An 18-year-old man, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, opened fire in an elementary school in Texas. He killed at least 19 students and two adults at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, a mostly Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio near the Mexico border.
Police said Ramos was killed after the shooting. The motive was not immediately clear and it is believed he acted alone. Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez said the suspect shot his grandmother at her home in the morning. She is believed to be in critical condition in hospital, Sergeant Erick Estrada told CNN.
The suspected gunman bought two rifles on his 18th birthday, Gutierrez told reporters. Two assault-style rifles were reportedly purchased from a store in Uvalde county. “That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” Gutierrez said, adding that the gunman had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming. “He suggested the kids should watch out,” he said.
Fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles has been confirmed as one of the adults killed in the attack. “I’m furious that these shootings continue,” her aunt said in a statement reported by ABC News. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all.”
Names of student victims began to emerge. Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia and Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, were confirmed by the Associated Press to have been killed after speaking with members of their families. Amerie Jo Garza, also 10, was identified by family as one of the children killed, according to ABC news.
Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night shortly after returning to the White House from a five-day trip to Asia. The president delivered an emotional speech, calling for “commonsense” gun laws and said: “It’s time to turn this pain into action.”
Parents of school children have had to wait for hours in a parking lot to receive the news that their children are dead after being swabbed for DNA, according to New York Times reporter, Jazmine Ulloa.
The families of people killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting have pleaded for action on gun control in the wake of the killings at Robb elementary school in Texas.
NBA coach Steve Kerr gave an emotional pre-game press conference which he devoted to the events in Texas. He singled out politicians for failing to act on gun control in order to hold on to power and noted the recent shooting in Buffalo.
Numerous lawmakers and public figures spoke out on Tuesday by calling for action on gun control legislation in the wake of a tragedy that drew immediate comparisons to the Sandy Hook massacre, when 20 first-graders and six educators were killed by an 18-year-old man armed with an AR-15-type rifle. In a series of tweets, former president Barack Obama said that “nearly ten years after Sandy Hook – and ten days after Buffalo – our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies”.
Senator Chris Murphy, who came to Congress representing Sandy Hook, begged his colleagues to finally pass legislation addressing the nation’s gun violence problem. “What are we doing?” Murphy said. “I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees to beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent school district, said Tuesday that Robb elementary school will be closed and all school activities will be cancelled until further notice. Harrell also said grief counselors would be available starting on Wednesday morning. “My heart is broken today,” Harrell said. “We’re a small community and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”