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Beto O'Rourke interrupts Gov. Abbott's press conference on Texas shooting: 'This is on you!'

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Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke angrily interrupted a press conference Wednesday convened by Gov. Greg Abbott regarding Tuesday's elementary school shooting in Uvalde that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Abbott began the press conference in Uvalde detailing what was known about Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old suspect in the case who police say opened fire with an AR-15 assault weapon at Robb Elementary before being killed by law enforcement. The governor, a strong Second Amendment advocate, emphasized that mental illness had likely played a role in the crime and steered clear of talking about enacting any new gun restrictions.

O'Rourke then approached the stage where Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Ted Cruz and others were gathered and directed his ire at the man he will face in November's election.

"This is on you until you choose to do something," O'Rourke told Abbott.

Beto O'Rourke stands before a stage and points at panelists seated at a table, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
Beto O'Rourke interrupts a press conference on Wednesday held by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Uvalde, Texas, following the shooting at Robb Elementary School. (Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images)

O'Rourke's remarks were quickly drowned out by those on stage with Abbott.

"You're a sick son of a bitch," Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled at O'Rourke, adding, "It's on assholes like you!"

Cruz, who had narrowly defeated O'Rourke in 2018 in a hotly contested Senate race, also shouted him down on Wednesday.

"Sit down and don't pull this stunt," Cruz said.

O'Rourke continued a back-and-forth with those on stage, but security at the venue soon escorted him out. After O'Rourke exited the building, Abbott addressed the interruption.

"There are family members crying as we speak. There are family members whose hearts are broken. There's no words that anybody shouting can come up here and do anything to heal those broken hearts. Every Texan, every American has a responsibility," the governor said. "We need to focus not on ourselves and our agendas, we need to focus on the healing and hope that we can provide to those who have suffered unconscionable damage to their lives and loss of lives."

Outside, O'Rourke addressed reporters, telling them new gun restrictions are needed to help prevent further tragedies from unfolding.

"It is insane that we let an 18-year-old go in and buy an AR-15," O'Rourke said. "What did we think he was going to do with it?"

Back inside, Abbott was asked by a reporter whether a new law limiting 18-year-olds from purchasing assault rifles is needed.

"The ability of an 18-year-old to buy a long gun has been in place for more than 60 years," Abbott responded.

A poll conducted by the Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler found that Abbott was leading O'Rourke in the race for governor by a margin of 46% to 39%.