Texas community grapples with second deadliest school shooting in US history

Updated May 25, 2022 4:50 a.m. ET

A gunman killed at least 21 people Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, most of whom were young school children, state officials said.

Tuesday’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was the second-deadliest K-12 school shooting on record in the United States, following the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut that left 26 people dead.

The dead included 19 children and two adults, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Travis Considine told The Associated Press. Local and state officials did not provide any names or descriptions of the two adults, but Gov. Greg Abbott said one of the two adults was a teacher.

Earlier, Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN the shooter also died. Estrada also provided new details about the events leading up to the horrific massacre at Robb Elementary School, about 85 miles west of San Antonio.

According to calls for law enforcement beginning around 11:20 a.m. local time, the gunman, who was identified as an 18-year-old man residing in Uvalde, shot and killed his grandmother at her home before heading to the school in a big, black truck. He crashed the vehicle into a ditch near the small campus.

Callers told law enforcement he was seen exiting the truck with “some kind of gun”, a backpack and wearing a bulletproof vest. The shooter entered the school building through a south-facing door and began shooting, Estrada said.

It is unknown if the shooter had a specific target or targets in mind.

U.S. Border Patrol agents were among law enforcement who responded, exchanging fire with the shooter who had barricaded himself inside, a Department of Homeland Security the spokesperson said. At least one Border Patrol agent was injured.

A Border Patrol agent is believed to have shot and killed the suspect, a Border Patrol official told NPR.

The school accommodates around 600 students in the second, third and fourth years. At least one of the adult victims was a teacher at Robb Elementary. Thursday was supposed to be the last day of the school year, according to the school’s website.

The mass shooting comes just 10 days after a white shooter opened fire on a Tops supermarket in a black Buffalo, NY neighborhood. Ten people were killed in this incident.

President Biden says it’s time for lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby

“I had hoped that when I became president, I wouldn’t have to do this – again,” President Joe Biden told the nation in a speech at the White House on Tuesday night.

“Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful innocent second, third and fourth graders. And how many dozens of little children witnessed what happened – saw their friends die, like if they were on a battlefield, for the grace of God. They’ll live with that for the rest of their lives,” he said between heavy sighs.

Seemingly tired and frustrated, Biden continued, “What struck me is that these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why?”

“They have mental health issues. They have domestic conflicts in other countries. They have people who are lost, but those kinds of mass shootings never happen with the frequency that they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”

He also had stern words for those who continue to block efforts to overhaul gun control, saying, “As a nation, we must ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby. fire arms?”

“When, in the name of God, will we do what we all know we must do? Biden said, before noting that in the 10 years since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which happened when he was vice president, more than 900 shooting incidents have been reported. on the school grounds.

“We must act,” he said. “And don’t tell me we can’t impact this carnage.”

For the past two decades, lawmakers have pushed for gun control policy changes after mass shootings, but have struggled to get the votes needed to pass in the Senate, as Republicans have been staunchly there. opposites.

Biden ordered flags at the White House and other government buildings to be flown at half-mast to honor the victims.

Governor Greg Abbott says the state of Texas is in mourning

Abbott, the governor of Texas, also reacted shortly to the devastating shooting, calling it a tragedy.

“When parents drop their children off at school, they expect to know that they can pick up their child at the end of the school day,” Abbott said.

“There are families who are grieving right now, and the State of Texas is grieving with them for the reality that these parents will not be able to get their children back.”

Superintendent Hal Harrell said the rest of the school year has been cancelled. “My heart was broken today,” he told reporters on Tuesday evening. “We are a small community and we will need your prayers to help us through this.”

Injured victims are still being treated, some have been transferred to San Antonio

Officials at University Memorial Hospital in Uvalde confirmed that two people were dead on arrival. They did not provide any additional details about the deceased.

Thirteen children were taken to hospital, two of whom were transferred to facilities in San Antonio, more than 80 miles away.

A 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl were also airlifted to San Antonio University Hospital. The confirmed hospital the woman is in critical condition.

Officials offer details of the shooting

State Senator Roland Gutierrez told CNN the 66-year-old was the shooter’s grandmother.

“She’s still hanging on,” the senator said, referring to the grandmother’s condition.

Uvalde Police Department officials said the suspected shooter was arrested at 1:06 p.m. local time, about an hour and a half after the first report of an active shooter.

The school shooting began at 11:32 a.m. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officials said all local schools were closed as news of the active shooter spread.

Students and teachers were evacuated to the city’s civic center, where officials are now offering bereavement counseling on Wednesday.

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