A teenage gunman killed at least 19 children and two teachers in a massacre at a Texas elementary school, just a week after another shooter killed ten people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
The gunman was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos was shot and killed by police officers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, according to reports. Eva Mireles, a fourth-grade teacher, was one of the victims of the incident.
In a statement released following the attack, her aunt stated she was "furious that these shootings continue," adding, "These children are innocent." Rifles should not be freely accessible to the general public."
Uziyah Garcia, 8, Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, Amerie Jo Garza, 10, Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, and Jose Flores, 10, were among the five children killed in the attack. Irma Garcia, another teacher, has also been named by her family as a victim of the shooting.
Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother at her home in the morning before crashing his automobile outside of Uvalde's Robb Elementary School. According to Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, he then ran into the school and began firing.
Police said he fled that scene and crashed his car near the Robb elementary school in Uvalde, a town about 80 miles (130km) west of San Antonio. There, he went on a rampage that ended when he was shot and killed by police. On Thursday, the school year was set to expire.
The motive was unclear at the time, although it is assumed he acted alone.
When authorities spotted the suspect emerge from his smashed vehicle with a rifle and a handgun, they "engaged" him. Despite this, the gunman was able to charge into the school and open fire, according to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Sgt Erick Estrada.
According to Estrada, the gunman was wearing body armor and had warned on social media about an impending attack. The guy arrived at the school with two military-style guns he had purchased on his birthday, according to Texas state representative Roland Gutierrez.
Hours later, US President Joe Biden spoke from the White House, urging Americans to stand up to the politically powerful American gun lobby, which he blamed for stalling tighter gun safety legislation.
“As a nation, we have to ask, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?
'"Biden remarked on national television, urging that an assault weapons ban and other "common-sense gun legislation" be reinstated.
Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff daily until sunset on Saturday in observance of the tragedy.
Community reeling from tragedy
The first victim was identified by family as Eva Mireles, a teacher of 17 years who taught fourth graders at Robb Elementary. Lydia Martinez Delgado, Mireles' aunt, informed reporters that her niece was slain by the gunman while attempting to defend her students.
According to Delgado, Mireles was in her early 40s, married with one child, and an experienced hiker who took joy in instructing. She went on to say, “She was the fun of the party.”
Relatives rushed to social media in the hours following the shooting in a frantic bid to locate their children.
Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioner repairman, waited outside Robb Elementary School as the sun set on Tuesday night, hoping to hear something about his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres, whose whereabouts were unknown to family.
His family was at the hospital and municipal center waiting for any possible information on her status while he waited outside the school Tuesday night. Cruz told the Associated Press, "I pray she is alive." "They are awaiting information."
Pictures of smiling children were shared on social media, with their family pleading for information. On Tuesday evening, condolences and expressions of sympathy came in from all throughout the United States.
The superintendent of the school system, Hal Harrell, remarked, "My heart is broken today." “We’re a small community and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
It the 27th school shooting this year in the US, according to Education Week. This comes more than a week after 10 people were killed in a supermarket in a predominantly Black area of Buffalo, New York, which is being investigated as a racially motivated hate crime, and a gunman opened fire on a Taiwanese Presbyterian church in California, killing one and injuring five.