At least 19 youngsters, 2 adults dead in Texas elementary school taking pictures; officials say gunman also dead – Chicago Tribune
UVALDE, Texas — An 18-year-old gunman opened hearth Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 youngsters as he went from classroom to classroom, officials stated, in the most recent grotesque second for a rustic scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by regulation enforcement.
The demise toll also included two adults, authorities stated. Gov. Greg Abbott stated one of many two was a instructor.
The assault at Robb Elementary School in the closely Latino city of Uvalde was the deadliest taking pictures at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 youngsters and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, virtually a decade in the past.
“My heart is broken today,” stated Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent, asserting that every one school actions have been canceled till additional discover. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
The assault also got here simply 10 days after a lethal, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that added to a yearslong sequence of mass killings at church buildings, faculties and shops. And the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun rules appeared as dim as in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.
President Joe Biden appeared prepared for a combat, calling for brand new gun restrictions in an handle to the nation hours after the assault.
(*2*) Biden requested. “Why are are willing to live with this carnage?”
Many of the injured have been rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, the place employees members in scrubs and devastated victims’ family members could possibly be seen weeping as they walked out of the complicated.
The gunman, who was carrying physique armor, crashed his automobile outdoors the school earlier than going inside, Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety instructed CNN.
He killed his grandmother earlier than heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had bought on his birthday, in line with state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who stated he had been briefed by state police.
“That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he stated.
Officials didn’t instantly reveal a motive, however the governor recognized the assailant as Salvador Ramos and stated he was a resident of the group about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
Ramos had hinted on social media that an assault could possibly be coming, Gutierrez stated, noting that “he suggested the kids should watch out.”
A Border Patrol agent who was working close by when the taking pictures started rushed into the school with out ready for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, in line with a regulation enforcement official talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not approved to speak about it.
The agent was wounded however in a position to stroll out of the school, the regulation enforcement supply stated.
The school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, stated that the attacker acted alone.
It was not instantly clear how many individuals have been wounded, however Arredondo stated there have been “several injuries.” Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital stated 13 youngsters have been taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old girl was in important situation.
Robb Elementary School has an enrollment of just below 600 college students, and Arredondo stated it serves college students in the second, third and fourth grade. He didn’t present ages of the kids who have been shot. This was the school’s final week of courses earlier than summer season break.
Heavily armed regulation enforcement officers swarmed to the school, with officers in tactical vests diverting visitors and FBI brokers coming and going from the constructing.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated Biden was briefed on the taking pictures on Air Force One as he returned from a five-day journey to Asia.
Uvalde, residence to about 16,000 folks, is about 75 miles from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a principally residential neighborhood of modest houses.
The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school taking pictures in Texas historical past, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the positioning of a number of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the previous 5 years.
In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 folks at Santa Fe High School in the Houston space. A year earlier than that, a gunman at a Texas church killed greater than two dozen folks throughout a Sunday service in the small city of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, one other gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 folks in a racist assault.
The taking pictures got here days earlier than the National Rifle Association annual conference was set to start in Houston. Abbott and each of Texas’ U.S. senators have been amongst elected Republican officials who have been the scheduled audio system at a Friday management discussion board sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun management debate in Congress has waxed and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to alter U.S. gun insurance policies in any vital method have constantly confronted roadblocks from Republicans and the affect of outdoor teams such because the NRA.
A year after Sandy Hook, Sens. Joe Manchin a West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to develop the nation’s background examine system. But because the measure was near being delivered to the Senate ground for a vote, it grew to become clear it will not get sufficient votes to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle.
Then-President Barack Obama, who had made gun management central to his administration’s objectives after the Newtown taking pictures, referred to as Congress’ failure to behave “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Last year, the House handed two payments to develop background checks on firearms purchases. One invoice would have closed a loophole for personal and on-line gross sales. The different would have prolonged the background examine assessment interval. Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, the place Democrats want at least 10 Republican votes to beat objections from a filibuster.
(*19*) Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin and Juan Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.