A gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Texas killing 14 children and a teacher.
The lone gunman, named as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was shot dead by police officers.
He is believed to have brought a handgun and possibly a rifle to Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas, before opening fire on terrified children and staff at around midday local time.
It was the deadliest shooting at a US grade school since the shocking attack in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott told reporters the shooter was Salvador Ramos (18) who resided in Uvalde. He said the gunman had reportedly shot his grandmother before going to the elementary school.
“It’s believed he abandoned his vehicle and entered into the Robb Elementary School with a handgun, and he may also have had a rifle, but that is not yet confirmed according to my most recent report,” Governor Abbott said.
“He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher. Mr Ramos, the shooter, is himself deceased and it’s believed that responding officers killed him.”
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police Pete Arredondo said at a news conference that the gunman acted alone.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital said in a statement just before 4pm that a total of 13 students had been transported to its emergency room in ambulances and buses. Two were pronounced dead on arrival.
A second hospital, University Health in San Antonio, said it received two patients from the shooting - one child and one adult. Both patients, a 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman were said to be in a critical condition.
It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were injured in the shooting.
Robb Elementary alerted parents to the presence of an active shooter at the school at 11.43am on Tuesday.
“Please know at this time Robb Elementary is under a Lockdown Status due to gunshots in the area,” school official Anne Marie Espinoza said in a post to the school’s Facebook page.
“The students and staff are safe in the building. The building is secure in a Lockdown Status. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus.”
Ms Espinoza provided an update at around 1.15pm to say the school was still in lockdown due to “gunshots in the area”.
Children were later taken to the Willie DeLeon Civic Center to be reunited with their parents once they had been accounted for.
Robb Elementary School has an enrolment of just under 600 students, and Mr Arredondo said it serves children in the second, third and fourth grade (typically aged between seven and 11-years-old). He did not provide ages of the children who were shot.
A heavy police presence surrounded the school on Tuesday afternoon, with officers in heavy vests diverting traffic and FBI agents coming and going from the building.
It was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and occurred four years after a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area.
Statistics released by the FBI on Monday showed school shootings in the US skyrocketed in 2021 compared to the previous year.
There were 61 active shooter incidents in the last calendar year, up by more than 50pc from 2020, the FBI said in a new report.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut delivered an emotional call to action on the Senate floor following the school shooting in Uvalde.
Mr Murphy, who has repeatedly pushed for legislative action following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, said: “This only happens in this country, and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking they might be shot that day.
“Our kids are living in fear every single time they set foot in a classroom because they think they’re going to be next. What are we doing? Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job - of putting yourself in a position of authority – if your answer is that as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing.”
Former presidential candidate and First Lady Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter: "Thoughts and prayers are not enough.
"After years of nothing else, we are becoming a nation of anguished screams. We simply need legislators willing to stop the scourge of gun violence in America that is murdering our children," she added.
The shooting in Texas came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 black shoppers and workers in what officials have described as a hate crime.
Uvalde is home to about 16,000 people and is the seat of government for Uvalde County. The town is about 75 miles from the border with Mexico and 80 miles west of San Antonio.
More to follow..