The suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, walked into Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde around 11:30 a.m. local time and opened fire on the students. He is believed to have been killed by police officers on the spot. Earlier in the morning, he had shot his grandmother in her home. Nothing is known about her condition yet. When Ramos fled in his car, he crashed near the school. He then ran into the school with his gun and started shooting.
“He shot them horribly, incomprehensibly,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a news conference on Tuesday. The school had more than 500 students, aged between 7 and 10 years. Ninety percent of the students are of Hispanic descent. Two of the fatalities died on the way to the hospital. Several people have been admitted with injuries. The death toll could rise further: a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl are currently in critical condition.
The shooter’s motives are not yet known. Ramos would have acted alone. The school will remain closed for the rest of the week, authorities have announced. Then the summer vacation begins. Psychological assistance will be organized for those who need it. US flags will be flown at half-mast until Saturday, under orders from US President Joe Biden.
Biden was on his way back from a visit to Japan when he was informed of the shooting. “He is praying for the families affected by this terrible event,” said his press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Biden gave a speech after his return to the White House in which he made another emotional call for stricter gun laws.
“Texans mourn the victims of this senseless crime,” Governor Abbott wrote on Twitter later in the afternoon. He has ordered several agencies to investigate ‘this crime’. The town of Uvalde, with a population of 16,000, is located approximately 130 kilometers west of San Antonio.
Starting Friday, the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, the powerful American gun lobby, will take place in Texas. Speakers this year include former President Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Abbott.
This South Texas shooting takes place ten days after the Buffalo, New York shooting. Then an 18-year-old white racist man walked into a supermarket in a black neighborhood and shot thirteen people, ten died. There have been more than 215 shootings across the country that killed four or more since the beginning of this year, according to the de Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that keeps a record of the violent incidents. It was the 27th time this year that a gunman opened fire at an American school.