22 people killed, including teen gunman, in midday elementary school attack in southern Texas
The child victims of a Texas elementary school shooting that claimed the lives of 21 people were all gathered in the same classroom, an official said Wednesday.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN that all victims were in the same fourth-grade class at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers barricaded himself inside a classroom, “shooting anyone that was in his way,” he said.
Police and others responding to the attack broke windows at the school in an effort to allow students and teachers inside to escape, Olivarez told NBC’s Today.
Eventually, the shooter was killed by law enforcement, he said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was scheduled to lead a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time to provide the latest known details of the attack, which was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December 2012.
‘My heart is broken today’
Families waited hours for word on their children. At the town civic centre where some gathered, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
The attack was the latest grim moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres, coming just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, N.Y., supermarket.
Yet the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun regulations seem as dim — if not dimmer — than in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.
‘Why do we keep letting this happen?’ Biden says after Texas school shooting
U.S. President Joe Biden called for new gun restrictions Tuesday night, in an address to the nation after 18 children were killed in a shooting at a Texas elementary school.
President Joe Biden called for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation Tuesday night.
“As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
Suspect believed to have acted alone
The attack on the school began about 11:30 a.m. The gunman had already shot his grandmother, according to Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety. Her condition was still unclear early Wednesday.
After fleeing that scene, he crashed his car at the school and made his way inside.
Olivarez said that when local and state officers responded, they heard gunshots — and were shot at themselves.
Sandy Hook father says families in Uvalde, Texas, will need community support
Jimmy Greene’s daughter Ana was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 when she was six years old. He says the support of the community will be vital for the families of those killed in the Texas school shooting.
“The shooter was able to make entry into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom and again just began shooting numerous children and teachers that were in that classroom, having no regard for human life,” he said.
Staff members in scrubs and devastated victims’ relatives could be seen weeping as they walked out of Uvalde Memorial Hospital, which said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but they identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the community about 135 kilometres west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.
Small community devastated
Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 120 kilometres from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades, is in a mostly residential neighbourhood of modest homes.
The attack came as the school was counting down to the last days of the school year with a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy,” with students wearing nice outfits.
Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two guns he used in the shooting, and they were examining whether he made statements online in the hours before the assault, a law enforcement official said.
Law enforcement officers were serving multiple search warrants Tuesday night and gathering telephone and other records, the official said. Investigators were also attempting to contact Ramos’s relatives and were tracing the firearms.
The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Latest of grim tragedies
Condolences poured in from leaders around the world, including Pope Francis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, which is at war with Russia.
Sports leagues observed a moment of silence before games on Tuesday night, as did the New York Stock Exchange before the opening bell on Wednesday morning.
‘What are we doing?’ U.S. Senator asks after Texas school shooting
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, whose state experienced the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting a decade ago, made an emotional appeal to his Senate colleagues Tuesday after 14 more children were killed in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. He asked the politicians why they are even in the Senate if they are unwilling to work to solve what he calls an ‘existential’ problem.
The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years.
In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, a gunman at a Texas church killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics.
Criminal trials have yet to take place in the Walmart and Santa Fe school cases, with the suspect in the latter case found incompetent to stand trial as recently as February. The Sutherland Springs shooter fatally shot himself at the scene.
The latest shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston. Abbott and both of Texas’ U.S. senators were among elected Republican officials who were scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has waxed and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to change U.S. gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.
Anger, questions, condolences follow Texas school shooting
Prominent Americans, Ukraine’s president, students in India share anger and sadness over the killings of students and teachers in Texas.
A year after Sandy Hook, a bipartisan proposal to expand the nation’s background check system was negotiated. But the measure failed in a Senate vote, without enough support to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle.
Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales, while the other would have extended the background check review period. Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.
With files from CBC News
Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca