not funding mental health care services for Texans and for not expanding Medicaid, which could in turn expand mental health care access.
He criticized the Republican for his opposition to red-flag laws, safe storage laws and bans on assault-style weapons.
An 18-year-old who just turned 18 bought an assault rifle and shot and killed children at an elementary school. Why are we allowing this to happen? Why is this happening in this state, year after year, city after city? I'm not alone.
The mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso is similar to the calls for gun reform made by O'Rourke during his campaign for president in 2019. The centerpiece of his campaign was gun reform after the shooting.
At the time, O'Rourke called for a national gun registry, a nationwide gun licensing system, and a mandatory gun buy back program.
Abbott cited a problem with mental health illness in the Uvalde community as the reason for the shooting. Red flag laws, which limit gun sales to individuals with criminal records or a history of mental health issues, can lower homicide rates, along with evidence from other countries that have stricter gun laws, is one of the arguments in favor of tougher gun restrictions.
The area needs more mental health support according to Abbott, who spoke with the sheriff, the mayor, community leaders and elected officials. The governor said that the shooter had no known criminal or mental health history.
The focus of the press conference needs to be on healing and hope for the families of the victims.
There are family members who are crying. There are family members who have broken hearts.
At the press conference, Abbott confirmed that the man who would later open fire at Robb Elementary School first shot his grandmother in the face. Abbott said that his grandmother contacted the police as the man fled and crashed his car near the school.
The officer with the school district engaged with the man, who entered a back door of the school and entered a classroom that was connected to another classroom. A border patrol officer shot and killed the man in the classroom.
Nineteen students and two faculty members died, and 17 other people were injured with non-life threatening injuries, according to the governor. He said that all family members of the students and faculty have been contacted.
Abbott and the other speakers largely steered the conversation away from putting the blame on the state's relatively permissive gun laws, which have been loosened in recent years, instead working to shift the focus to mental health.
He said state legislators will continue to discuss pathways forward to address the issue of mass shootings, but didn't specifically name gun restrictions as one of the options on the table. Abbott said there was a need for a mental health hospital in the region.
The bottom line is this, and I think it's fair to say that legislative leaders understand about health challenges in the more rural settings in the state of Texas, and we have a commitment to help address those mental health care challenges.
The governor took aim at the strictest gun restrictions in Chicago, a city with high rates of gun violence. Illinois and Chicago have long blamed out-of-state firearms for their violent crime problems.
The speaker of the Texas state House echoed Abbott's comments about mental health in Uvalde.
When the Legislature returns, we will have a long, very robust discussion about mental health, and we will continue to support mental health in this state and especially rural mental health.
At the conference, Abbott was asked if he still planned to attend the convention in Houston, where prominent Republicans including former President Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz are set to speak. The governor of Texas wouldn't say if he will attend.
Abbott said that he was living moment to moment right now.
Myah Ward contributed to the report.