Texas Elementary School Shooting: Latest Updates

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UVALDE, Texas — Texas officials described in chilling detail Wednesday how an 18-year-old gunman shot his grandmother in the face and left her injured in her home, drove a van that crashed at speeding near a nearby elementary school, and exchanged fire with police on the scene who were unable to stop him before he killed 19 children and two teachers in a single-room massacre. classroom.

The shooter remained inside the school for about an hour before a Border Patrol tactical unit shot him multiple times, killing him.

According to preliminary investigative documents described by a state police official, the shooter, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, used an AR-15 type rifle in Tuesday’s killings, and a second similar weapon was left in the truck outside. Mr Ramos bought the two guns in the past week, just after his 18th birthday, the official said.

At a press conference Wednesday, officials did not name a motive or catalyst for the killings. Governor Greg Abbott of Texas said Mr Ramos had no known mental health history, but suggested mental health issues were a big factor in the rise in mass shootings in the United States. At the press conference, Mr. Abbott was confronted by Beto O’Rourke, a former El Paso congressman and political opponent who accused the governor of failing to address rising gun violence.

The chaotic rampage that unfolded in Uvalde, a small town about an hour and a half west of San Antonio, left a community in anguish, devastated by families whose children had been violently slaughtered in the school and reignited a national debate about gun laws and the staggering tally of gun violence in America.

It is the deadliest school shooting since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut 10 years ago.

The shooting began to unfold Tuesday morning when the local Uvalde Police Department received a 911 call around 11:30 a.m. that a truck had crashed into Robb Elementary School and a man in came out carrying a long gun and a backpack. .

At least one armed police officer from the Uvalde School District was at the school. That officer exchanged fire with the shooter, but the shooter managed to get past the officer, the official said, citing initial reports.

The shooter then entered through a south door of the school. Once inside, two officers from the Uvalde Police Department arrived on the scene, engaged the shooter and were immediately greeted with gunfire, the official said. Both were shot.

It appeared that the shooter was contained in a classroom at the time and officers were unable to enter. He remained there until a Border Patrol tactical unit killed the shooter shortly after 1 p.m., the official said, citing state police reports.

Juan Paulo Ybarra Jr. said his younger sister, a 10-year-old student at Robb Elementary School, described what happened in the moments leading up to the massacre.

Mr Ybarra, a 19-year-old high school student from Uvalde Secondary School, said when he and his mother first heard of a possible primary school shooting, they drove frantically to the civic center, where they were told they could find surviving students. After several hours, they were reconnected with his sister.

“We were panicking,” Mr Ybarra said. “I just wanted to talk to my sister.”

As they left together, she began to describe the horrific times the shooter approached the school, he said.

Mr Ybarra said his sister told him her fourth grade class was watching a film when she looked out the classroom window and saw a man outside with a gun. She told him that she had alerted her teacher and soon the class could hear gunshots aimed at nearby windows.

Finally, Mr. Ybarra said, his sister described how she and her classmates jumped out of the window, one by one, and ran to a funeral home across the street, seeking refuge.

All victims of the shooting have been identified, a state police official said. Several other children were injured. Authorities have not released the names or ages of the killed students or the two teachers.

A 66-year-old woman who officials say was the shooter’s grandmother was in serious condition on Wednesday.

University Health, a hospital in San Antonio, said Wednesday that a 10-year-old girl who was brought to the hospital in critical condition after the shooting has improved and is now in serious condition. Two other girls, 9 and 10, were also hospitalized and in good condition.

Acquaintances said the shooter frequently missed classes when he was enrolled in a local high school and had few friends. The state official said he appeared to have dropped out of school and was employed at Wendy’s.

When Jocelyn Rodriguez, 19, a Wendy’s employee, heard Mr Ramos was the shooter, she was initially shocked, but soon her past behavior became clear, she said. She knew he had a bad temper and that he picked on people. He tended to get into fights with taller colleagues, she said. And Ms Rodriguez recalled that he often spoke of how much he despised his mother and grandmother, who he told her he wouldn’t let him smoke weed or do whatever he wanted.

Earlier this month he returned to fighting with colleagues and bragging about quitting his job, saying he no longer needed the money, Ms Rodriguez said. He told her and others that he was going to “act” in a big way and they would all hear about it, she said.

“He wanted to cause trouble,” she said. “He wanted to cause destruction.

Robb Elementary is in a rural area dotted with desert willows and bigtooth maples in Uvalde, a town founded in 1853 near the Mexican border. Census data shows that more than 40% of residents in the neighborhood around the school have lived in the same house for at least 30 years.

Classes were to end on Thursday for the summer. On the school district’s break schedule: after-school programs in tennis and fine arts.

But instead of summer plans, parents faced the unthinkable, waiting for hours for the dreaded confirmation of their children’s fates, with some providing DNA swabs to prove their identity. Sobs could be heard outside the civic center, which served as a makeshift reunification center. Some struggled to get back to their car after receiving the news.

On Wednesday, grieving families spoke of the children who were killed.

One of the victims, Jailah Silguero, 10, was the youngest of four children, “the baby” in the family, said her father, Jacob Silguero, 35.

The day before the shooting, they were watching TV in the living room when she told Mr. Silguero that she did not want to go to school the next day. She seemed to have forgotten about Tuesday morning, he added, saying she got dressed and went to school as usual.

“I can’t believe this happened to my daughter,” he cries. He added: “I’ve always been afraid of losing a child.”

Jackie Cazares and Annabelle Rodriguez were cousins ​​in the same class, said Polly Flores, who was Jackie’s aunt and Annabelle’s great-aunt. Jackie, who had her first communion two weeks ago, was the social.

“She was outgoing, she always had to be the center of attention,” Ms Flores said. “She was my little diva.”

Annabelle, an honor roll student, was calmer. But she and her cousin were close, so close that Annabelle’s homeschooled twin sister “was always jealous,” Ms Flores said. “We are a very close-knit family,” she said. “It’s just devastating.”

Politicians and celebrities across the United States have lamented the violence at Uvalde, a display of grief that has become a depressing and familiar American ritual. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader, has proposed to pave the way for a forced vote on legislation that would strengthen background checks on gun buyers.

“It is not the case with the American people who do not know where their senators are. They know,” he said. “They know this because my fellow Republicans are crystal clear on this issue. Crystal clear. Republicans do not pretend to support sensible gun safety legislation.

Congressional Republicans have blocked such moves after previous mass shootings. One of the fiercest opponents was Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas. On Tuesday, Mr Cruz said the United States had “seen too many of these shootings”, but also that he opposed the idea of ​​restricting Americans’ constitutional rights.

Even before the pandemic, the United States had more guns than citizens. The pace of gun buying has increased over the past two years, as has the toll of gun violence, especially against children. That’s true even in states, like New York, that have relatively strict gun laws: Ten days before Uvalde became a national center of attention, a gunman shot and killed 10 people in a grocery store. from Buffalo.

At the state level, Texas has forged ahead with some of the least restrictive gun laws in the United States. In 2021 — two years after two mass shootings killed more than two dozen people in El Paso, Midland and Odessa — Gov. Greg Abbott signed sweeping legislation that made the state one of the most great at essentially eliminating most restrictions on the ability to carry handguns.

Both Mr. Cruz and Mr. Abbott are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Houston on Friday.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Another Primary School Massacre

What can the experience of some of the parents in Sandy Hook tell us about what now awaits those who have lost children in Uvalde, Texas?

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