18 students, 3 adults killed in Uvalde County school shooting

Uvalde, Texas — An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, southwest Texas, killing 18 students and three adults and wounding several others.

Democratic state Sen. Roland Gutierrez said that number was provided to him by Texas Rangers agents.

The shooter was dead, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

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This has been the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, coming four years after a gunman shot and killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. It is also the deadliest shooting at an elementary school in the United States since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago.

The shooter entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a handgun and possibly a rifle, Abbott said. Authorities have not disclosed a motive for the shooting. The gunman was identified as Salvador Ramos and said he was a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Almost 82% of the population of this city is Hispanic, according to the Census Bureau.

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Abbott said the shooter was likely killed by responding officers, but the incident was still under investigation. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo told a news conference that the shooter acted alone.

“He horribly, incomprehensibly shot and killed 14 students and a teacher,” the governor said, adding that two officers were shot and wounded but were expected to survive.

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It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were injured in the shooting. Previously, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were transferred there. Another hospital reported that a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.

Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, about 85 miles west of San Antonio, was put on lockdown, according to the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, when it emerged an active shooter was reported at the school, which has nearly 600 students.

The school was surrounded by a heavy police presence 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 was briefed on the shooting on Air Force One while returning from a five-day trip to Asia and would continue to receive updates. Jean-Pierre said that Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday night at the White House.

The shooting in Texas came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 Black shoppers and workers in what authorities described as a hate crime.

For his part, Senator Ted Cruz said in an interview with SpectrumNews that an incident like this is almost immediately politicized and said that pursuing Second Amendment rights “is not effective in stopping these types of crimes. What is effective is targeting criminals and fugitives and those with serious mental illness.”

The tragedy in Uvalde adds to a grim list of mass shootings in Texas that have been among the bloodiest in the United States in the past five years. A year before the Santa Fe massacre, in 2018, a gunman killed more than two dozen people in Sutherland Springs as they attended Sunday mass.

In 2019, a gunman entered a Walmart store in El Paso and killed 23 people in a racist attack.

The shooting comes just days after the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobby, holds its convention in Houston. Abbott and the two senators from Texas will participate in the event on Friday.

Uvalde is a town of about 16,000 people and is the seat of government for Uvalde County. The town is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border, while the school is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

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