A gunman killed 18 elementary school students and a teacher at a South Texas school on Tuesday. The horrific scene unfolded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 80 miles west of San Antonio and about 75 miles from the Mexican border.
The shooting came two days before summer break.
It is the deadliest shooting at an American grade school since the Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012. It comes just 10 days after 10 people were killed in a Buffalo, New York, grocery store. Police arrested an 18-year-old suspect in that case.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) says the shooter was 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a student at Uvalde High School. He was apparently killed by police officers at the scene. Abbott said the suspect was a Uvalde resident and carried a handgun and possibly a rifle into the building.
Police say he acted alone, and they also believe he shot his grandmother before driving to the school.
A 66-year-old woman and 10-year-old girl were listed in critical condition at University Hospital in San Antonio. Two responding officers were wounded but are expected to survive. Media reports cite hospital officials saying that, in addition to the 15 fatalities and two officers, another 11 kids were injured.
Including Tuesday’s mass shooting, there have been at least 30 shootings at K-12 schools in the U.S. this year.
Robb Elementary has an enrollment of nearly 600 students in a heavily Hispanic area. The school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, said the school serves students in the second, third, and fourth grades.
Response from Washington was quick, with Democratic lawmakers largely calling for new gun control measures and Republicans mainly saying they are praying for the families.
Texas has been the site of numerous mass shootings in recent years. In 2017, a shooter killed over two dozen people in a Sunday church service in Sutherland Springs. The next year, a gunman killed 10 at a Houston area high school, and in 2019, a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 23.
As for Robb Elementary, the politicizing and posturing has already begun, even before the victims’ names are released. It is another sad day.