According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, a gunman opened fire in a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, killing at least 19 children and two teachers.
The suspected shooter was also killed when law enforcement confronted him at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 83 miles west of San Antonio, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference.
In addition to the suspected shooter, the Texas Department of Public Safety later stated that 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Multiple survivors were being treated at regional hospitals; the exact number was not disclosed.
Another mass shooting on an American school campus targeted children and educators. The attack on Tuesday is reminiscent of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado; Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida; and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, later that year.
It may have special meaning for those affected by the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a 20-year-old man killed 20 children and six adults.
According to Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the suspect shot his grandmother, who is in critical condition, before driving toward the school.
After crashing nearby, he apparently went to the campus and opened fire, according to Olivarez, who spoke at the scene. On NBC’s “TODAY” show on Wednesday, Olivarez stated that the gunman barricaded himself in a classroom. Officers on the outside could hear gunshots but were unable to enter due to a barrage of gunfire. Some people were injured.
They eventually had to break windows to get the children and staffers they could out.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the shooter wore body armor and carried a rifle. However, according to Olivarez on MSNBC, the shooter was wearing a tactical vest. It’s unclear whether the shooter supplemented the vest with ballistic protection.
Olivarez also stated that the shooter had no criminal history and was “unemployed,” with “no friends, no girlfriend, that we can identify.” Authorities reported the attack as a mass casualty incident shortly after 11:30 a.m.
Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, has been identified as the suspected shooter, according to multiple senior law enforcement sources.
The suspect was described as a “evil person” by Olivarez. Olivarez stated that he had attended one of the community’s high schools.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat, said the shooter bought two semiautomatic rifles on his 18th birthday at a gun store in the Uvalde area. It was unclear which of these weapons was used in the attack.
Authorities said FBI agents and US Customs and Border Protection personnel were assisting local law enforcement with their investigation into the suspect’s motives and background. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was also called in to help. Meanwhile, the governor stated that the families of the deceased were being notified.
At least six victims had been identified publicly by family members.
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, and fourth graders Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez, 10, and Amerie Jo Garza, 9, were among the 19 students killed, according to relatives.
Eva Mireles, a 17-year educator who taught fourth grade, and Irma Garcia, who taught at the school for 23 years, were also identified by family members.
In the midst of the chaos, parents were looking for missing children. Maria Garcia, a mother, was near the school early in the afternoon questioning a law enforcement officer because she was still looking for her 10-year-old daughter. Her voice quivered as she tried to get answers to her string of questions, implying that her daughter was possibly hiding in nearby fields.
Rosa and Roland Arizmendia’s daughter was safe, they said, because they had picked her up early after a school awards ceremony. However, they had no idea where their niece was.
They saw her when they were picking up their daughter, and Roland Arizmendia said he yelled out to her, “Hi, mija!” But he hadn’t heard anything about her since the shooting, and their entire family was looking for her.