A gunman killed at the very least 19 youngsters and two adults Tuesday in an assault at an elementary college within the southwestern U.S. state of Texas, one of many deadliest mass shootings at a faculty within the nation’s historical past.
The assault occurred within the metropolis of Uvalde, the place authorities stated the 18-year-old gunman first shot his grandmother, then crashed a automotive and entered the varsity, finishing up the shootings earlier than being killed by regulation enforcement.
Texas Division of Public Security Sergeant Erick Estrada advised CNN that officers noticed the gunman, who was carrying physique armor, go away the crashed automotive carrying a rifle, and that officers “engaged” the suspect, however that he was nonetheless ready to enter the varsity.
Within the chaotic minutes and hours following the assault, the extent of the bloodbath was unclear, with some capturing victims taken to native hospitals and the variety of these killed and wounded tough to verify.
Lydia Martinez Delgado wrote on Fb that her niece, Eva Mireles, was a instructor on the college and amongst these killed.
“I’m livid that these shootings proceed,” Martinez Delgado stated in an announcement. “These youngsters are harmless. Rifles shouldn’t be simply out there to all. That is my hometown, a small group of lower than 20,000. I by no means imagined this might occur to particularly family members.”
The college district’s superintendent, Hal Harrell, advised reporters that grief counseling providers have been being made out there for college students and that the remaining few days of the varsity 12 months have been canceled.
“My coronary heart is damaged at the moment,” Harrell stated. “We’re a small group, and we’re going to want your prayers to get by way of this.”
A spokesman stated U.N. Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres “is deeply shocked and saddened by the heinous mass capturing at an elementary college in Uvalde, Texas. It’s significantly heart-wrenching that many of the victims are youngsters.”
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke to the nation late Tuesday, expressing condolences to the victims’ households, questioning why mass shootings are so widespread within the nation and urging lawmakers to assist what he referred to as “commonsense gun legal guidelines.”
“I’m sick and drained,” he stated. “We now have to behave.”
Biden stated he discovered concerning the shootings as he was getting back from a visit to Asia.
“What struck me was these sorts of mass shootings hardly ever occur wherever else on the earth,” Biden stated. “Why? They’ve psychological well being issues. They’ve home disputes in different international locations. They’ve people who find themselves misplaced. However these sorts of mass shootings by no means occur with the sort of frequency they occur in America. Why? Why are we keen to stay with this carnage? Why can we hold letting this occur?”
Tuesday’s assault was the deadliest college capturing in Texas and the deadliest elementary college capturing for the reason that 2012 assault on Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 26 folks lifeless, 20 of them schoolchildren.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott recognized the gunman as Salvador Ramos.
“Texans throughout the state are grieving for the victims of this mindless crime and for the group of Uvalde,” Abbott stated in an announcement.
Abbott stated he and his spouse, Cecilia, “mourn this horrific loss and we urge all Texans to come back collectively to point out our unwavering assist to all who’re struggling.”
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas echoed related sentiments. “In the present day is a darkish day. We’re all utterly sickened and heartbroken,” he stated in an announcement. “We’ve seen too many of those shootings. No mother or father ought to should bear the ache of burying their little one. We have to come collectively, as one nation, and assist Uvalde as they attempt to heal from this devastating loss.”
Each Abbott and Cruz have been amongst a bunch of Republican figures scheduled to look Friday in Houston on the annual conference of the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation, the gun rights group that has opposed gun management measures.
The college has an enrollment of about 600 college students within the second, third and fourth grades and sits in a largely residential neighborhood of modest houses. The city has a inhabitants of about 16,000 folks and is the seat of presidency for Uvalde County. It’s about 135 kilometers (84 miles) west of San Antonio and about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the border with Mexico.
Texas has been the scene of a number of mass shootings over the previous 5 years. One 12 months earlier than the Santa Fe college capturing in 2018, a gunman at a Texas church killed greater than two dozen folks throughout a Sunday service within the small city of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, one other gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 folks in a racist assault.
Some data for this report got here from The Related Press and Reuters.