By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
The assault at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade-school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word from their children. At least one teacher was among the adults killed at the school.
“He shot and killed horrifically, incomprehensibly,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a news conference.
The suspect was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a student at nearby Uvalde High School, Abbot added.
Before heading to the school, Ramos shot his grandmother with weapons he purchased on his birthday, authorities said. Her condition wasn’t immediately apparent.
The attack began around 11:30 a.m. when the gunman crashed his car outside the school and ran into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Abbott said the shooter had a handgun and also possibly a rifle. He was eventually shot and killed after barricading himself inside the school building during a shoot-out with police.
Most of the injured were rushed to regional hospitals. “Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and the community of Uvalde,” Governor Abbott stressed in a statement.
“Cecilia and I mourn this horrific loss” urge “all Texans to come together” to show their “unwavering” support.
The shootings came as a significant shock for Uvalde, a town of about 16,000 people about 84 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. It was expected to add to a debate about ongoing deadly shootings and weapons in the United States.
Ten days earlier, a gunman fatally shot ten people inside a Buffalo grocery store amid a years-long series of mass killings at churches, schools, and stores.
U.S. President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
“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 are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
His words did little to calm down parents who, hours after the attack, were still awaiting word on their children. Outside the town civic center, where families were told to gather, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing.
“No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man, reporters witnessed.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent, announcing that all school activities were canceled for the time being.
“We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
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