A girl reacts outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022.
Marco Bello | Reuters
No less than 19 children and two teachers were killed Tuesday when a gunman opened fire in a Texas elementary school, in accordance with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The suspected shooter, who may need had a handgun and a rifle, was also killed when law enforcement confronted him at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 83 miles west of San Antonio, Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference.
“It’s believed that he abandoned his vehicle, then entered into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a handgun, and he could have also had a rifle,” Abbott said.
“He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher,” the governor said before additional deaths were confirmed.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said later that 19 children and two teachers were killed, along with the suspected shooter.
Multiple survivors — the precise number was not released — were being treated at regional hospitals.
It was one more mass shooting targeting children and educators at an American school campus.
Tuesday’s attack recalls the deadly shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018; and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, later in 2018.
It may need particular resonance for those shaken by the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when a 20-year-old man killed 20 children and 6 adults.
Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the suspect shot his grandmother, who was hospitalized in critical condition, before he drove toward the college.
After he apparently crashed nearby, he went to the campus and opened fire, Olivarez said in a news conference on the scene.
“He began shooting each individual that was in front of him,” the lieutenant said.
People react outside the Sgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting, in Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022.
Marco Bello | Reuters
The Texas Department of Public safety said the shooter was wearing body armor and carried a rifle.
The attack was reported as a mass casualty incident shortly after 11:30 a.m., authorities said.
The suspected shooter was identified as Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, multiple senior law enforcement sources said.
“The investigation is resulting in tell us the suspect did act alone during this heinous crime,” Pete Arredondo, the chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, said at a news conference.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, said the shooter purchased two semiautomatic rifles on his 18th birthday at an Uvalde-area gun store. It was not clear whether either of those weapons was utilized in the attack.
FBI agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel were assisting local law enforcement with the investigation into the suspect’s motives and background, authorities said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to help.
Meanwhile, families of the deceased were being notified, the governor said.
Eva Mireles, a 17-year educator who taught fourth grade, was among the many victims, her aunt said.
“I’m furious that these shootings proceed. These children are innocent. Rifles shouldn’t be easily available to all,” her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, told KSAT-TV of San Antonio.
Amid the chaos, parents were looking for children they’d not heard from. One mother, Maria Garcia, was near the college questioning a law enforcement officer early within the afternoon because she was still searching for her 10-year-old daughter.
Her voice quivered as she tried to get answers to her string of questions, suggesting possibly her daughter was hiding in fields nearby.
Rosa Arizmendia and Roland Arizmendia’s daughter was protected, they said, because they’d picked her up early after an awards ceremony at the college. But they didn’t know where their niece was.
That they had seen her after they picked up their daughter, and Roland Arizmendia said he yelled out, “Hi, mija!” to her. But he had not heard news of her because the shooting, and their whole family was looking for her.
“It’s like a horror movie,” Rosa Arizmendia said. “If it isn’t our kid, someone we all know. It’s our neighbors.”
Outside SSGT Willie De Leon Civic Center, family and friends were sitting on concrete blocks.
A person walked out from the and center shared news with one among the waiting groups; some broke into sobs and others walked away. One woman got in her automotive and let loose screams.
Addressing the nation from the White House on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden seemed crestfallen and exasperated.
He asked when America as a collective would get up and support limits on powerful weapons and buyers with unwell intent after one more school shooting claimed the lives of “beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders.”
The president, who lost a young daughter, Naomi, in a automotive crash and an adult son, Beau, to a brain tumor, said he knows the pain of the parents in Uvalde whose children won’t ever return home. “May God bless the lack of innocent life on this sad day,” he said.
On Tuesday evening, Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at federal buildings and military posts through Saturday.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 patients, 11 of whom were described as children ages 8 to 10, CEO Tom Nordwick said Tuesday evening.
4 patients have been released. Two, described only as a male and a female, were dead on arrival, Nordwick said.
Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston said it was treating two adult victims who were in critical condition.
University Health, based in San Antonio, said in a tweet that it was treating 4 patients: a 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman who were in critical condition, a 9-year-old girl in fair condition and a 10-year-old girl in good condition.
Two officers were struck after they apparently exchanged gunfire with the shooter and had injuries not considered life-threatening, Abbott said.
On- and off-duty Border Patrol agents were among the many law enforcement officials who responded. No less than one agent was wounded within the exchange of gunfire, in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security.
“Risking their very own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and youngsters on the scene to attract the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives,” Marsha Espinosa, DHS’s assistant secretary for public affairs, said in a tweet.
The agents also helped transfer students to their families and supply medical support, she said.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said the shooting was a tragic and senseless event.
“My heart was broken today,” he said at a news conference Tuesday evening, his voice shaking. “We’re a small community, and we’ll need your prayers to get through this.”
The varsity yr, which was scheduled to finish Thursday, is over, he said.
Uvalde, incorporated in 1888 as a ranch and crossroads town, has a population of 8,921, in accordance with the census.
The varsity serves second through fourth grades in a city that is sort of half non-English speaking, in accordance with the U.S. Census Bureau.
In accordance with district data, almost 90 percent of Robb Elementary School’s 574 students are Latino, while almost 9 percent are white.
About 87 percent of the scholars are considered economically disadvantaged.
The shooting occurred after recent FBI statistics released Monday showed lively shooter incidents last yr surged by greater than 50 percent from 2020 and by nearly 97 percent from 2017.