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Gunman kills 19 children, 2 teachers in Texas school rampage – Press Telegram

By ACACIA CORONADO and JIM VERTUNO

UVALDE, Texas (AP) – The 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school has entrenched himself in a single classroom and “started firing on anyone who gets in his way,” authorities said Wednesday detailing the latest mass murder to shake up the US

Law enforcement officers eventually entered the classroom and killed the gunman. Police and others who responded to Tuesday’s attack also broke school windows to allow students and teachers to escape, Texas Department of Homeland Security Lt. Christopher Olivarez said Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” program.

Olivarez told CNN that all the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary.

The killer “slammed shut the door and only started firing at the children and teachers who were inside that classroom,” he said. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.”

Investigators did not immediately reveal the motive, but identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a neighbor of the community about 135 miles west of San Antonio. Olivarez said investigators were working with the FBI and looking at social media to see if there were “red flags” before the shooting.

Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could arrive, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he was informed by state police. He said the gunman “suggested the children be careful” and that he had bought two “assault weapons” after turning 18.

Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two weapons he used in the shooting.

The attack in the heavily Latin city of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at an American school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Families waited for hours to receive the news from their children. In the civic center of the city where some gathered on Tuesday night, the silence was repeatedly broken by screams and lamentations. “No! Please don’t!” shouted one man as he hugged another.

“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district’s superintendent. “We are a small community and we will need your prayers to overcome this.”

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air-conditioning repairman, was still out of school when the sun went down, looking for news of his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Eliajha Cruz Torres.

He drove to the scene after receiving an alarming call from his daughter about the first news of the shooting. Waiting, he said, was the hardest moment of his life.

“I hope she’s alive,” Cruz said.

On Wednesday morning, volunteers were seen arriving at the community center with Bibles and therapy dogs.

The attack was the latest in a seemingly endless series of mass killings in churches, schools, stores and elsewhere in the United States. Just 10 days earlier, 10 blacks were shot dead in a racist riot at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

In a grim speech to the nation hours after the bloodshed in Uvalde, President Joe Biden called for new arms restrictions.

“As a nation we have to ask ourselves: when, in the name of God, are we going to face the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what needs to be done? “Biden asked.” Why are we willing to live with this carnage? “

But the prospects for any reform of the nation’s arms regulations seemed slim. Repeated attempts over the years to expand background checks and enact other gun restrictions have met with Republican resistance in Congress.

Prior to the attack, Ramos shot and injured his grandmother, then fled the scene, crashed his car into the school and entered, according to authorities.

Olivarez said the gunman “just started firing at numerous children and teachers who were in that classroom, regardless of human life. … I just started firing at anyone in his path. “

He said a tactical team stormed into the classroom and “they also came across shots, but they were able to shoot and kill that suspect.”

Earlier, a law enforcement official said a Border Patrol officer who was working nearby when the shooting started rushed into the school without waiting for a backup and shot and killed the gunman. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about it.

The officer was injured, but was able to leave the school, according to the person in charge of the order.

Jason Owens, a senior regional Border Patrol official, said some area officers have children at Robb Elementary.

“It was home for everyone,” he said.

Scrub staff members and relatives of the devastated victims could be seen crying as they left Uvalde Memorial Hospital, which said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported that a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 second-, third- and fourth-grade students, is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

The attack took place when the school had until the last days of the school year a series of thematic days. Tuesday was going to be “Footloose and Fancy,” with students in pretty clothes.

Law enforcement officers who investigated the bloodshed began to comply with search warrants and to collect telephone and other records. They also sought to contact Ramos’ relatives and trace the weapons.

Condolences from leaders around the world. Pope Francis said it was time to say “enough is enough” for the indiscriminate arms trade. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his nation also knows “the pain of losing the lives of innocent young people.”

Texas, which has some of the most pro-gun laws in the nation, has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the United States in five years.

In 2018, a gunman killed 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year earlier, a gunman had killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, a gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanics.

The shooting occurred days before the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston began. Governor Greg. Abbott and the two U.S. senators from Texas were among the elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday-led leadership forum sponsored by the NRA lobby arm.

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This story was first published on May 24, 2022. It has been corrected to reflect that status. Senator Roland Gutierrez said the gunman shot his grandmother before she went to school; he did not say the gunman killed his grandmother. It has also been updated to correct the spelling of the 10-year-old great-granddaughter’s name.

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Eugene García and Dario Lopez-Mills in Uvalde, Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin, Juan Lozano in Houston, Gene Johnson in Seattle and Rhonda Shafner in Nova contributed. York. this report.

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Learn more about school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/school-shootings

Gunman kills 19 children, 2 teachers in Texas school rampage – Press Telegram Source link Gunman kills 19 children, 2 teachers in Texas school rampage – Press Telegram

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