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Texas elementary school shooting death toll rises to 18 children

Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde; engaging border patrol agents nearby in a shootout; and then barricading himself inside the school, killing 18 students and a teacher

The death toll from Tuesday’s shooting at a Texas elementary school has risen to 18 students, one teacher and another adult – all murdered by an 18-year-old gunman.

The gunman was shot dead by a heroic Border Patrol agent who ran into the school with a tactical support team and killed him while he was barricaded inside, and exchanging gunfire with other Texas law enforcement officers. 

The gunman, Salvador Ramos – wearing body armor, equipped with a handgun and possibly a rifle – shot his grandmother before entering the school and opening fire, said Governor Greg Abbott. 

The grandmother was airlifted to hospital and her condition was unknown. 

The teacher was named by her family as Eva Mireles, 44. 

The Border Patrol agent who shot and killed Ramos entered the school with a tactical team, while law enforcement engaged the shooter. 

Ramos, who was born in North Dakota but lived in Uvalde, was a student at Uvalde High School, Abbott said. 

Ramos’s young victims were aged between seven and 11, CNN’s Ed Lavandera reported. 

On Tuesday night the father of 10-year-old Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez said that she was still missing.

‘He shot and killed – horrifically and incomprehensibly – 14 students and killed a teacher,’ Abbott said at a press briefing. The death toll was later revised to 18 children.

‘There are families that are in mourning right now. And the state of Texas is in mourning with them.’ 

It was the deadliest such incident since 14 high school students and three adult staff were killed in Parkland, Florida in 2018 – and the worst at an elementary school since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six staff were killed. 

‘The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong,’ said Joe Biden, addressing the country from the White House on Tuesday night.

‘As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name will we stand up to the gun lobby?’ 

He added: ‘Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep on letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?’  

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Salvador Ramos, 18, from Uvalde, Texas, drove to the Robb Elementary School after shooting his grandmother

Salvador Ramos, 18, from Uvalde, Texas, drove to the Robb Elementary School after shooting his grandmother

Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez's father said the 10-year-old was still unaccounted for

Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez’s father said the 10-year-old was still unaccounted for

Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday

Eva Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was shot and killed at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday

Ramos shared photos on social media of guns. His account was taken down shortly after Governor Greg Abbott confirmed his name

Ramos shared photos on social media of guns. His account was taken down shortly after Governor Greg Abbott confirmed his name

Ramos shared a photo on Instagram of him holding the magazine of a rifle

Ramos shared a photo on Instagram of him holding the magazine of a rifle

Mireles, a fourth grade teacher, was identified by her family as being the staff member shot dead. She had worked in education for 17 years. 

Her husband Ruben Ruiz, a veteran detective and SWAT team member currently serving as a police officer with the school district, held regular active shooter drills for the schools – most recently at the end of March.

‘Let me assure you, the intruder is deceased,’ said Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department. 

‘We are not looking for another individual in relation to this case.’

Ramos’s social media was full of photos of guns, which he bought legally on his 18th birthday, state senator Roland Gutierrez said.  

Gutierrez said that Ramos was born in North Dakota but lived in Uvalde. 

Ramos messaged a woman he knew on Instagram, tagging her in a photo of the guns.

‘You gonna repost my gun pics,’ @sal8dor_ direct messaged the girl on May 12.

‘what your guns gotta do with me,’ she replied on Friday.

‘Just wanted to tag you,’ he said back.

Then at 5:43am on Tuesday, @salv8dor_ messaged her and said: ‘I’m about to’.

The girl asked ‘about to what’ to which he answered: ‘I’ll tell you before 11.’

He said he’d text her in an hour and urged her to respond.

‘I got a lil secret I wanna tell u,’ he messaged with a smiley face emoji covering its mouth.

‘Be grateful I tagged you,’ he wrote. 

She replied: ‘No it’s just scary,’ adding: ‘I barely know you and you tag me in a picture with some guns?’

His last message at 9:16am on Tuesday was ‘Ima air out’.

The shooting started around 11:32am. 

Robb Elementary School, which has 600 students enrolled, is located in the city of Uvalde, hometown of Matthew McConaughey, 60 miles east of the Mexican border and 80 miles west of San Antonio. 

One video at the scene appears to show the suspected gunman, named by Governor Greg Abbott as Salvador Ramos, approach the school while what sounds like gunfire is going off in the background

One video at the scene appears to show the suspected gunman, named by Governor Greg Abbott as Salvador Ramos, approach the school while what sounds like gunfire is going off in the background

Photos show a pickup truck that crashed outside the school, which, according to Abbott, Ramos abandoned before entering the school. 

He was involved in a gunfight with border patrol agents who arrived on the scene. One of the agents was injured, but is expected to survive. 

Additionally, thirteen children are being treated at the Uvalde Memorial emergency room as well as a 45-year-old man who suffered a ‘graze.’

University Health San Antonio also confirmed they received a child whose condition is currently unknown and a 66-year-old woman who is critical condition.  

Biden, who flew home from Japan on Tuesday, addressed the nation from the Roosevelt Room of the White House at 8:45pm. Air Force One landed just before 7pm. 

‘I had hoped, when I became president, I would not have to do this. Again. Another massacre,’ a visibly emotional Biden said.

Speaking from the White House Roosevelt Room with First Lady Jill Biden clad in black by his side, the president said: ‘Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful innocent, second, third, fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happen – see their friends die as if they’re on a battlefield, for God’s sake?’

He took a moment to empathize with parents who would never see their young children again after Tuesday.

‘Parents will never be the same. To lose a child, it’s like having a piece of your soul ripped away,’ said the president, who lost his son Beau Biden to brain cancer in 2015.

‘There’s a hollowness in your chest you feel like you’re being sucked into it. And never going to be able to get out. Suffocating. And it’s never quite the same. It’s the feeling shared by the siblings and the grandparents and the family members and the community that’s left behind.’ 

He lamented there were ‘so many crush spirits’ left to mourn the more than dozen victims.

‘So tonight, I asked the nation to pray for them. Give the parents and siblings the strength in the darkness they feel right now.’

President Joe Biden gave a short but impassioned speech less than two hours after returning from a trip to Asia

President Joe Biden gave a short but impassioned speech less than two hours after returning from a trip to Asia

Biden delivered the remarks in the White House Roosevelt Room with a silent and solemn First Lady Dr. Jill Biden by his side

Biden delivered the remarks in the White House Roosevelt Room with a silent and solemn First Lady Dr. Jill Biden by his side

His voice growing louder, Biden continued: ‘As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?’

Biden recalled the numerous mass shootings over the last decade, including visiting Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 26 people including 20 children while he was vice president. He also remarked on the this month’s mass shooting that killed 10 people in Buffalo, New York.

‘I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common sense gun laws,’ he said. 

‘We can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy, but we know they work and have positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down, when the law expired mass shootings tripled.’

He said the ability for a teenage gunman, like Salvador Ramos, to be able to ‘walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong.;

‘What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?’ Biden questioned.

He then accused gun makers of spending ‘two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit.’ 

The flags above the White House are flying at half staff.

Sheriffs are seen outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Sheriffs are seen outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Law enforcement are seen near the crime scene on Tuesday afternoon after the mass murder at the school

Law enforcement are seen near the crime scene on Tuesday afternoon after the mass murder at the school

State troopers are seen near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday

State troopers are seen near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday

Law enforcement are seen at the scene of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Law enforcement are seen at the scene of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is seen on Tuesday addressing the mass shooting at the school in Uvalde

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, is seen on Tuesday addressing the mass shooting at the school in Uvalde

 

Concerned parents were captured at the scene desperately searching for their children and video from the chaotic scene showed police arriving to the school campus with their guns in hand.

One widely shared video appears to show the suspected gunman approach the school while what sounds like gunfire is going off in the background. 

‘There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site,’ The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said. 

Videos taken in the immediate aftermath of the shooting show mothers frantically running towards the campus to collect their kids. 

The school warned parents to stay away and instead collect their children from a rendezvous point after they had been ‘accounted for’. 

‘Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared.’

The students were holding a day of celebrations, receiving certificates for the end of the school year. 

Dr Hal Harrell, superintendent of Uvalde school district, said that classes had been cancelled for the rest of the school year.

‘School will be closed,’ Harrell told a press conference on Tuesday evening. 

‘The school year is done. All activities are cancelled throughout the district – I know graduation is on everyone’s mind, but we will come to that later.

‘My heart was broken today.

‘We are a small community, and we will need your prayers to get through this.’

Ninety percent of the school’s students are Hispanic and there are some 70 teachers.

It is one many schools in the district that is a stone’s throw from the Mexican border, with the city of Coahuila 220 miles away. The school sits on the outskirts of the city of Uvalde, population 16,000.

Don McLaughlin, mayor of Uvalde, told Fox News that shots were fired off site, and that after shooting one person, the gunman ran to the school where he barricaded himself inside. 

The district said that the city’s civic center will be used as a reunification center and that parents will be able to pick up their children there once everyone is accounted for. 

A mobile morgue was seen arriving at the school on Tuesday afternoon. 

A police vehicle is seen parked near of a truck believed to belong to the suspect behind a shooting at Robb Elementary School

A police vehicle is seen parked near of a truck believed to belong to the suspect behind a shooting at Robb Elementary School

Horrified parents and students gathered after the shooting at the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center

Horrified parents and students gathered after the shooting at the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center

A woman cries while speaking on the phone outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School to be picked up following the shooting

A woman cries while speaking on the phone outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School to be picked up following the shooting

A board with the list of classes and teachers is displayed outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center

A board with the list of classes and teachers is displayed outside the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center

FBI agents arrive at Robb Elementary School following Tuesday's shooting

FBI agents arrive at Robb Elementary School following Tuesday’s shooting

State police arrive at the scene of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday

State police arrive at the scene of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday

New video from the chaotic scene shows police arriving to the scene with their guns in hand

New video from the chaotic scene shows police arriving to the scene with their guns in hand

Footage shot outside the school shows law enforcement approaching the elementary school with weapons

Footage shot outside the school shows law enforcement approaching the elementary school with weapons 

Robb elementary school, which has 600 students enrolled, is located in Uvalde - 60 miles east of the Mexican border and 80 miles west of San Antonio

Robb elementary school, which has 600 students enrolled, is located in Uvalde – 60 miles east of the Mexican border and 80 miles west of San Antonio

 

Ted Cruz, a Republican US senator from Texas, tweeted that he and his wife are ‘lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde.’

Ken Paxton, the attorney general for Texas, told Fox News that more teachers should carry guns.

‘We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things,’ he said, adding that he had ‘never understood that argument’.

‘We can harden these schools. We can create points of access that are difficult to get through.

‘We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. 

‘The reality is that we don’t have the resources to have law enforcement at every school.

‘So it takes time for law enforcement – now matter how prepared, no matter how good they are – to get there. So having the right training for some of these people at the school is the best hope.

‘Nothing is going to work perfectly, but that, in my opinion it’s the best answer to this problem.’ 

But Senator Chris Murphy, a Democratic from Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook shooting took place, made an impassioned appeal for concrete action to prevent further violence.

‘This isn’t inevitable, these kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day,’ Murphy said on the Senate floor.

‘I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely,’ he added.

Kamala Harris, the vice president, said: ‘Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.’ 

The deadly violence in Texas follows a series of mass shootings in the United States this month.

On May 14, an 18-year-old white man shot 10 people dead at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.

Wearing heavy body armor and wielding an AR-15 rifle, the self-declared white supremacist allegedly livestreamed his attack, having reportedly targeted the store because of the large surrounding African American population.

The following day, a man blocked the door of a church in Laguna Woods, California and opened fire on its Taiwanese-American congregation, killing one person and injuring five.

Despite recurring mass-casualty shootings, multiple initiatives to reform gun regulations have failed in the US Congress, leaving states and local councils to enact their own restrictions.

The National Rifle Association has been instrumental in fighting against stricter US gun laws. Abbott and Cruz are listed as speakers at a forum that is being held by the powerful lobby in Houston, Texas later this week.

The United States suffered 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up nearly 35 percent compared to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in its latest data.

Law enforcement crowds the entrance of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where a gunman shot and killed 18 students and a teacher

Law enforcement crowds the entrance of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, where a gunman shot and killed 18 students and a teacher

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told Fox News that shots were fired offsite and that after shooting one person the gunman ran to the school where he remained barricaded. He was then shot and killed by law enforcement

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told Fox News that shots were fired offsite and that after shooting one person the gunman ran to the school where he remained barricaded. He was then shot and killed by law enforcement

 

A gunman was on the run at Robb Elementary School (pictured) in Uvalde as the campus and all other schools in the district went into lockdown

A gunman was on the run at Robb Elementary School (pictured) in Uvalde as the campus and all other schools in the district went into lockdown

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said: 'There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site'

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said: ‘There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site’

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemned the ‘monstrous’ shooting before directing her ire at colleagues that have stood in the way of gun reform.

‘Words are inadequate to describe the agony and outrage at the cold-blooded massacre of little schoolchildren and a teacher at Robb Elementary School today,’ Pelosi said in a statement.

‘This monstrous shooting stole the futures of precious children, who will never experience the joys of graduating from school, chasing the career of their dreams, falling in love, even starting a family of their own.’

Referring to the multiple mass shootings in recent weeks, the Democrat continued: ‘Across the nation, Americans are filled with righteous fury in the wake of multiple incomprehensible mass shootings in the span of just days.’

‘This a crisis of existential proportions – for our children and for every American. For too long, some in Congress have offered hollow words after these shootings while opposing all efforts to save lives,’ she said.

‘It is time for all in Congress to heed the will of the American people and join in enacting the House-passed bipartisan, commonsense, life-saving legislation into law.’

America’s worst school shootings 

There have been dozens of shootings and other attacks in U.S. schools and colleges over the years, but until the massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, the number of dead tended to be in the single digits. Since then, the number of shootings that included schools and killed 10 or more people has mounted. The most recent two were both in Texas.

ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, May 2022

An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 18 children, one teacher and injuring others, Gov. Greg Abbott said. The shooter died.

SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, May 2018

A 17-year-old opened fire at a Houston-area high school, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said. The suspect has been charged with murder.

MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, February 2018

An attack left 14 students and three staff members dead at the school in Parkland, Florida, and injured many others. The 20-year-old suspect was charged with murder.

UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, October 2015

A man killed nine people at the school in Roseburg, Oregon, and wounded nine others, then killed himself.

SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, December 2012

A 19-year-old man killed his mother at their home in Newtown, Connecticut, then went to the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first graders and six educators. He took his own life.

VIRGINIA TECH, April 2007

A 23-year-old student killed 32 people on the campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, in April 2007; more than two dozen others were wounded. The gunman then killed himself.

RED LAKE HIGH SCHOOL, March 2005

A 16-year-old student killed his grandfather and the man’s companion at their Minnesota home, then went to nearby Red Lake High School, where he killed five students, a teacher and a security guard before shooting himself.

COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, April 1999

Two students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher at the school in Littleton, Colorado, and injured many others before killing themselves.

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