An 18-year-old gunman has killed at the least 19 kids at a major college within the US state of Texas, officers mentioned, within the deadliest college taking pictures in practically a decade and the most recent ugly second for a rustic scarred by a string of mass shootings.
The dying toll additionally included two adults, authorities mentioned. Governor Greg Abbott mentioned one of many two was a trainer.
Chatting with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Abbott mentioned an 18-year-old gunman opened hearth at Robb Elementary College in Uvalde, a small group about 80km (50 miles) west of San Antonio.
Abbott mentioned the gunman was killed, apparently by law enforcement officials responding to the scene.
“The shooter was … an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde. It’s believed that he deserted his car and entered into the Robb Elementary College in Uvalde with a handgun and he could have additionally had a rifle, however that’s not but confirmed,” the governor mentioned.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital had mentioned on Fb earlier on Tuesday that 13 kids had been transferred there for therapy. It mentioned two individuals had been deceased on arrival.
Gun violence has been an issue throughout the US for many years, drawing condemnation and requires harder restrictions, particularly within the aftermath of mass shootings at schools.
The US reported 19,350 firearm homicides in 2020, up practically 35 % in contrast with 2019, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) mentioned in its latest data.
The nation has seen 212 mass shootings thus far this yr, in response to a tally by the Gun Violence Archive, a US non-profit that defines a mass taking pictures as any incident wherein 4 or extra persons are shot or killed, not together with the attacker.
The taking pictures in Uvalde drew condemnation and sorrow on social media, in addition to renewed requires motion to stem gun violence within the US.
“We stay in a society the place energy completely refuses to guard our kids. What number of extra youngsters must die earlier than energy makes radical modifications to those horrific circumstances?” US creator and professor Ibram X Kendi wrote on Twitter.
“We’re a damaged nation, stuffed with violence. It’s simply sickening to suppose that youngsters who went to high school this morning won’t come again house tonight,” said College of Pennsylvania professor Anthea Butler.
The Uvalde Consolidated Unbiased College District (UCISD) tweeted that “all district and campus actions, after-school applications, and occasions are canceled” following the lethal assault.
In a information convention shared on Fb, UCISD police chief Pete Arredondo mentioned the incident started at roughly 11:32am native time (16:32 GMT) at Robb Elementary College. He mentioned the varsity has college students in grades two, three and 4.
“I can affirm proper now that now we have a number of accidents, adults and college students, and we do have some deaths. The suspect is deceased,” Arredondo mentioned. “At this level, the investigation is main to inform us that the suspect did act alone throughout this heinous crime.”
He added that officers had been notifying affected households.
In the meantime, in Washington, White Home Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned President Joe Biden had been briefed “on the horrific information” in Texas.
“His prayers are with the households impacted by this terrible occasion, and he’ll communicate this night when he arrives again on the White Home,” Jean-Pierre tweeted. Biden had been in Japan and South Korea on his first tour of the area since taking workplace in January of final yr.
His prayers are with the households impacted by this terrible occasion, and he’ll communicate this night when he arrives again on the White Home.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) May 24, 2022
The US president has denounced mass shootings as a “nationwide embarrassment” and promised to enact stricter gun rules. However Biden faces an uphill battle towards gun foyer teams and legislators who’re against extra restrictive gun legal guidelines.
Final month, Biden unveiled a new US Department of Justice rule that he mentioned would crack down on the prevalence of so-called “ghost weapons” – privately-made firearms with out serial numbers that regulation enforcement businesses discover at crime scenes. On the similar time, he urged Congress “to do its job” and go funds allocations and different laws to cut back gun crime.
There have been 61 “lively shooter” incidents within the US in 2021, in response to newly released FBI data – a 52 % improve from the earlier yr and the very best on file.
The varsity taking pictures in Uvalde is the most recent in a string of lethal acts of gun violence over the previous two weeks within the US.
A gunman attacked a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighbourhood of Buffalo, New York, on Might 14, killing 10 individuals in what investigators say was a racist hate crime. In California that very same weekend, a man opened fire on Taiwanese-American church congregants, killing one man.
“Within the final two weeks, at the least 23 individuals have misplaced their lives in mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and now Uvalde, Texas,” Houston mayor Sylvester Turner mentioned in a statement.
“Congress should act, and governors and state legislators should go rasonable gun management laws. The voters should demand it from their representatives. What number of extra kids should lose their lives from mindless gun violence?”
Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, reporting from Los Angeles, mentioned the Uvalde shooter’s motive remained unknown.
“There could also be no why,” Reynolds mentioned. “However we all know that Uvalde is now in the identical grim roll of names as Parkland, Florida, and El Paso and Sutherland Springs, Texas, and so many different cities and cities in america which were ripped aside by gun violence.”