Blackwell choked up and broke down after he talked to one of the eyewitnesses of the shooting who said she had taught her daughter to “become small and invisible” while preparing her for such incidents in the past.
After finishing talking to the eyewitness he went back to his colleague Alisyn Camerota, who was in the studio and said he has covered 15 of such incidents this year and lamented the debate between Republicans and Democrats over gun laws in the country.
“I’ve done 15 of these. At least the ones I can count,” Blackwell said on the air.
“And we keep having the conversation about Democrats will say guns, Republicans will say mental health and nothing will change. And I’ll probably do another one this year,” he added, his voice shaking.
“Is this the way we’re supposed to live?” he asked. “Are we destined to just keep doing this city after city? Have we just resigned that this is what we are going to be?”
His emotional meltdown came as 13 people — 11 of whom were Black — were killed or injured by a teenage white gunman on Saturday afternoon in a hate crime.
Payton Gendron, the 18-year-old suspect in the shooting, was arrested after the incident and faces first-degree murder charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
According to a manifesto he published online by authorities, Mr Gendron was planning the mass shooting from days and took inspiration by watching a livestream video of the New Zealand mosque shooter in 2015, who killed 51 Muslims during prayer services.
The suspect shooter claimed that New Zealand shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant “had radicalized him the most”. Like Tarrant, Mr Gendron allegedly painted slogans on his gun and used a helmet-mounted camera to livestream his attack on the internet.
According to an FBI report, hate crimes in The US are at the highest level in 12 years, triggered by assaults on Blacks and Asians. The 2020 data shows there were 7,759 hate crimes in the country, a 6 per cent rise from 2019 and highest since 2019.