The 18-year-old suspect, who appears to have been killed by police, also shot his grandmother before fleeing the scene, then crushed her getaway car and embarked on a bloody massacre there. Texas, about 80 miles (130 km) west of San Antonio.
The motive was not immediately clear.
Law enforcement officers saw the shooter, wearing a flak jacket, get out of his wrecked car and carry a rifle and “engaged” with the suspect, who nevertheless managed to break into the school and open fire, Sgt. Eric Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) He said on CNN.
Speaking from the White House hours later, a shaky US President Joe Biden urged Americans to stand up to the powerful US gun lobby, which he accused of obstructing stricter laws and common sense about gun safety.
Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-mast each day until sunset on Saturday in commemoration of the tragedy.
Governor Greg Abbott said the suspect, Salvador Ramos, was apparently killed by police, and two officers were shot, though the governor said their injuries were not serious.
Authorities said the suspect acted alone.
After confusing initial reports about the death toll, the Attorney General’s Office, in an official statement, put the death toll at 18 children and two adults, including the shooter. A Texas DBS spokesperson later told CNN that 19 schoolchildren and two adults were killed, without the shooter.
The school’s student body is made up of second, third and fourth graders, according to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who also spoke to reporters. Students in these classes are likely to be between 7 and 10 years old.
The massacre came 10 days after 10 people were killed in Buffalo, New York, in a predominantly black neighborhood. Authorities charged an 18-year-old, who they said drove hundreds of miles to Buffalo and opened fire with an assault rifle at a grocery store.
The bloodbath began Tuesday in Texas when the suspect shot his grandmother before he headed to school, Texas Department of Public Safety Officer Chris Olivares told Fox News, a development Abbott reported earlier today.
“I have no further information on the connection between the two shootings,” the governor declared.
San Antonio University Hospital said on Twitter that it has received two patients from the Ovaldi shootings, a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, both listed in critical condition.
Ovaldi Memorial Hospital said 15 students from Robb Elementary School were treated in the emergency room, two of whom were transferred to San Antonio for further care, while a third patient was awaiting transfer. It was not immediately clear whether these students survived.
A 45-year-old victim who was shot, was also taken to hospital at the Ovaldi Memorial, the hospital said.
A few hours after the shooting, police cordoned off the school with yellow tape. Police and emergency vehicles were scattered around the school yards. The uniformed officers stood in small groups, some in camouflage clothing and carrying semi-automatic weapons.
The rampage is the latest in a string of mass school shootings that has sparked a heated debate between supporters of stricter gun controls and those who oppose any legislation that could undermine Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.
The Texas shooting is one of the deadliest shootings in an American school since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. In 2018, former high school student Marjorie Stoneman was killed Douglas is from Parkland, Florida. 17 students and educators.
Firearms have become the leading cause of death for American children and teens in 2020, overtaking car accidents, according to a research letter from the University of Michigan published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month.
Today’s atrocities were reflected on the Robb Elementary School Facebook page.
Earlier in the week, his posts featured the usual student activities – a trip to the zoo for sophomores and a save the date for a talent show. But on Tuesday a bond was posted at 11.43 a.m.: “Be aware that Robb Elementary School is at this time closed due to a shooting in the area. Students and staff are safe in the building.”
The second post was more explicit: “There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary School. Law enforcement on the scene.” Officials asked parents to stay away. Finally, a commitment was posted to inform parents that they can find their children at the small town’s civic center.
(Reporting by Marco Bello Ovaldi, Texas; Additional writing and reporting by Steve Gorman, Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani and Tyler Clifford, New York; Daniel Trotta, San Diego; Dan Whitcombe and Costas Pettas, Los Angeles; Katie Paul, San Francisco, and Sharon Bernstein; Sacramento, California; and Kaitlin Webber and Kanishka Singh Washington; Editing by Grant McCall, Leslie Adler, and Howard Goller)