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At least 19 students killed in a shooting at a Texas elementary school

2022-05-25T09:31:25.288Z

An 18-year-old gunman fatally shot 19 children and two adults at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday before being killed by law enforcement officers, authorities said.



Biden gives message after shooting in Texas: I'm fed up 7:41

(CNN) --

Just two days before students at a Texas elementary school were to start their summer break, a gunman in a bulletproof vest rushed into the school and opened fire on classrooms of young children.

The massacre left 19 students and two adults dead, authorities said.

The violent act rocked a nation already reeling from another nationwide mass shooting just 10 days ago.

The parents waited late into the night at a nearby civic center to find out if their children had survived, with some telling CNN they had to provide DNA samples to help authorities identify the children.

As he attempted to enter the school, he was intercepted by school district police officers, but he was still able to enter the building and enter several classrooms, said Sgt. Eric Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Authorities say he was armed with a rifle and carrying a backpack.

  • How many mass shootings have there been in the United States in 2022?

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An 18-year-old man opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 students and two adults, authorities said.

In the image, Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil that took place in Uvalde on Tuesday night.

Billy Calzada/AP |

WATCH THE GALLERY ➡️

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People pray Tuesday night at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Uvalde.

William Luther/AP

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People take comfort outside the Civic Center in Uvalde.

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Police personnel run near the scene of the shooting.

US Customs and Border Protection, which is the largest law enforcement agency in the area, helped with the response to the incident.

Marco Bello/Reuters

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A Texas State Trooper walks outside Robb Elementary School, where the shooting occurred.

Eric Thayer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

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A woman reacts outside the Uvalde Civic Center.

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A minor boards a school bus Tuesday under police surveillance.

Robb High School had 535 students in the 2020-21 school year, according to state data.

About 90% of the students are Hispanic and about 81% are economically disadvantaged, the data shows.

Thursday was going to be the last day of school before summer break.

Marco Bello/Reuters

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People react outside the Civic Center.

With this, they add at least 30 shootings in primary and secondary schools in 2022. Marco Bello/Reuters

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Police officers and other first responders gather outside the school after Tuesday's shooting.

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A woman cries and hugs a minor while she talks on the phone outside the Uvalde Civic Center.

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A woman cries as she leaves the Civic Center.

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Law enforcement officers stand outside the school after the shooting.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been assisting local law enforcement with the investigation.

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People sit on the sidewalk outside the school as state police patrol the area.

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Police walk near the school after the shooting.

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A woman and a minor leave the Uvalde Civic Center on Tuesday.

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Tuesday's tragic event marks the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade since 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. It's also at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022, according to a CNN count.

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In a national address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden recalled the Sandy Hook shooting, which occurred when Biden was serving as vice president.

"I was hoping that when I became president I wouldn't have to do this again," Biden said.

"How many little kids who witnessed what happened, watch their friends die like they're on a battlefield, for God's sake. They'll live with it for the rest of their lives."

But on Tuesday afternoon, students shaken by a massive tragedy were bussed to a civic center that had been transformed into a reunification site for surviving children and their families.

As the night progressed, the parents of the young victims began to learn that their children had not survived the massacre.

Here are the latest developments on Tuesday's tragedy:

• Teacher identified as one of the victims:

Eva Mireles, a fourth-grade teacher, is among those killed, her aunt, Lydia Martínez Delgado, told CNN.

According to Mireles' profile on the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District website, she had been an educator for 17 years.

In her free time, she enjoyed running, hiking, biking and spending time with her family, according to her website.

• The shooter acted alone:

​​The shooter, identified by authorities as Salvador Ramos, 18, of Uvalde, had no help, according to Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.

• Attacker shot his grandmother before driving to school:

Ramos shot his grandmother at her home before driving to Robb Elementary, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesman Erick Estrada said.

As he told CNN's Anderson Cooper, the gunman vandalized a vehicle as he was driving near the school after shooting his grandmother.

“The suspect crashed near a ditch near the school.

That's where he got out of his vehicle with what I think was a rifle and that's when he tried to get into the school that he got into a confrontation with the police."

• "School year is over," superintendent said

: The Uvalde school district will cancel the remainder of its school year, which was scheduled to end Thursday, said Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.

• Grief counseling and support for students

will be available in the civic center beginning at 10am.

an official told CNN.

• A CBP agent was injured and is in stable condition.

CBP is the largest federal law enforcement agency in the Uvalde area, which is close to the US-Mexico border.

• The attacker had a bulletproof vest, the rifle and a backpack,

Estrada said.

Ramos entered several classrooms, Estrada added.

• President Joe Biden ordered US flags to fly at half-staff on federal land until sunset Saturday to honor the victims of these "senseless acts of violence."

• Uvalde Memorial Hospital spokesman Tom Nordwick said earlier that 13 children and a man in his 40s were being treated for injuries.

University Hospital of San Antonio said in a tweet that they received a child and an adult from the school shooting.

The adult, a 66-year-old woman, is in critical condition, the hospital said in a tweet.

• The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are assisting local law enforcement with the investigation.

He's dead, Uvalde authorities say about school attacker 1:00

The community shattered by the sudden tragedy

When news of the Uvalde shooting broke, parents at Robb Elementary were told the students would be taken to the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center, according to a post on the school district's Facebook page.

The civic center quickly became the epicenter for families searching for their children, though scenes of devastation began to unfold as victims were identified overnight.

At least four families told CNN that the parents were asked for DNA samples to confirm their relationship to their children and were instructed to wait an hour for a response.

One father, who had just received the news that his son had died, held back tears as several of his cousins ​​hugged him.

A few yards away, a grandmother who had just driven from San Antonio said she would not stop praying for her 10-year-old granddaughter while they awaited her DNA results.

Inside the civic center, city workers were handing out pizza, sandwiches and water to families.

Some parents waited in silence or quietly sobbing as a group of children sat on the floor and played with teddy bears.

A group of local priests and chaplains arrived to offer their support to the families.

As of Tuesday night, some families still had not been reunited with their children and had no news, according to Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde.

"We have people who have not yet identified their children," he told CNN Tuesday night.

"Right now, they're still doing a DNA match."

In his speech, Biden recalled his own experience as a father who has lost his children, saying that now there are "fathers who will never see their children again, who will never let them jump on the bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be Losing a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped out.

Robb Elementary School includes second through fourth grades and had 535 students in the 2020-21 school year, state data shows.

About 90% of the students are Hispanic and about 81% are economically disadvantaged, according to the data.

Uvalde County, located about 80 miles west of San Antonio, had a population of about 25,000 according to the 2020 census.

Hours after the shooting, people from the neighborhood surrounding the school sat with their families outside their homes, some meeting with neighbors seeking to understand what happened just blocks away.

Adela Martínez and her husband Paul Martínez, a former city councilman, said they could feel the pain and sadness spreading through their town.

“Here we are like a big family.

Can you expect something like that (a shooting) in big cities like New York but in Uvalde?

If this happened here, now I think it could happen anywhere,” said Adela Martínez.

What we know about the Uvalde, Texas shooter

A photo of two AR15-style rifles surfaced on an Instagram account linked to the alleged Uvalde shooter just three days before Tuesday's massacre at Robb Elementary School.

CNN redacted part of the image to remove the name of a third party.

(From Instagram)

The attacker is an 18-year-old male who was a student at Uvalde High School.

Just three days before Tuesday's massacre, a photo of two AR-15-style rifles surfaced on an Instagram account linked to Ramos.

One of Ramos' former classmates told CNN that the attacker had stopped attending school regularly.

"He barely came to school," said the friend, who did not want to be identified.

He added that Ramos had recently sent him a photo of an AR-15, a backpack of ammunition and several gun magazines.

“I was like, 'Brother, why do you have this?' And he was like, 'Don't worry about it,'” the friend said.

“He proceeded to text me, 'I look so different now.

You wouldn't recognize me,'” he added.

"He proceeded to text me, 'I look so different now. You wouldn't recognize me,'" the friend added.

Ramos worked at a local Wendy's, the restaurant's manager confirmed to CNN.

The night manager, Adrian Mendes, said Ramos "mainly kept to himself" and "didn't really socialize with the other employees... He just worked, got paid and came to get his check."

30th shooting at a K-12 (elementary and secondary) school this year

Tuesday's incident marks at least the 30th shooting at an elementary and secondary school in 2022. So far in 2022, there have been at least 39 shootings at schools, colleges and universities, resulting in at least 10 deaths and 51 wounded.

The shooting in Texas is the deadliest at a US school since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, in which 17 people were killed.

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    Experts say it will be difficult to protect them

Videos taken by a bystander, Isaias Melendez, show dozens of armed officers at the scene while others flee the school.

Robb Elementary School teaches second through fourth grades and had 535 students in the 2020-21 school year, according to state data.

About 90% of the students are Hispanic and about 81% are economically disadvantaged, the data shows.

Thursday was scheduled to be the last day of school before summer break.

The school district said it will cancel all school activities after the shooting.

Communities that have been victims of shootings express their solidarity

Family man targets easy access to guns in the US after Texas shooting 1:12

Loved ones of the victims and members of the community mourning the loss of 21 Uvalde residents join a growing number of Americans devastated by mass shootings, and school shootings in particular.

So far, there have been more mass shootings than days in 2022. Tuesday, May 24, marked the 144th day of the year, and there have been at least 213 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Both CNN and the Gun Violence archive define a mass shooting as one in which four or more people were injured or killed, not including the shooter.

Parents of children killed in school shootings at both Sandy Hook Elementary School and Parkland, Florida, expressed their support for the Uvalde community and their frustration at the shared language of loss that gun violence has created for so many families.

Fred Guttenberg's daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed in a shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018.

"I can't stop thinking about these families today who need to figure out how they're going to bury their children, who need to figure out how they're going to comfort their other children," he said.

"And I can't stop thinking about this community that needs to figure out how they're all going to get together, how they're going to take care of each other after this."

Nicole Hockley, whose son Dylan was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, co-founded the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent gun violence.

She said working at the nonprofit gave her purpose after Dylan's death and encouraged parents to know that joy is still possible after losing him.

"It's possible, but it sure isn't easy. I have a surviving son whom I love with all my life. He gives me joy," she said.

For the Uvalde community, there is now "an army of survivors" to support them, Guttenberg said.

Asked if he had any advice for the mourning families of Uvalde, Guttenberg offered the words of his rabbi at his daughter's funeral: "We're not moving forward, we're moving on."

-- CNN's Eric Levenson, Paradise Afshar, Curt Devine, Jeff Winter, Evan Perez, Andy Rose, Priscilla Alvarez, Jamiel Lynch, Jennifer Henderson and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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Source: cnnespanol

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