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'When will we do something?': Top basketball coach slams 'pathetic' gun control after shooting
25 May 2022, 09:55 | Updated: 25 May 2022, 09:59
Top US basketball coach Steve Kerr has slammed a lack of gun control in the country as "pathetic" after nineteen children and two adults were killed in a school shooting in Texas.
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The gunman, named as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, "horrifically and incomprehensibly" killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde on Tuesday afternoon.
In the wake of the massacre, head coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr, labelled US action on gun control "pathetic" and demanded "when are we going to do something?" in an emotional pre-game speech.
He refused to talk about basketball ahead of his team’s playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, instead delivering a passionate speech condemning gun violence.
"When are we going to do something?" he shouted.
Steve Kerr on today's tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 24, 2022
"Fourteen children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher, and in the last 10 days we've had elderly black people killed at a supermarket, in Buffalo, we've had Asian churchgoers killed in southern California, and now we have children murdered at school."
Mr Kerr's father was shot dead in a terrorist attack in 1984, in Beirut, and he is a long-time advocate of gun control.
He told the press conference he is "tired" of the "excuses" and he is "tired of the moments of silence", as he called for tighter background checks on people buying firearms.
"I'm so tired of the excuse 'I'm sorry', I'm tired of the moments of silence - enough!
"There's 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R. 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple of years ago, it's been sitting there for two years. And there's a reason they won't vote on it - to hold on to power."
Mr Kerr looked into the camera before addressing the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, saying: "So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you, are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children, and our elderly, and our churchgoers? Because that's what it looks like. It's what we do every week."
He added: "We can't get numb to this."
Whilst the names and ages of victims have not been officially released, one of the students killed in Tuesday's tragedy has been named by local media as 10-year-old Xavier Lopez.
Another child, eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia, was also killed, according to his grandfather Manny Renfro.
Ten-year-old Amerie Jo Garza also died in the attack.
One of the teachers killed has been named locally as fourth grade teacher Eva Mireles.
Ms Mireles had a daughter, and she was described as "very loved" and "the fun of the party" by her aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado.
The gunman Ramos, who is believed to have been shot by police, abandoned his vehicle and went into the school armed with a pistol and possibly a rifle.
Ramos, who was wearing body armour and had hinted on social media of an upcoming attack, killed his grandmother before heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday.
Mr Kerr has repeatedly backed a bill that would require tighter background checks on people buying firearms. The bill passed the US House of Representatives in 2021 but did not get to the Senate.
He said "90% of Americans, regardless of political party, want universal background checks".
"We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want.
"They won't vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power."
Before he left the press conference, Mr Kerr slammed his fists against the table and delivered a final message. “It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough,” he said.