By Kevin Zhang
At least 19 children and two faculty members are dead after a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The incident has sparked President Biden to call for lawmakers to act.
The tragedy in Uvalde, a small city around 90 minutes west of San Antonio, follows another deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York and amid a large uptick in mass shootings in the United States.
“When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now. The state of Texas is in mourning with them for the reality that these parents are not going to be able to pick up their children.” empathized Texas Gov. Greg Abbott with the victims of the shooting and their families.
The students killed were primarily third and fourth graders, according to law enforcement officials. Among them was Amerie jo Garza, who had just celebrated her 10th birthday two weeks prior, according to her father, Angel.
“My little love is now flying high with the angels above,” he wrote. “Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo.”
The 18-year-old suspect, Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School, is also dead, said Abbott, adding that Ramos “shot and killed horrifically and incomprehensibly.”
Sources said that the gunman first shot his grandmother at a separate scene. Authorities initially proclaimed the grandmother dead but later reported she was in critical condition.
He then crashed his car outside of the school and emerged with an AR-15-style rifle.
Sources also say he legally purchased two AR-style rifles – one on May 17, a day after his 18th birthday, and one on May 20, four days before the shooting.
The suspect was engaged outside the building by a Uvalde Independent School District police officer, who was shot by the suspect. The suspect then barricaded himself in a classroom and opened fire.
The suspect was killed trading gunfire with police and Border Patrol units at the scene. Investigators are going through ballistics to determine who fired the shot that killed the suspect.