Gunman kills 19 kids in Texas college rampage

UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An 18-year-old gunman opened fireplace Tuesday at a Texas elementary college, killing at the least 19 kids as he went from classroom to classroom, officers stated, within the deadliest college taking pictures in almost a decade and the most recent ugly second for a rustic scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by legislation enforcement.

The demise toll additionally included two adults, authorities stated. Gov. Greg Abbott stated one of many two was a trainer.

The assault at Robb Elementary Faculty within the closely Latino city of Uvalde was the deadliest taking pictures at a U.S. college since a gunman killed 20 kids and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Hours after the assault, households have been nonetheless awaiting phrase on their kids.

Exterior the city civic heart, the place households have been informed to await information about their family members, the silence was damaged repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced one other man.

“My coronary heart is damaged right this moment,” stated Hal Harrell, the varsity district superintendent. “We’re a small neighborhood, and we’re going to wish your prayers to get by means of this.”

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air-con repairman, was nonetheless exterior the varsity because the solar set, searching for phrase on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres.

He drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying name from his daughter shortly after the primary studies of the taking pictures. He stated different relations have been on the hospital and the civic heart.

Ready, he stated, was the heaviest second of his life.

“I hope she is alive,” Cruz stated.

The assault got here simply 10 days after a lethal, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, grocery store that added to a yearslong collection of mass killings at church buildings, faculties and shops. And the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun rules appeared as dim, if not dimmer, than within the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.

However President Joe Biden appeared prepared for a battle, calling for brand spanking new gun restrictions in an deal with to the nation hours after the assault.

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“As a nation we’ve to ask, when in God’s identify are we going to face as much as the gun foyer? When in God’s identify are we going to do what must be performed?” Biden requested. “Why are we keen to reside with this carnage?”

Most of the wounded have been rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, the place workers members in scrubs and devastated victims’ relations might be seen weeping as they walked out of the advanced.

Officers didn’t instantly reveal a motive, however they recognized the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the neighborhood about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Legislation enforcement officers stated he acted alone.

The assault got here as Robb Elementary was counting all the way down to the final days of the varsity 12 months with a collection of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy,” with college students sporting good outfits and sneakers.

The college has almost 600 college students in second, third and fourth grades. The overwhelming majority of the scholars are Latino.

Ramos had hinted on social media that an assault might be coming, in response to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who stated he had been briefed by state police. He famous that the gunman “urged the children ought to be careful.”

Earlier than heading to the varsity, Ramos killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he bought on his birthday, Gutierrez stated.

“That was the very first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he stated. Different officers stated later that the grandmother had survived, and was being handled, by means of her situation was not identified.

Investigators imagine Ramos posted images on Instagram of two weapons he used within the taking pictures, and so they have been inspecting whether or not he made statements on-line alluding to the assault within the hours earlier than the assault, a legislation enforcement official stated.

Legislation enforcement officers have been serving a number of search warrants Tuesday night time and gathering phone and different data, the official stated. Investigators have been additionally making an attempt to contact Ramos’ relations and have been tracing the firearms.

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The official couldn’t talk about particulars of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Related Press on situation of anonymity.

The assault started about 11:30 a.m., when the gunman crashed his automobile exterior the varsity and bumped into the constructing, in response to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Division of Public Security. A resident who heard the crash referred to as 911, and two native law enforcement officials exchanged gunfire with the shooter.

Each officers have been shot, although it was not instantly clear the place on the campus that confrontation occurred, or how a lot time elapsed earlier than extra authorities arrived on the scene.

In the meantime, groups of Border Patrol brokers raced to the varsity, together with 10 to fifteen members of a SWAT-like tactical and counter-terrorism unit, stated Jason Owens, a high regional official with the Border Patrol.

One Border Patrol agent who was working close by when the taking pictures started rushed into the varsity with out ready for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, in response to a legislation enforcement official talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he was not licensed to speak about it.

The agent was wounded however capable of stroll out of the varsity, the legislation enforcement supply stated.

Owens confirmed that an agent suffered minor accidents, however wouldn’t present particulars of that confrontation.

He stated some space brokers have kids at Robb Elementary.

“We’ve got Border Patrol children that go to this college. It hit residence for everyone,” he stated.

It was not instantly clear how many individuals have been wounded, however Uvalde Police Chief Pete Arredondo stated there have been “a number of accidents.” Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital stated 13 kids have been taken there. One other hospital reported a 66-year-old girl was in crucial situation.

Uvalde, residence to about 16,000 individuals, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a largely residential neighborhood of modest properties.

The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest college taking pictures in Texas historical past, and it added to a grim tally within the state, which has been the positioning of among the deadliest shootings within the U.S. over the previous 5 years.

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In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 individuals at Santa Fe Excessive Faculty within the Houston space. A 12 months earlier than that, a gunman at a Texas church killed greater than two dozen individuals throughout a Sunday service within the small city of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, one other gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 individuals in a racist assault focusing on Hispanics.

The taking pictures got here days earlier than the Nationwide Rifle Affiliation annual conference was set to start in Houston. Abbott and each of Texas’ U.S. senators have been amongst elected Republican officers who have been the scheduled audio system at a Friday management discussion board sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.

Within 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 persistently confronted roadblocks from Republicans and the affect of out of doors teams such because the NRA.

A 12 months after Sandy Hook, Sens. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to increase the nation’s background examine system. However the measure failed in a Senate vote, with out sufficient assist 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 reasonably shameful day for Washington.”

Final 12 months, the Home handed two payments to increase background checks on firearms purchases. One invoice would have closed a loophole for personal and on-line gross sales. The opposite would have prolonged the background examine overview interval. Each languished within the 50-50 Senate, the place Democrats want at the least 10 Republican votes to beat objections from a filibuster.

Eugene Garcia and Dario Lopez-Mills in Uvalde, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin, Juan Lozano in Houston, Gene Johnson in Seattle and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.

Extra on the varsity taking pictures in Uvalde, Texas: