In wake of the recent shooting in Odessa, Democrat presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke made bold claims regarding the incident, laying out falsehoods and outraging local officials and residents.

At the Democrat debate in Houston last week, O’Rourke used the Odessa shooting as the reasoning behind his radical proposal to confiscate legally owned firearms. “In Odessa, I met the mother of a 15-year-old girl who was shot by an AR-15,” said O’Rourke. “And that mother watched her bleed to death over the course of an hour because so many other people were shot by that AR-15 in Odessa and Midland [that] there weren’t enough ambulances to get to them in time.”

“Hell yes, we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” O’Rourke concluded.

The claim that there weren’t enough ambulances has since been proven false.

According to some reports, first responders arrived on the scene in approximately seven minutes. Moreover, local first responders have received overwhelming praise for their timely response; as a result, many in the community are taking great offense to O’Rourke’s remarks.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Ector County Mike Griffis makes it clear he opposes O’Rourke’s proposal:

“O’Rourkes plan to force good law-abiding citizens to sell the government their ARs and AKs is a dangerous endeavor. That is not the answer and he is an idiot. In fact, it will probably create a civil war. I will be right there with my good people forging our way to Washington DC !!”

Sheriff Griffis described the tragic events as the worst day Odessans have experienced, and said the community will persevere to be better than they were prior to the tragic event, before issuing O’Rourke a stark warning: “Do not lie about what happened in our community to further your personal political agenda!”

“We [Odessans] are the best, friendliest, most sincere people in this world. We would like to invite you to quit lying and trying to use us, and please do not show your face in our home never again for your photo ops!!”

The sheriff is not the only one pointing out the falsehoods in O’Rourke’s exploitation of the tragedy.

“The men and women of Odessa Fire Rescue acted bravely and without hesitation to prevent additional casualties,” said the Odessa Firefighters Association in response. “These heroes should be commended for their swift response while an active shooter was present in our community rather than disgraced on national television for political gain.”

In addition, State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) joined in, also reprimanding O’Rouke in a statement on Facebook, saying, “Beto O’Rourke should be ashamed for falsely criticizing the brave first responders from Odessa and Midland who acted swiftly and saved lives during the Aug. 31 shootings. These heroic men and women have a tough enough job without a grandstanding politician incorrectly second guessing them. Please don’t come to our community seeking publicity (as you did) and then bash our community’s heroes the very next week.”

At the time of publication, Texas Scorecard was unable to verify whether the O’Rouke campaign has withdrawn or apologized for the remarks.

Matt Stringer

Matthew Stringer is from Odessa, TX and serves as a West Texas Correspondent for Texas Scorecard.