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Gunman kills 19 children in Texas school rampage

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Kladys Castellón prays throughout a vigil for the victims of a mass capturing at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. An 18-year-old gunman opened hearth Tuesday at a Texas elementary faculty, killing at the very least 19 kids as he went from classroom to classroom, officers mentioned. (Billy Calzada, The San Antonio Specific-Information by way of AP)

Estimated learn time: 6-7 minutes

UVALDE, Texas — An 18-year-old gunman opened hearth Tuesday at a Texas elementary faculty, killing at the very least 19 kids as he went from classroom to classroom, officers mentioned, within the deadliest faculty capturing in almost a decade and the newest ugly second for a rustic scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by legislation enforcement.

The loss of life toll additionally included two adults, authorities mentioned. Gov. Greg Abbott mentioned one of many two was a instructor.

The rampage at Robb Elementary College within the closely Latino city of Uvalde was the deadliest capturing at a U.S. grade faculty since a gunman killed 20 kids and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

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

Outdoors the city civic heart, the place households had been informed to collect, 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 in the present day,” mentioned Hal Harrell, the varsity district superintendent. “We’re a small neighborhood, and we’ll want your prayers to get via this.”

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air con repairman, was nonetheless outdoors the varsity because the solar set, looking 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 experiences of the capturing. He mentioned different relations had been on the hospital and the civic heart.

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

“I hope she is alive,” Cruz mentioned.

The assault got here simply 10 days after a lethal, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong collection of mass killings at church buildings, faculties and shops.

People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas.
Folks depart the Uvalde Civic Heart following a capturing earlier within the day at Robb Elementary College, Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas. (Picture: William Luther/The San Antonio Specific-Information by way of AP)

President Joe Biden known as for brand new gun restrictions in an tackle to the nation hours after the assault.

Biden requested when the nation would stand as much as the gun foyer, and when “are we going to do what must be finished? Why are we prepared to dwell with this carnage?”

Most of the wounded had been rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, the place employees 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 west of San Antonio. Legislation enforcement officers mentioned he acted alone.

The assault got here as Robb Elementary was counting right 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 carrying good outfits and sneakers.

The varsity 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 mentioned 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 mentioned.

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

The assault started about 11:30 a.m., when the gunman crashed his automobile outdoors 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 known as 911, and two native law enforcement officials exchanged gunfire with the shooter.

Each officers had 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.

A woman cries as she leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas.
A lady cries as she depart the Uvalde Civic Heart following a capturing earlier within the day at Robb Elementary College, Tuesday, in Uvalde, Texas. (Picture: William Luther/The San Antonio Specific-Information by way of AP)

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, mentioned Jason Owens, a high regional official with the Border Patrol.

One Border Patrol agent who was working close by when the capturing 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 mentioned.

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

He mentioned some space brokers have kids at Robb Elementary.

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

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

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

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

In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 individuals at Santa Fe High School 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 capturing 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 had been amongst elected Republican officers who had 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 vary U.S. gun insurance policies in any important approach have constantly 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 develop the nation’s background test 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 targets after the Newtown capturing, known as Congress’ failure to behave “a reasonably shameful day for Washington.”

Final 12 months, the Home 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 opposite would have prolonged the background test overview interval. Each languished within the 50-50 Senate, the place Democrats want at the very least 10 Republican votes to beat objections from a filibuster.

Contributing: Eugene Garcia, Dario Lopez-Mills, Jake Bleiberg, Ben Fox, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker, Paul J. Weber, Juan Lozano, Gene Johnson and Rhonda Shafner

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