Fourteen students and one teacher have been killed, and more than a dozen more children have been injured, in a shooting at a Texas elementary school.
- Governor Greg Abbott called the killings “horrific” and “incomprehensible”
- The suspected 18-year-old gunman is dead
- All schools in the district were locked down
It was the deadliest shooting at a US elementary school since 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook in Connecticut almost a decade ago.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, west of San Antonio.
He identified the 18-year-old gunman as Salvador Ramos. Officials have not revealed a motive for the shooting.
It was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and occurred four years after a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area.
“He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher,” the Governor said, adding that two officers were shot and wounded but were expected to survive.
The gunman lived locally and entered the school with a handgun, and possibly a rifle, and opened fire, Mr Abbott said.
He said the shooter was likely killed by responding officers but that the events were still being investigated.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police Pete Arredondo said the gunman acted alone.
It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were hurt, but Mr Arredondo said there were “several injuries”.
Biden briefed, will deliver remarks soon
Uvalde Memorial Hospital said earlier that 13 children were taken by ambulance or bus to that facility and another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
The school has just under 600 students, and Mr Arredondo said it serves students in the second, third and fourth grade.
He did not provide ages of the children who were shot.
Earlier, the district had said all its schools were locked down because of gunshots in the area.
A heavy police presence surrounded the school on Tuesday afternoon, with officers in heavy vests diverting traffic and FBI agents coming and going from the building.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the school shooting on Air Force One as he returned from a five-day trip to Asia and would continue to receive updates.
Ms Jean-Pierre said Mr Biden would deliver remarks on Tuesday evening at the White House
Uvalde is about 120 kilometres from the border with Mexico and home to about 16,000 people.
Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighbourhood of modest homes.
A Border Patrol agent who was among the first law enforcement officers on scene was shot and wounded by the gunman.
The agent is hospitalised in good condition, according to a federal law enforcement official.
‘Our heart is breaking’: Senator makes impassioned plea to US politicians
The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston.
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, who came to Congress representing Sandy Hook, begged his colleagues to finally pass legislation that addresses the US’s continuing gun violence problem, as the situation unfolded in Texas.
Mr Murphy took to the floor and demanded that lawmakers do what they failed to do after 26 students and educators were killed in Newtown.
The Democrat gave an impassioned speech, urging his colleagues to finally find a compromise.
“Our heart is breaking for these families. Every ounce of love and thoughts and prayers we can send, we are sending,” said Mr Murphy, who represented Newtown, Connecticut where Sandy Hook Elementary School is located, as a former US Representative.
Mr Abbott and both Texan US senators were among elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
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