Get all your news in one place
100’s of premium titles. One news app. Zero ads. Just $10 per month.
The Guardian - UK

Biden calls for action on gun laws after 21 killed in Texas school shooting – as it happened

Thank you for following our coverage of the mass shooting at the Robb elementary school in Uvalde. We are closing this live blog now, and starting a new one which will continue the coverage from London and our US offices. Please join me here:

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has described the shooting as “cowardly” as he said the French people shared the shock and grief of the American people.

19 victims were under age 10. Children and teachers were murdered in a cowardly attack in their Texas school. We share the shock and grief of the American people, and the rage of those who are fighting to end the violence.

Irma Garcia named as second teacher to be killed in elementary school shooting – reports

Several media outlets in the US have named Irma Garcia as the second adult victim of the mass shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde.

Her school profile says that she taught at the school for 23 years, and was married with four children. On the school website she says “I am so excited to begin this new school year already” and shares with her pupils that she “loves to BBQ with my husband, listen to music, and take country cruises to Concan.”

According to NBC, her son was told by a friend of his in law enforcement that Garcia had been shielding her students.

Garcia was the co-teacher of fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles, who was earlier confirmed as one of the adults killed in the attack.

Isaac Herzog, the president of Israel, is among the world leaders who have expressed their condolences after the shooting at Robb elementary school. He has posted to his social media channels:

Horrified to hear news of the murderous rampage at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Our hearts are broken. The death of a child is a tragedy beyond measure, let alone the killing of nineteen innocent children and two adults. Israel joins the people of the United States in grief.

Updated

Pope Francis said he was “heartbroken” by the Texas school shooting, and called for greater controls on guns. He said:

I am heartbroken by the massacre at the elementary school in Texas. I pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families It is time to say “enough” to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all make a commitment so that tragedies like this cannot happen again

The crowd in St Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience applauded his appeal, Reuters reports.

Pope Francis delivers his speech this morning in St Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, which included a call for greater gun control
Pope Francis delivers his speech this morning in St Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, which included a call for greater gun control. Photograph: Andrew Medichini/AP

Updated

What we know so far …

It is just gone 3am in Uvalde in Texas. Here is a round-up of what we know so far about the shooting at the Robb elementary school shooting, which has left at least 19 young students and two adults dead:

  • An 18-year-old suspect, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, opened fire in the elementary school, Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, who was briefed by state police, told reporters.
  • The shooting occurred at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, a mostly Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio near the Mexico border, around 11.30am on Tuesday.
  • Fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles has been confirmed as one of the adults killed in the attack. “I’m furious that these shootings continue,” her aunt said in a statement reported by ABC News. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all.”
  • Names of the first student victims are also beginning to emerge. Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia and Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, were confirmed by the Associated Press to have been killed after speaking with members of their families. Amerie Jo Garza, also 10, was identified by family as one of the children killed, according to ABC news. Jose Flores, aged 10, has also been named as a victim by his uncle.
  • Police said the suspect, Ramos, was killed, apparently shot by arriving officers, after he fled that scene. He had crashed his car near the school. The motive was not immediately clear and it is believed he acted alone. Gutierrez said the suspect shot his grandmother at her home in the morning. She is believed to be in critical condition in hospital, Sgt Erick Estrada told CNN’s Don Lemon.
  • The suspected gunman bought two rifles on his 18th birthday, Gutierrez told reporters after he was briefed by Texas Rangers. Two assault-style rifles were reportedly purchased from a store in Uvalde County on his birthday. “That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” Gutierrez said, adding that Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming. “He suggested the kids should watch out,” he said.
  • Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night shortly after returning to the White House from a five-day trip to Asia. The president delivered an emotional speech, calling for “common sense” gun laws and said: “As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”
  • Parents of schoolchildren have had to wait for hours in a parking lot to receive the news that their children are dead after being swabbed for DNA, according to New York Times reporter, Jazmine Ulloa.

Updated

The Washington Post has reported more on the background of the 18-year-old suspect in the Robb elementary school shooting in Uvalde, identified by police as Salvador Ramos. It quotes someone who knew him, a high school classmate called Nadia Reyes. She says:

He posted videos on his Instagram where the cops were there and he’d call his mom a bitch and say she wanted to kick him out. He’d be screaming and talking to his mom really aggressively.

Reyes, who lives locally, said she was part of a group of Uvalde High School school classmates who had visited Robb Elementary School on Monday wearing their graduation gear.

Those kids were so excited to see us in our cap and gown. They’re looking at us like, ‘I’m gonna be there one day.’ It’s surreal, like we’re in a movie. It’s horrible.

Updated

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has added to his earlier words [see here] with a tweet offering condolences to the US.

Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and @POTUS over this tragedy. The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.

Updated

Also offering international condolences to the families of the victims is Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz. He has posted to Twitter:

Terrible news are reaching us this morning from a school in Uvalde, Texas. Our thoughts are with the injured and the bereaved of the victims of this inconceivable massacre for which hardly any words can be found. Our condolence go out to you, @POTUS, and our American friends.

Updated

Writer and economist Paul Krugman has added his voice to those calling for greater action on gun control after the latest school shooting. He said:

In a different time zone, so I woke up to the Uvalde news. As usual, the people making such things possible are demanding that we refrain from politicising the horror. Hell no. Unrestricted access to deadly weapons is a political choice, and we should say it.

Krugman goes on to point out what he sees as the futility of the “good guy with a gun” argument, saying that at the Buffalo shooting there were armed guards.

Updated

Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the Texas school shooting while speaking at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos via video link.

“I would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in the awful shooting in a Texas elementary school,” Zelenskiy said as he addressed an event.

“As far as I know, 21 people were killed, including 19 children. This is terrible, to have victims of shooters in peaceful time,” Reuters reports he added.

Updated

Associated Press has been provided with two photographs of one of the victims that has been identified so far, eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia.

Uziyah Garcia, while on spring break in San Angelo, Texas in March of this year.
Uziyah Garcia, while on spring break in San Angelo, Texas, in March. Photograph: Manny Renfro/AP

The images have been provided by his grandfather Manny Renfro, who earlier told AP that Garcia was “the sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known”.

Uziyah Garcia in March 2022.
Uziyah Garcia in March 2022. Photograph: Manny Renfro/AP

Updated

The president of civil rights organisation the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, has issued a statement imploring lawmakers to act in the wake of another school mass shooting in the US. He said:

There’s no statement. There are no words. I’m shattered for the community and frustrated by the lack of action by the government that should be working for the people. Every time it’s just more thoughts and prayers – the only thing this Congress seems to be able to do successfully. Congress, do your job. Don’t just post a tweet, pass a bill. Kids are dying.

Associated Press reminds us that gun violence bills have stalled in the face of Republican opposition in the Senate in the last year. The House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases, but both languished in the 50-50 Senate where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.

The identity of another of the young victims at the Robb elementary school in Uvalde is being reported by the Washington Post. It has named Jose Flores, aged 10.

His uncle, Christopher Salazar, told the Post: “He was a very happy little boy. He loved both his parents … and loved to laugh and have fun.”

Flores was a baseball fan, and had two brothers and a sister, according to the reports.

Updated

Summary

Nineteen students and two adults were killed in a Texas elementary school shooting on Tuesday.

Here’s everything we know so far:

  • An 18-year-old suspect, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, opened fire in an elementary school in Texas, killing at least 19 students and two adults, Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, who was briefed by state police, told reporters.
  • The shooting occurred at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, a mostly Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio near the Mexico border, around 11.30am on Tuesday.
  • Police said Ramos was killed, apparently shot by arriving officers, after he fled that scene and crashed his car near the school. The motive was not immediately clear and it is believed he acted alone. Gutierrez said the suspect shot his grandmother at her home in the morning. She is believed to be in critical condition in hospital, Sergeant Erick Estrada told CNN’s Don Lemon.
  • The suspected gunman bought two rifles on his 18th birthday, Gutierrez told reporters after he was briefed by Texas Rangers. Two assault-style rifles were reportedly purchased from a store in Uvalde County on his birthday. “That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” Gutierrez said, adding that Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming. “He suggested the kids should watch out,” he said.
  • Fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles has been confirmed as one of the adults killed in the attack. “I’m furious that these shootings continue,” her aunt said in a statement reported by ABC News. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all.”
  • Names of the first student victims are also beginning to emerge. Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia and Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, were confirmed by the Associated Press to have been killed after speaking with members of their families. Amerie Jo Garza, also 10, was identified by family as one of the children killed, according to ABC news.
  • Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night shortly after returning to the White House from a five-day trip to Asia. The president delivered an emotional speech, calling for “common sense” gun laws and said: “It’s time to turn this pain into action.”
  • Parents of schoolchildren have had to wait for hours in a parking lot to receive the news that their children are dead after being swabbed for DNA, according to New York Times reporter, Jazmine Ulloa.
  • Relatives are also turning to social media and waiting in a desperate attempt to find their missing children.
  • The families of people killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting have pleaded for action on gun control in the wake of the killings.
  • NBA coach Steve Kerr gave an emotional pre-game press conference which he devoted to the events in Texas. He singled out politicians for failing to act on gun control in order to hold on to power and noted the recent shooting in Buffalo.

That’s it from me, Samantha Lock, as I hand you over to my colleague.

Updated

First student victims identified

By nightfall in the Texas town of Uvalde, the names of the first student victims had began to emerge.

Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia was identified by his family as one of the children killed in the school shooting attack.

“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Garcia’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, told the Associated Press. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”

Renfro said Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo during spring break.

“We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns. Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good. There were certain plays that I would call that he would remember and he would do it exactly like we practiced.”

Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, Texas, also mourned the death of her cousin, Xavier Javier Lopez.

“He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” she said. “He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.”

Lopez’s cousin earlier told KSAT the local ABC news affiliate, that his mother was with him at the school during an awards ceremony just hours before the shooting, not realising it would be the last time she would see him.

Amerie Jo Garza, also 10, was identified by family as one of the children killed.

Her father, Angel Garza, told ABC News the little girl had just turned 10 on 10 May.

“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” Angel Garza wrote to ABC in a statement. “She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie Jo. Watch over your baby brother for me.”

UK foreign secretary Liz Truss has also shared her horror following Tuesday’s attack.

Horrified by the news of a fatal shooting at a Texan primary school. My thoughts are with the people of Texas and all those affected by this dreadful attack,” Truss tweeted early Wednesday morning.

The 18-year-old suspected gunman bought two rifles on his 18th birthday, a Texas state senator has said.

Democrat Roland Gutierrez said he was told in a briefing by Texas Rangers that Salvador Ramos bought two assault-style rifles from a store in Uvalde County on his birthday.

That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said.

Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two guns he used in the shooting, and they were examining whether he made statements online alluding to the attack in the hours before the assault, a law enforcement official said.

NZ PM speaks of 'pragmatic' gun laws with Stephen Colbert after mosque shooting

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern says her country’s swift change to gun laws following its 2019 mass shooting was a “pragmatic” response, where “we saw something that wasn’t right and we acted on it”.

The prime minister was speaking as her visit to the US coincided with the mass killing of children in Texas.

Ardern appeared on the Stephen Colbert late show, which was filmed shortly after the Uvalde shooting. “When I watch from afar and see events such as this today, it’s not as a politician. I see them just as a mother,” an emotional Ardern said. “I’m so sorry for what has happened here.”

Colbert referred to the wake of the 15 March mosque shootings, where 51 were killed by a white supremacist, saying, “Immediately thereafter the New Zealand parliament took action to remove guns from the streets.” He asked “why New Zealand was able to do that, when we can’t so much as pass universal background checks… how did New Zealanders get that done?”

Ardern said New Zealanders were “a very pragmatic people”.

“We saw something that wasn’t right and we acted on it, and I can only speak to that experience.”

When we saw something like that happen, everyone said never again, and so it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that,” she said. “Now, we have legitimate needs for guns in our country, for things like pest control and to protect our biodiversity - but you don’t need a military-style semi-automatic to do that.”

In the wake of the 2019 shooting, New Zealand banned almost all semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. The law change was passed near-unanimously, with a single dissenting vote. Speaking at the time, Ardern said: “I could not fathom how weapons that could cause such destruction and large-scale death could have been obtained legally in this country.”

Ardern told Colbert New Zealand’s current gun control situation was imperfect, and there was still work to be done.

Updated

Hillcrest Memorial funeral home, which is located across the street from Robb elementary school, has said it will be assisting families for funerals of the shooting victims at no cost.

“Hillcrest will be assisting families with NO COST for funerals for all involved in today’s horrific events. Prayer for our small amazing town,” the company said in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening.

Updated

Basketball star LeBron James has also joined the cohort of celebrities expressing their shock following the Texas school shooting.

Actor Chris Evans simply tweeted:

Updated

Pop singer Taylor Swift has spoken out, describing her “rage and grief” following the attack.

Updated

A nightmarish scene is continuing to play out for many parents who are still waiting outside the family reunification center in Uvalde to receive the news that their children are dead.

Many have been waiting for hours.

According to New York Times reporter, Jazmine Ulloa, parents say they have had to go inside the center for DNA swabs to confirm their relationship to their children and were then told to wait for results.

Families hug each other in a dark parking lot.
A family grieves outside of the civic center which served as the family reunification center after the shooting at Robb elementary school. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

One mother who just received the news that her child was dead said she had been waiting since the early afternoon, according to the publication.

Parents have been clustered around their cars “quietly talking or weeping on a hot, muggy night”, Ulloa said adding that audible sobs continue to ring out across the parking lot as cars slowly clear out.

Updated

As more details continue to pour in, here is a video report compiled by some of our reporters detailing some of the facts we know so far.

Sandy Hook families speak out

The families of people killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting have pleaded for action on gun control in the wake of the killings at Robb elementary school in Texas.

Erica Leslie Lafferty, whose mother was killed in the massacre in Connecticut in 2012, said that it was “beyond time to take action” in the wake of the attack in Uvalde which has left at least 19 children and two adults dead.

“Thoughts and prayers didn’t bring my mother back after she was gunned down in a hallway at Sandy Hook, she said on Twitter. It is beyond time to take action.”

She said she had struggled with PTSD after the massacre. “My heart is with #RobbElementarySchool families, faculty and the community. I’m broken.”

Speaking later on CNN, Lafferty said: “These families in that community are walking into hell and there is definitely a network of people out there who have lived it, who are stepping up to support them … But it’s not going to just go away. Not for the families, not for the community. It’s life-changing. It’s devastating. It’s traumatizing, and every single time it happens, it brings it back like it was yesterday.”

Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse Lewis, 6, died in the shooting in 2012, told the New York Times that he felt defeated. “I guess it’s something in society we know will happen again, over and over.”

Watching the coverage was “almost like an instant replay of Sandy Hook,” he said.

Read our full report below.

The Uvalde Independent School District has confirmed that school will be canceled for the rest of the school year for students and school counselors will be available at all campuses to provide support.

In a statement the school district said:

Our community has experienced a terrible tragedy. We must come together to console one another and respect the privacy of the families. Please keep all families in your prayers.

School has been canceled for the rest of the school year for our students. This includes all extra-curricular activities for Wednesday and Thursday. The Graduation Ceremony will be addressed at a later time.

Uvalde CISD Staff are to report to their campuses tomorrow. School counselors will be available at all campuses to provide counseling support. Surrounding community counselors will be available at the Civic Center tomorrow to assist the Robb students, parents and faculty with counseling support. This is a tragic time in our district, we will come together to begin the healing process.”

Law enforcement officers gather outside of Robb Elementary School following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Law enforcement officers gather outside of Robb Elementary School following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Updated

Relatives are turning to social media and waiting in a desperate attempt to find their missing children.

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside Robb elementary school on Tuesday night as the sun set, waiting for word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres, whose whereabouts remained unknown to family.

Cruz drove to the scene after receiving a tearful and terrifying call from his daughter shortly after the first reports that an 18-year-old gunman had opened fire.

A family holds each other as night falls.
A family grieves outside of civic center following the mass shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

While he waited outside the school Tuesday night, his family was at the hospital and civic center waiting for any potential word on her condition.

Cruz called the waiting the heaviest moment of his life.

“I hope she is alive,” Cruz told the Associated Press. “They are waiting for an update.”

“It’s a shock for me. I also feel for all the other families. This is a small community. Uvalde has always been real friendly. People are real friendly,” he added.

Updated

You can read our story on Steve Kerr’s speech on gun violence here.

Kerr addressed the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, in particular. “I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings. I ask you: are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like. It’s what we do every week.”

Updated

As inquiries continue, Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez said the suspect – identified by the governor as Salvador Ramos – had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, noting that “he suggested the kids should watch out”.

Updated

NBA coach Steve Kerr gave an emotional pre-game press conference which he devoted to the events in Texas. He singled out politicians for failing to act on gun control in order to hold on to power and noted the recent shooting in Buffalo.

The grandmother of the suspected gunman is in a critical condition in hospital, Sergeant Erick Estrada has told CNN’s Don Lemon. Tuesday’s bloodshed began when the suspect shot his grandmother before going to the school, said Chris Olivarez, Texas Department of Public Safety officer, on Fox News.

The home of suspected gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, is cordoned off with police tape on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
The home of suspected gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, is cordoned off with police tape on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

Updated

The latest information on the death toll was provided by Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety. The toll – 19 children and two adults – does not include the gunman.

Considine did not make clear if the toll included the attacker’s grandmother, who officials said was shot before the school attack.

Updated

Authorities are now saying the victim toll now stands at 19 children and two adults, the Associated Press is reporting.

We will have more detail shortly.

Updated

The US Justice Department has released a statement this evening, describing the attack as an act of “unspeakable violence”. Attorney general Merrick B Garland said:

Today, another mass shooting has taken the lives of innocent victims, including elementary school children and their teacher. This act of unspeakable violence has devastated an entire community and shaken our country.

FBI and ATF agents have responded to the scene, and the Justice Department is committed to providing our full support to our law enforcement partners on the ground in Texas and to the Uvalde community.

We join our fellow Americans in mourning this terrible loss and in their resolve to end this senseless violence.”

Updated

Eva Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, has also spoken with KSAT-TV, the local ABC News affiliate in the San Antonio area, and issued the following statement:

My niece, Eva Mireles, approximately 17 yr teacher for UCISD along with another teacher and 18 children lost her lives to a senseless tragic shooting.

I’m furious that these shooting continue, these children are innocent, rifles should not be easily available to all. This is a my hometown a small community of less then 20,000.

I never imagined this would happen to especially to loved ones. not all the facts have been released yet all we can do is pray hard for our country, state, schools and especially the families of all.”

Eva Mireles identified as teacher killed in attack - reports

We are receiving reports that the teacher who was shot and killed has been identified as Eva Mireles, a teacher of 17 years who taught fourth graders at Robb Elementary.

Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, said her niece was was shot and killed by the gunman while trying to protect her students, in a telephone interview with the New York Times.

Delgado said Mireles was in her early 40s, married with one child and was an avid hiker who took pride in teaching, her aunt added.

“She was the fun of the party,” she added.

KSAT-TV, the local ABC News affiliate in the San Antonio area, is also identifying Mireles as the victim in the attack.

The network reports that she worked at Robb Elementary as a fourth grade teacher, instructing pupils between 9-10 years old.

Updated

Texas mass shooting: what we know so far

Hello readers, Guardian reporter Kari Paul here logging off after what has been a very heavy day. Details are still emerging in the mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas this morning. My colleagues in Australia will be with you soon. Here is what we know so far:

  • An 18-year-old man in Texas opened fire in an elementary school, killing at least 19 students and two adults.
  • Earlier in the day, Texas governor Greg Abbott had told reporters at least 14 children and one adult had been killed in the school shooting in the south-west of the state. The death toll was later updated by Roland Gutierrez, a Texas state senator who was briefed by police.
A man hugs a girl outside a school.
Families hug outside the Willie de Leon civic center where grief counseling will be offered after the deadly shooting at neighboring Robb elementary school. Photograph: Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images
  • Few victims have been publicly identified, but one adult has been confirmed as fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles. “I’m furious that these shootings continue,” her aunt said in a statement. “These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all.”
  • Gutierrez offered more harrowing details from the attack: the suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother at her home in the morning and fled the scene by car before wrecking his vehicle outside the elementary school. He ran into the school and began shooting, Gutierrez said.
Two women are emotional as they stand outside.
Robb elementary school students were transported to the civic center in Uvalde, Texas where their parents awaited them. Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters
  • The shooting took place at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, a heavily Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio near the Mexico border. The school serves about 570 children, nearly 90% of them Latino.
  • The school had children who were in second, third and fourth grade, a police spokesperson for the school said.
  • Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night shortly after returning to the White House from a five-day trip to Asia. The president called for “common sense” gun laws and said “it’s time to turn this pain into action”.
  • US Senator Chris Murphy, who came to Congress representing Sandy Hook, begged his colleagues to finally pass legislation addressing the nation’s gun violence problem. “What are we doing?” Murphy said. “I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees to beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
  • Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent school district, said Tuesday that Robb elementary school will be closed and all school activities will be cancelled until further notice. Harrell also said grief counselors would be available starting Wednesday morning. “My heart is broken today,” Harrell said. “We’re a small community and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”

Updated

Trump, Abbott, and Cruz to attend NRA event in Texas later this week

In the wake of another horrific mass shooting, leading Republicans are set to speak at the National Rifle Association’s 2022 annual meeting on 27 May.

Texas governor Greg Abbott, who was the first to announce the shooting on Tuesday, is speaking at the conference. Former president Donald Trump is also scheduled to speak.

US Senator John Cornyn of Texas was also scheduled to attend but canceled due to “an unexpected change in his schedule that occurred before the Uvalde shooting”, according to the Texas Tribune.

The scheduled appearances come as politicians are under increased scrutiny for ties to gun lobbyists. In an emotional speech on Tuesday, president Joe Biden condemned those who stand in the way of “common sense” gun legislation.

“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

President Trump speaks at the annual NRA meeting in Indianapolis in 2019.
President Trump speaks at the annual NRA meeting in Indianapolis in 2019. He is set to speak at an event for the NRA on Friday. Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

The NRA in 2016 spent more than $50m to back Donald Trump and several Republican Senate candidates, according to the Trace, a nonprofit journalism outlet that tracks gun violence issues.

According to data from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Cruz and Cornyn have received $176,274 and $78,945 respectively from the NRA.

Abbott has been directly endorsed by the NRA in the past for his refusal to implement gun control laws. “Governor Abbott is a tireless defender of the right to keep and bear arms,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre said.

Updated

Republicans speak out against gun control in wake of another mass shooting

Senator Ted Cruz and other Republican politicians have spoken in opposition of gun control following the mass shooting in Texas on Tuesday. In a television interview Cruz said “when there is a crime of this kind it almost immediately gets politicized, and some use it to go after second amendment rights of law abiding citizens”, he said, calling such measures “not effective”.

In fact, studies have shown laws like universal background checks and other measures to prevent the distribution of weapons dramatically decreases death from gun violence.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Texas attorney General Ken Paxton also called for more weapons in schools to prevent shootings in the future.

“I’d much rather have law-abiding citizens, armed, trained so that they can respond when something like this happens, because it’s not going to be the last time,” he said.

Critics were quick to point out that the school district where Tuesday’s shooting occurred has its own police force including five officers, none of which “stopped today’s massacre”.

There was also an armed officer employed at Parkland High School in Florida, where another mass shooting occurred in 2018, who failed to stop the attack.

Updated

Obama: ‘It’s long past time for action’

In a series of tweets on Tuesday evening, former president Barack Obama said that “it’s long past time for action” on gun violence in the US. He said he and his wife Michelle “grieve with the families in Uvalde, who are experiencing pain no one should have to bear”.

“We’re also angry for them. Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook – and ten days after Buffalo – our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies,” he said.

Obama was president when a 2012 mass shooting left more than two dozen dead at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut, including 20 young children.

Obama has called that shooting “one of the darkest days” of his eight-year presidency.

Updated

Biden speaks on mass shooting: ‘It’s time to turn this pain into action’

The president has delivered remarks at the White House on today’s mass shooting. Footage of the talk can be found here.

“I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this, again. Another massacre,” he began in an emotional speech.

Biden drew on his own experience with grief, having lost his first wife and young daughter in a car accident in 1972 and an adult son to cancer in 2015.

“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said. “There’s a hollowness in your chest you feel like you’re being sucked into it … you’re never quite the same”

The president took a harsher tone when speaking about the need for “common sense” gun legislation. He spoke of the shooting in Buffalo ten days ago, and lamented that in both incidents an 18-year-old was able to purchase a gun and commit such heinous crimes.

“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

“It is time to turn this pain to the action,” he said. “For every parent, every citizen of this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it’s time to act. It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or blocked the common sense gun laws – we need to let you know that we will not forget.”

Biden’s speech came shortly after he returned to the White House from a multi-day trip to Asia.

Joe Biden stands at a lectern in the White House to address the nation.
Joe Biden speaks to the nation about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Updated

‘One education under desks’: Poet and activist Amanda Gorman shares a poem on Texas shooting

US national youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman shared a poem on Twitter on Tuesday following the news of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

American poet Amanda Gorman reads her commissioned poem “The Hill We Climb” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021.
American poet Amanda Gorman reads her commissioned poem “The Hill We Climb” during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 20, 2021. Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP

“Schools scared to death,” the poem reads. “The truth is, one education under desks, Stooped low from bullets; That plunge when we ask Where our children Shall live & how & if.”

The number of casualties from the shooting has reportedly risen to 21 as of Tuesday evening, including 18 children and three educators. Another woman, the grandmother of the deceased gunman, is in critical condition.

Updated

Biden to share statement on the Texas shooting

Joe Biden will be speaking from the White House momentarily about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Biden has ordered the flag of the US flown at half-staff at the White House and all federal grounds until sunset 28 May. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden had been briefed on the matter and “his prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event”.

He also spoke with Texas governor Greg Abbott to offer assistance in the wake of the massacre.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Updated

Texas state Senator Roland Gutierrez says death toll is now 21 in mass shooting

The death toll in a mass shooting targeting an elementary school on Tuesday has now risen to 21, according to Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez, including 18 children and three adults.

Speaking on CNN, Gutierrez relayed the new numbers as he was told by Texas police officials in a private briefing.

Gutierrez called the event “devastating”.

“I can’t imagine what it would mean to send your child off to school in the morning and not have them return,” he said.

The senator also relayed a number of new details in how Tuesday’s horrific events unfolded. He said the suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother at her home in the morning and fled the scene by car before wrecking his vehicle outside the elementary school.

“He ran into the school and all this carnage proceeded to unfold after that time,” Gutierrez said.

Ramos’ grandmother has been airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio and is in critical condition, he added.

Updated

Texas shooting the latest in a long line of mass violence in the US

The shooting on Tuesday marks just the latest of a seemingly ceaseless series of major mass casualty events in US history.

Just one week ago an 18-year-old man opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York in a racist attack targeted at the predominantly Black neighborhood. He killed ten and injured more.

A motive has not yet been revealed in Tuesday’s mass shooting. In Texas alone there have been eight mass shootings since 2009, including Tuesday’s, according to the Texas Tribune.

In this Dec. 14, 2012 file photo, parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
In this Dec. 14, 2012 file photo, parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Photograph: Jessica Hill/AP

The shooting in Uvalde marks the deadliest school shooting since 2018, when three teachers and 14 students were killed in Parkland, Florida and the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, in which 20 elementary school children and six faculty members were killed.

In 2022 thus far there have been at least 199 mass shootings across the United States, according to NPR, including the most recent two to shake the country.

At least 2,000 people have been killed or injured by mass shootings in the US since 1999, when shooters opened fire at Columbine High School in what was considered then an unprecedented attack.

In 2020, firearms surpassed auto accidents as the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 19 years old.

‘When will this end?’: rage after second mass shooting over failure to tackle gun violence

The second US mass shooting in 10 days, which left 14 young children and a teacher dead at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, led to an outpouring of disbelief and potent rage at America’s persistent failure to tackle its epidemic of gun violence.

Tuesday’s horrifying attack in Uvalde, a small, largely Hispanic community outside San Antonio, came just 10 days after the events in Buffalo, New York. There 10 grocery shoppers, most of them African American, were gunned down in a supermarket.

The horror of two large-scale gun tragedies collided just a few months before the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. That assault in December 2012 took the lives of 20 six- and seven-year-olds as well as six school employees.

Sandy Hook Promise, the advocacy group to end gun violence that was set up by families of the school victims, said on Tuesday that they were “devastated about reports that multiple people are dead, including children [in Texas]. Our hearts are with the families and community as this tragic story unfolds.”

Officers escort a woman down a street near the scene of the shooting.
Officers walk near the scene of a shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters

In a searing speech from the floor of the Senate just hours after the Texas shooting happened, Murphy vented 10 years of pent-up outrage at the lack of action on the part of his congressional colleagues despite the litany of violent gun deaths. “What are we doing?” he asked.

Days after Buffalo, the country faces yet another Sandy Hook, he said. “There are more mass shootings than days in the year. Our kids are living in fear. This happens nowhere else but here in the United States of America and it is a choice, it is our choice to let it continue.”

Read more ...

Updated

Kamala Harris speaks on Texas shooting

At an event Tuesday evening, Vice-president Kamala Harris commented on the Uvalde shooting.

“Our hearts keep getting broken,” she said at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies 20th Annual Awards Gala. “Enough is enough.”

President Joe Biden will make remarks on the mass shooting at the White House on Tuesday evening in about an hour.

“As a nation we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy,” Harris said.

Updated

Lawmakers respond to Texas shooting

As the nation reels from yet another mass shooting on US soil, current and former lawmakers are weighing in with thoughts, prayers and calls for action.

US Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas said in a statement he is in touch with local officials in Uvalde and will continue to monitor the situation.

The shooting at Robb elementary school in Uvalde is every parent and teacher’s worst nightmare. No parent, child, or teacher should ever have to wonder whether it’s safe to go to school.

California governor Gavin Newsom said his own state is an example of the effectiveness of gun control laws.

Commonsense gun safety laws work. In CA, we have cut our gun death rate in half since the 1980’s. We won’t solve this overnight – but let’s stop pretending that these mass shootings are an inevitable horror we have to experience on a regular basis.

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who herself was a victim of a mass shooting in 2011, said she is “horrified” at inaction surrounding gun violence in the US.

How many more children will be killed by guns? How many young lives cut short, families shattered, communities traumatized because our leaders refuse to act on gun violence? Gun violence is a uniquely American problem – and it is now the leading cause of death for American children. I’m devastated that more precious young people have lost their lives in a horrific mass shooting today. I won’t rest until children can go to school without fearing for their lives. Our elected leaders must have the same resolve. Enough is enough.

Former congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Florida said the shooting shows how little has changed since the Majory Stoneman Douglas high school attack in her home state in 2018.

Today, our nation witnessed yet another school shooting, the deadliest school shooting since the 2018 tragedy near my home at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. Tragically, little has changed since then. Our elected leaders have been more interested in listening to the gun lobby than protecting our children – and until that changes, we will continue to see devastating incident after devastating incident. Without real action, our country will more closely resemble the violence I left behind in Ecuador than the safe haven I sought in the United States.

US house of representatives majority leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland called for the passage of bills being blocked by Republicans that would “our schools, houses of worship, malls, entertainment venues, and streets safer from deadly gun violence”.

How many more times must Americans watch innocent children die in mass shootings at elementary schools before we decide as a nation to do something about gun safety? How many more times will we send our thoughts and prayers to parents burying their small children? How many more times will Senate Republicans express outrage at horrific shootings like the one today in Uvalde, Texas and then block meaningful, bipartisan background-check legislation supported by nine out of ten Americans and most responsible gun owners? How many more times?

The House has passed HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, along with Whip Clyburn’s legislation to close the Charleston Loophole and other bills aimed at making our schools, houses of worship, malls, entertainment venues, and streets safer from deadly gun violence.

Senate Republicans continue to block them, even though they have overwhelming support from the American people, who are sick and tired of turning on the news to see images like those we see today of ambulances where there ought to be school buses and tearful first responders where there ought to be beaming teachers. These images are indefensible, as is the news of everyday violence from firearms in communities across America that do not make national headlines.

I will be keeping the families who lost a child in my heart today, as I will the law enforcement and other first responders who have had to answer this difficult call. How many more of them will there be? How many more times must our nation be thrown into such shock and grief?

People sit on the curb outside of Robb elementary school as state troopers guard the area in Uvalde, Texas.
People sit on the curb outside of Robb elementary school as state troopers guard the area in Uvalde, Texas. Photograph: Allison Dinner/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

Activist groups respond to Texas mass shooting event

A coalition of gun control advocacy groups have issued statements of outrage and devastation following the shooting at Robb elementary school, calling school shootings the product of “inaction and cowardice” by lawmakers to pass gun control laws.

  • “A hate-fueled shooting in Buffalo, a school shooting in Texas, and a supreme court on the verge of putting existing gun laws in jeopardy – these are all symptoms of our nation’s profoundly broken approach to guns,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the nation’s largest gun control group.
  • “We are heartbroken for everyone impacted by this senseless act of violence in a predominantly Latinx community,” said Rena Estala, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Students Demand Action. “School is the last place where kids should have to worry about gun violence. We need leaders at every level to prioritize gun safety now.”
  • “We’re devastated by this horrific act of gun violence that will forever traumatize the Uvalde community,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization that is part of Everytown. “School shootings are not acts of nature, they’re man-made acts of inaction, of cowardice, of corruption by all lawmakers who refuse to pass laws proven by data to stop preventable, senseless shootings like in Uvalde. We cannot and will not accept a reality in which our children aren’t safe in schools or their communities.”
A group of officers escort families away from a building.
People leave the Uvalde civic center after a shooting earlier in the day at Robb elementary school left 14 students and one teacher dead. Photograph: William Luther/AP

Updated

White House lowers flag to half-staff following elementary school shooting

The White House on Tuesday has lowered its flag to half-staff to honor the lives of 14 children and one adult killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting.

Biden will address the nation this evening from the White House after returning from his trip to Asia.

The flag flies at half-staff at the White House on Tuesday.
The flag flies at half-staff at the White House on Tuesday. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Updated

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy makes emotional appeal for gun violence reform

Moments after learning that 14 students had been massacred at an elementary school in Texas, Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, delivered an emotional appeal for gun control on the Senate floor.

“What are we doing here?” Murphy asked, tears brimming in his eyes.

Speaking on the Senate floor, Murphy clasped his hands together and begged Republicans to work with his party to pass meaningful gun reform legislation.

“I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees to beg my colleagues: find a path forward here,” he said.

Few senators understand the horror mass shootings inflict on a community quite like Murphy, who spent the hours after the killing at Sandy Hook elementary school consoling families who had lost children and loved ones.

A man wearing a purple tie speaks into a microphone.
Senator Chris Murphy begged Republicans to work with Democrats to pass meaningful gun reform legislation on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

On the floor, he spoke about the lasting trauma these tragedies have on the students, schools and communities. Since that massacre 10 years ago, Murphy has made it his mission to enact gun control reform only to be disappointed again and again as the bills fail to overcome the Senate filibuster.

In his speech on Tuesday, Murphy asked Republicans: “Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, or putting yourself in a position of authority if your answer is that, as this slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing.”

He asked again: “What are we doing?”

Updated

Police officials in Uvalde hold brief press conference

Police officials with the Uvalde Consolidated Independent school district (CISD) where Tuesday’s mass shooting occurred shared more details about the tragedy in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

Pete Arredondo, Uvalde CISD chief of police, confirmed in a public statement that at 11.32 am on Tuesday a shooter opened fire at Robb elementary school, killing and injuring a number of victims.

The gunman was not named in the press conference but has been identified as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old man from Uvalde. He is now dead, Arredondo confirmed, and he said it is believed Ramos acted alone.

Robb elementary school has students in second, third and fourth grades, Arredondo said, and families of victims are now being notified. Law enforcement is working to safely evacuate remaining students in the school district.

“We do want to keep all their families in our prayers,” he said. “I hope you do as well.”

Police officials did not take any questions and said they would provide more details as they emerge.

Updated

Biden has been briefed on the incident

Joe Biden has not yet made a public statement about the mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas today, but White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president has been briefed on the situation and will address the nation from the White House this evening.

“His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event,” she said, adding that he will return from his trip to Asia to address the country tonight.

The speech will reportedly be televised at 8.15 ET, 5.15 PT.

Updated

Texas school shooting: key facts

It is a horrific day for gun violence once again in the US, after an 18-year-old man in Texas opened fire in an elementary school, killing 18 students and three teachers. Here’s what we know.

  • The shooting occurred in Uvalde, Texas, a town of about 15,000 people about 85 miles west of San Antonio in south-west Texas
  • The shooter opened fire at at Robb Elementary school. Its school district, Uvalde school district, has an enrollment of just under 600 students.
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said on Tuesday that the suspected gunman was an 18-year-old man named Salvador Ramos. Abbott said that shooter is “deceased and it is believed responding officers killed him”.
  • The man had a handgun and “may have also had a rifle”, the governor said.
  • Authorities said earlier that 15 people were killed (14 students and 1 teacher), but the death toll later rose to 21, according to a Texas state senator who was briefed by police.
Officers wearing khaki green helmets and vests stand in a group near a sign reading 'School buses only'.
Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb elementary school. Photograph: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP

Updated

Hello readers, Kari Paul here in Oakland to keep you posted on the news in the aftermath of a tragic mass shooting that just occurred in Texas. More updates to come shortly.