Robb Elementary teaches second-, third- and fourth-graders in Uvalde, which is about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter is believed to have been killed by responding police. The shooting began around 11:32 a.m.
Eighteen children were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County on Tuesday, one of the deadliest public school shootings in Texas to date.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said two adults were also dead. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, D-San Antonio, told CNN there could be another death, but authorities have not confirmed it.
“My heart is broken today,” Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said as he held back tears during a news conference Tuesday night. “We are a small community and we need your prayers to get through this.”
Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter died. The shooter is believed to have acted alone, said Pete Arredondo, Uvalde CISD police chief.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
Three area hospitals are treating those injured in the shooting. Uvalde Memorial Hospital told The Texas Tribune it had received 13 children and one adult from ambulances and buses. Two patients arrived dead at the hospital. Two children have since been transferred to San Antonio for treatment, while a third is pending transfer.
University Health in San Antonio had said it was providing care for two patients related to the shooting. The 66-year-old woman and the 10-year-old girl were in critical condition when they arrived; their current status is unknown. Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio said it had received two adults from Uvalde.
Abbott identified the shooter as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident. The man abandoned his vehicle and entered Robb Elementary with a handgun and possibly a rifle, the governor said. The shooting began about 11:32 a.m., Arredondo said.
A Border Patrol agent who was near the school shot the gunman before waiting for backup, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press.
The gunman shot his grandmother before the school shooting, Gutierrez told CNN. The grandmother was flown to San Antonio and was “still hanging on” Tuesday night, according to information the Texas Rangers gave Gutierrez.
Robb Elementary teaches second-, third- and fourth-graders. The school had 535 students in the 2020-2021 school year, most of them Hispanic and considered economically disadvantaged. Uvalde is a relatively small city about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Its population of about 15,200 is predominantly Hispanic.
Earlier Tuesday, Uvalde CISD had closed all campuses after gunshots were heard in the area. Harrell said the school will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, although grief counseling will be offered to students.
U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican whose district includes Robb Elementary School, wrote on Twitter, “My heart breaks for the city of Uvalde. Pray for our families.” and quoted a Bible verse.
The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest at a U.S. elementary school since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, according to the Associated Press. The massacre at Uvalde is the eighth mass shooting in a Texas public space since an Army psychiatrist opened fire at Fort Hood Army base in November 2009, killing 13 people in what was later determined to be an act of religious extremism. Five years later, in April 2014, another Fort Hood soldier killed three people and wounded a dozen more on the base before killing himself during a shootout with military police.
Since then, the pace of mass shootings in Texas has increased, along with the death toll:
In July 2016, five Dallas police officers were killed by a 25-year-old who attacked officers at a Black Lives Matter protest; the gunman wounded nine other police officers and two civilians before he was killed by a remote-controlled bomb after a standoff with police.
In November 2017, a 26-year-old man opened fire during Sunday morning services at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and wounding 20 others. The gunman fled the area when a local man began shooting at him and then fatally shot himself after a vehicle chase.
Six months later, in May 2018, a 17-year-old student shot and killed eight students and two teachers and wounded 13 at Santa Fe High School near Houston. He was arrested about 25 minutes after the shooting began.
In August 2019, a 21-year-old man drove from suburban Dallas to El Paso, posted a racist manifesto, and then began shooting people at a Walmart, targeting Latinos. He killed 23 people and wounded 25 before leaving the store and turning himself into Texas Rangers who were nearby.
Later that month, a 36-year-old man went on a shooting spree in the Midland-Odessa area, leaving seven dead and 25 wounded. The man, who had been fired from his job that morning, was shot and killed by police officers outside an Odessa movie theater.
And over the past decade, state lawmakers responded to mass shootings in Texas and elsewhere with a series of laws that prioritized Second Amendment rights and increased the ability of Texans to carry firearms in places where they were previously prohibited.
The 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown prompted a new Texas law the following year that created a school police program allowing certain employees to possess firearms in Texas schools.
Four years later, lawmakers allowed Texans to openly carry firearms instead of having to conceal them and required public universities to allow anyone with the proper license to carry concealed weapons in dorms, classrooms, and campus buildings.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said in a statement Tuesday that he was “lifting up the entire Uvalde community in prayer during this devastating time.” He also told reporters that he does not believe gun control measures are effective in preventing crime.
Abbott, along with Cruz and former President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak Friday at the 2022 annual meeting of the National Rifle Association. Politico reported that a spokesman for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said he would not attend the meeting, citing an unexpected change in his schedule that occurred before the Uvalde shooting.