Ovaldi, Texas May 25 (BUS): An 18-year-old gunman on Tuesday opened fire on an elementary school in Texas, killing at least 19 children as he moved from classroom to classroom, officials said, in The deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the last harrowing moment for a country wracked by a series of massacres. The attacker was killed by law enforcement authorities.
Authorities said the death toll also included two adults. Governor Greg Abbott said one of them was a teacher.
The attack on Robb Elementary School in the densely Latin town of Yuvaldi was the deadliest elementary school shooting in the United States since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Hours after the attack, families were still waiting for news of their children.
Outside the city’s civic center, where families were asked to gather, the silence was repeatedly broken by screaming and wailing. “No! Please don’t!” A man shouted while embracing another man.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, school district director, announcing the cancellation of all school activities for the time being. “We are a small community, and we will need your prayers to get through this.”
The attack also came just 10 days after a deadly racial rampage at a Buffalo, New York supermarket that led to a series of years of mass killings in churches, schools and stores. The prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun rules looked bleaker, if not dimmer, than they did in the wake of Sandy Hook’s death.
But President Joe Biden appeared ready for the fight, calling for new gun controls in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
“As a nation we have to ask, When in the name of God are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When are we going to do in the name of God what needs to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
Many of the wounded were taken to Ovaldi Memorial Hospital, where staff in protective gear and relatives of the devastated victims were seen crying as they walked out of the compound.
Officials did not immediately disclose a motive, but they identified the attacker as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the community 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.
Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack might take place, according to Senator Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested that the children pay attention.”
Before heading to school, Ramon killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he bought on his birthday, Gutierrez said.
“It was the first thing he did on his eighteenth birthday,” he said.
The attack began around 11:30 a.m., when the gunman smashed his car outside the school and crashed into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. A resident who heard the crash called 911, and two local officers exchanged fire with the shooter.
Both officers were shot, though it was not immediately clear where the confrontation took place on campus, or how much time passed before more authorities arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, teams of Border Patrol agents raced to the school, including 10 to 15 members of a SWAT-like anti-terror tactical unit, according to Jason Owens, a senior Border Patrol regional official.
A Border Patrol agent who was working nearby when the shooting began rushed to the school without waiting for backup and shot and killed the gunman behind a barricade, according to an executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to do so. talk about it.
The security source said the client was injured but managed to get out of the school.
Owens confirmed that one customer was slightly injured, but did not provide details of that encounter.
He said some area clients have children at Robb Elementary School.
“We have Border Patrol kids who go to this school. Hit the house for everyone,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how many were injured, but Ovalde police chief Pete Arredondo said there were “several injuries”. Earlier, Ovaldi Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported that a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
Robb Primary School has just under 600 students enrolled, and Arredondo said it serves students in second, third and fourth grades. He did not mention the ages of the children who were shot. This was the last week of school classes before the summer holidays.
Ovalde, a city of about 16,000 people, is located 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. Robb Primary School is located in a residential neighborhood mostly of modest homes.
The Ovaldi tragedy was the deadliest shooting in Texas history, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the United States over the past five years.
In 2018, a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year earlier, a gunman in a Texas church killed more than two dozen people during Sunday mass in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, another gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack.
The shooting came days before the annual convention of the National Rifle Association in Houston. Abbott and both Texas senators were among the elected Republican officials who were the selected speakers at Friday’s leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
In the years since Sandy Hook, the controversy over gun control in Congress has waned and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to change US arms policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.
A year after Sandy Hook, Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Patrick J. Tommy, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to expand the country’s background check system. But the measure failed in a Senate vote, without sufficient support to remove the 60-vote hurdle.
Then-President Barack Obama, who made gun control central to his administration’s goals after the Newtown shootings, called Congress’ failure to act “a very shameful day for Washington.”
Last year, the House of Representatives passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. The other was to extend the background check review period. Both are weak in the Senate by 50-50, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome stalling objections.