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The Guardian - US

Texas school shooting: gunman was inside for 40 minutes, officials say – updates as they happened

Summary

It is the early hours of Thursday morning in Uvalde, where residents are still reeling after Tuesday’s school shooting.

Here are the latest developments and what we know so far:

  • The young victims have now been identified. A law enforcement official said all victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at the Robb Elementary School.
  • The 18-year-old gunman charged into one classroom where he barricaded himself by locking the door, forcing a staff member to open the room with a key after Border Patrol agents struggled to breach the classroom door, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press. Earlier, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety told CNN the gunman “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom”.
  • About “40 minutes or so” elapsed from when the gunman opened fire on the school security officer and when the Border Patrol team shot him, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said.
  • Onlookers reportedly urged police officers to charge into the school. Juan Carranza, 24, who saw the scene unfold from outside his house across the street, told the Associated Press he felt arriving officers should have entered the school sooner. Javier Cazares, whose daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, said he raced to the school and arrived while police were still massed outside the building. “Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he recalled. “More could have been done.”
  • However, US Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz said agents “didn’t hesitate” when responding to the shooting. “They didn’t hesitate. They came up with a plan. They entered that classroom and they took care of the situation as quickly as they possibly could,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
  • More than 100 federal officers responded to Uvalde school shooting, Ortiz added. “When it was all said and done, we had over 80 officers immediately on the scene, and then right after that, 150 or so officers converged on this area,” he told CNN. Those officers came from several divisions, including the Border Patrol, Air and Marine Operations and Homeland Security Investigations.
  • Before attacking the school, the gunman shot and wounded his grandmother at her home. Neighbours called police when she staggered outside and they saw she had been shot in the face, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine said.
  • The gunman sent three online messages in the half-hour before the mass shooting, according to the governor of Texas, Greg Abbot. In the first message, he wrote that he was going to shoot his grandmother. The second message reportedly confirmed that he had shot her and in the last note, sent about 15 minutes before he reached Robb Elementary, he said he was going to shoot up an elementary school.
  • The private, one-to-one messages were sent via Facebook, and were “discovered after the terrible tragedy,” company spokesman Andy Stone said. He said Facebook is cooperating with investigators.
  • The gunman had legally bought the rifle and a second one like it last week, just after his birthday, authorities said.
  • Investigators have so far shed no light on the motive for the attack.
  • Community members attended a prayer vigil Wednesday evening at the Uvalde County Fairplex Arena.
  • Authorities in Texas have called for more armed officers and armed teachers in schools, though Republican leaders have doubled down on their opposition to gun control.
  • The National Rifle Association released a statement describing the shooting as “the act of a lone, deranged criminal” and pledged to “redouble our commitment to make our schools secure”. The group will gather in Houston for its first annual meeting in three years this weekend.
  • US president Joe Biden said he is “sick and tired” of continued mass shootings in the US and access to military-style weapons for youth. “When in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, not completely stop, but fundamentally change the amount of carnage that goes on in this country.” he said. “To state the obvious, I’m sick and tired, I’m just sick and tired of what is going on, what continues to go on.”

Thank you for joining us for today’s live coverage.

Updated

Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil held on Wednesday night at the Uvalde County Fairplex, a community arena, for the victims of the school shooting.

“Amazing Grace” was played during the vigil as members of the community wept and hugged.

People mourn during a community gathering at the Uvadle County Fairplex.
People mourn during a community gathering at the Uvadle County Fairplex. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA
Families stand together at a vigil for the victims in the mass shooting at Rob Elementary School.
Families stand together at a vigil for the victims in the mass shooting at Rob Elementary School. Photograph: Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco hugs Texas Governor Greg Abbott as they attend a vigil for the victims.
Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco hugs Texas Governor Greg Abbott as they attend a vigil for the victims. Photograph: Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images
A woman clutches a piece of paper in anguish.
A woman clutches a piece of paper in anguish. Photograph: Marco Bello/Reuters

The nearby Donna Independent School District has just released a statement saying it has “received a credible threat of violence that is currently under investigation.”

“In light of recent events and in an abundance of caution, we will be be canceling school district-wide and staff will work from home,” the statement reads.

The town of Donna is about 300miles south-east of Uvalde.

Actor Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, Texas, has called on Americans to act now to control an “epidemic” of mass shootings.

“Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us,” McConaughey posted on his Instagram account. “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”

The actor did not describe any specific laws or policies he wants adopted and did not mention gun control.

As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it’s time we re-evaluate,” he wrote.

We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground.

This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better.”

The US State Department has said the school shooting in Texas and other mass casualty incidents are hurting America’s reputation abroad.

Spokesman Ned Price said Wednesday incidents like these not only cause damage to the US global reputation but also upset and confuse friends and allies who don’t understand how they can continue to happen.

The fact is that what happens in this country is magnified on the world stage,” Price told reporters.

And countries around the world, people around the world, are going to fixate on what transpires here — oftentimes out of envy, but again that’s when we’re at our best.”

Price said the shootings “will have implications for our standing” and the US diplomats posted around the world are “very mindful of that.”

Agents “didn’t hesitate” when responding to the shooting, US Border Patrol chief Raul Ortiz has said.

Ortiz said dozens of on-duty and off-duty agents responded to the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, adding that as soon as officers arrived, “they didn’t hesitate.”

“We responded from various locations. I had both on-duty, off-duty, folks that were in a training environment all responded to this location,” Ortiz said, adding between 80-100 officers responded.

They didn’t hesitate. They came up with a plan. They entered that classroom and they took care of the situation as quickly as they possibly could,” Ortiz told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Among those who responded were members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit, or BORTAC, which is a specialised unit made up of highly trained officers that respond to “emergent and high-risk incidents,” according to the agency.

“Nothing prepares you for a scene like they saw and witnessed yesterday,” Ortiz added.

The name of another young victim has just been confirmed after family members spoke to the Washington Post.

Tess Marie Mata, 10, was also shot inside the Robb elementary school on Tuesday.

Her sister, Faith Mata, a college student at Texas State University, told the Post that Tess, a fourth-grader, loved TikTok dances, Ariana Grande and the Houston Astros.

The 10-year-old was currently saving money so that the whole family could go to Disney World, Mata said.

“My precious angel you are loved so deeply. In my eyes you are not a victim but a survivor. I love you always and past forever baby sister, may your wings soar higher then you could ever dream,” Mata posted on Twitter.

Gunman barricaded himself in classroom and locked the door, forcing officials to use key

We are receiving a little more information on what occurred when the gunman entered the Robb elementary school on Tuesday.

After entering the building, the 18-year-old is believed to have charged into one classroom where he “barricaded himself by locking the door” , a law enforcement official has said.

[He] barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Department of Public Safety told CNN.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the Associated Press that Border Patrol agents had trouble breaching the classroom door and had to get a staff member to open the room with a key. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.

Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said “40 minutes or so” elapsed from when Ramos opened fire on the school security officer and when the SWAT-like Border Patrol team shot him.

All those killed were in the same classroom, Lt. Christopher Olivarez added.

Updated

Photos have emerged of Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco crying during a community gathering at the Uvadle County Fairplex on Wednesday.

The sheriff was comforted by US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco cries during a community gathering on Wednesday.
Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco cries during a community gathering on Wednesday. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA
Nolasco is comforted by US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the Uvadle County Fairplex.
Nolasco is comforted by US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas at the Uvadle County Fairplex. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

Onlookers urged police to charge into the school - reports

Onlookers reportedly urged police officers to charge into the Robb elementary school where a gunman’s rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, a witness has told the Associated Press.

Investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.

“Go in there! Go in there!” nearby women shouted at the officers soon after the attack began, said Juan Carranza, 24, who saw the scene from outside his house, across the street from Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde. Carranza said the officers did not go in.

Carranza told the news agency he felt the officers should have entered the school sooner.

“There were more of them, there was just one of him,” he added.

Javier Cazares, whose fourth grade daughter, Jacklyn Cazares, was killed in the attack, said he raced to the school when he heard about the shooting, arriving while police were still massed outside the building.

Upset that police were not moving in, he raised the idea of charging into the school with several other bystanders.

Let’s just rush in because the cops aren’t doing anything like they are supposed to,” he said.

More could have been done ... They were unprepared.”

Updated

A student has been arrested by police in Richardson, Texas, responding to reports of a male approaching a high school with a firearm on Wednesday morning.

Officers were sent to Berkner High School and found the suspect inside the school but unarmed.

They later found “what appeared to be an AK-47 style pistol and a replica AR-15 style Orbeez rifle” in the suspect’s vehicle.

The suspect was arrested and charged with unlawfully carrying weapons in a school zone.

The school is 350 miles (560km) away from Uvalde, where Tuesday’s mass shooting happened.

There is no indication of any connection between the two incidents.

Updated

Summary

A summary of some recent developments and reporting:

Gunman was inside school for roughly 40 minutes before he was killed, official says

The gunman was inside the school for roughly 40 minutes or possibly longer before he was killed, the Texas department of public safety director, Steven McCraw told CNN at a news briefing, though there are several unanswered questions about the timeline and sequence of events.

McCraw said, “I don’t want to give you a particular timeline. But the bottom line is that law enforcement was there. They did engage immediately. They did contain him in the classroom.” He said the gunman was killed “within, like, 40 minutes, [within] an hour”, CNN reported.

There have been conflicting reports about what happened before the 18-year-old shooter entered the building and how law enforcement outside tried to “engage” and stop him. One Texas public safety spokesperson initially told the AP that the gunman exchanged fire with a school officer and fired on two officers outside, but later said it was unclear whether the officers had fired at the gunman. An official earlier also told the New York Times that there was an exchange of fire.

A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation also told the AP that Border Patrol officers had difficulty breaching the classroom door and needed to get a staff member to open the room with a key. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.

Updated

Victims' families speak out

More victims’ families are speaking out about the losses of their loved ones in the Robb elementary school massacre.

Relatives of 10-year-old Eliahana Cruz Torres confirmed her death, with her grandfather telling ABC News “she was a beautiful young girl with a lot of energy”. Eliahna’s aunt, Siria Arizmendi, a fifth-grade teacher at Flores elementary school in the same district, told the AP: “She was very happy and very outgoing. She loved to dance and play sports. She was big into family, enjoyed being with the family.”

Eliahana ‘Elijah Cruz’ Torres
Eliahana ‘Elijah Cruz’ Torres Photograph: Facebook

Jailah Nicole Silguero’s mother confirmed her daughter’s death in a Facebook post, writing, “Why why why my baby … Fly high baby grandma n grandpa are with their arms wide open for baby … We’re going to miss you so much my wera Chula my lil side kick,” referring to her daughter as a “pretty blondie” in Spanish.

Jailah Nicole Silguero
Jailah Nicole Silguero Photograph: Family photo

The mother of Xavier Lopez, 10, told the Washington Post that she watched him receive an honor roll certificate just hours before the killing. “He was funny, never serious and his smile,” Felicha Martinez said. “That smile I will never forget. It would always cheer anyone up.”

Xavier Lopez
Xavier Lopez Photograph: Handout

More stories here:

Updated

A Robb elementary fourth grader who was not shot during the massacre expressed disbelief about why the school was attacked, her aunt told the AP.

Lorena Auguste was substitute teaching at Uvalde High School when she heard about the shooting. She began frantically texting her niece, a fourth-grader at Robb Elementary, until Auguste heard from her sister that the child was OK.

Auguste said her niece asked her that night, “Tia, why did they do this to us? We’re good kids, we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Updated

The gunman dropped a bag of ammunition outside the school before he entered, Sgt Erick Estrada of the Texas department of public safety told CNN. The 18-year-old shooter dropped the bag after a school resource officer outside “engaged” him, Estrada said, according to CNN.

Inside that bag was actually more ammunition. He actually dropped that ammunition and ran inside the school where he barricaded himself inside one of the classrooms and unfortunately, that is where he started conducting his business of shooting innocent children, shooting the two innocent adults that were inside that classroom.”

Some Republicans in Texas and across the country have responded to the tragedy by arguing that schools need armed teachers and more officers. But there have been multiple high-profile shootings in which armed individuals failed to prevent the carnage, including the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland, Florida. A 2019 report from the Trace news site noted that armed guards also failed to stop shooters in a Kentucky high school, a Maryland high school, and Santa Fe, Texas, high school.

Officials have said that two Uvalde police officers and a school resource officer fired at the gunman, but were unable to stop him from entering the building where he killed 19 children and two adults.

Updated

Most Americans support stronger gun laws, poll finds

Most US residents support stronger gun laws, but are not confident that lawmakers will take action in the wake of the Texas tragedy, Reuters reports.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted after the Texas school massacre found that:

  • Out of 940 respondents, 84% said they supported background checks for all firearm sales.
  • Seventy percent said they backed “red flag” laws, which allow authorities to confiscate guns from people considered a threat.
  • Seventy-two percent said they would support raising the minimum age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21.
  • Most said they do not believe Congress will act, with only 35% saying they were “confident that US lawmakers would strengthen gun laws this year”, compared to 49% who said they were not confident.

The Uvalde tragedy was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and the worst in the US since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012. After that mass shooting in Connecticut left 20 children dead, there was a push to pass meaningful gun safety reform, but it ultimately fell apart in the Republican-controlled Senate.

More from the Republican reactions today:

Updated

The messages that the gunman posted on Facebook prior to the attack were private, according to a Facebook spokesperson.

Andy Stone told the AP that the 18-year-old shooter’s communications on the platform were “private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy”. Earlier today, the governor, Greg Abbott, said the shooter sent three social media messages – saying he was going to shoot his grandmother, saying he had shot her and then saying he was going to shoot an elementary school.

Tributes to the victims

More tributes are pouring in for the victims of the shooting, who were mostly 10-year-olds in the same fourth-grade classroom. Here are some of them.

Rogelio Torres, 10: Torres has been identified by his family as one of the victims. “Thank you for the prayers and for trying to help find my cousin, it breaks my heart to say my [Rogelio] is now with the angels. I’ll forever miss you and love you my angel,” his cousin wrote on Twitter.

Rojelio Torres portrait
Rojelio Torres. Photograph: Twitter

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10: Family members have identified Rodriguez as one of the victims. Her cousin was in the same classroom as her and was also shot and killed.

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez portrait
Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez. Photograph: Twitter

Nevaeh Bravo: Nevaeh Bravo’s cousin Emily Grace Ayala confirmed Bravo’s death on Facebook, writing, “Thank you everyone for the prayers, our Nevaeh has been found! She is flying with the angels above. We love you Nevaeh very much princess! Please everyone continue to keep her parents and our family in your prayers.”

Nevaeh Bravo
Nevaeh Bravo Photograph: Facebook

More here:

Updated

Here’s footage of Beto O’Rourke publicly confronting Texas’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, at a press conference earlier today:

The Democratic candidate for governor said:

You are doing nothing. You are all doing nothing ... This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything ... This is on you.

More here:

AR rifle manufacturer faces backlash

Hi all - Sam Levin in Los Angeles here, taking over our live coverage.

Authorities say that the gun the shooter used was made by the manufacturer, Daniel Defense, and modeled after the US military’s go-to rifle, the AP reports:

The Daniel Defense rifle can be classified as an AR-15 type. A key difference between the Daniel Defense rifle and the military version is that the military weapon can switch to fully automatic or fire a three-round burst depending on the model.

AR-15-type rifles can be purchased for as little as $400, but the Daniel Defense rifle is on the high-end of around $2,000 or more. These rifles can also be financed, with customers paying less than $100 a month.

Photos of the shooter’s guns suggest he also had purchased a battery-powered holographic sight, which allows a shooter to hit targets more quickly, the AP reported. The gunman legally purchased two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition last week after his 18th birthday, officials say.

USA Today reported that Daniel Defense could face years of costly litigation following the shooting, and that the company has ties to military production. The paper noted that Daniel Defense’s name no longer appeared on the list of exhibitors scheduled for the NRA’s annual conference in Texas this week, and a company spokesman told USA Today: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and community devastated by this evil act.”

Updated

Interim summary

It’s a very busy news day concerning the school shooting in Texas and we’ll continue to keep you up to date.

The New York team is handing over to our west coast team now and my colleague Sam Levin will take you through forthcoming news.

Here’s where things stand:

  • Joe Biden says he is “sick and tired” of continued mass shootings in the US and access to military-style weapons for youth.
  • Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke confronted Republican governor Greg Abbott at a press conference earlier and shouted that he was “doing nothing” to curb gun violence.
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott said at a press conference that the shooter who killed 21 at the elementary school in Uvalde on Tuesday posted on Facebook three times before his attack.
  • US Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor that he will not be bringing any gun legislation to a vote in the immediate future, saying he knows that the bills will not pass due to Republican opposition.

The retired police officer who was shot and killed while trying to stop the gunman in the racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 was awarded the department’s medal of honor at his funeral on Wednesday, as the country processed another massacre at Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two adults, the Associated Press reports.

Family members look on during the funeral service for retired Buffalo Police officer Aaron Salter, Jr.
Family members look on during the funeral service for retired Buffalo Police officer Aaron Salter, Jr. Photograph: Reuters

Buffalo police commissioner Joseph Gramaglia also posthumously promoted Aaron Salter to lieutenant, saying his actions — firing multiple times at the shooter, striking his body armor — bought precious time that allowed others in the store to escape.

“Aaron bravely fought evil that day,” Gramaglia said at The Chapel in Getzville, where law enforcement officers from US and Canadian departments Buffalo being on the US northern border] filled a dozen rows.

Services were also held for Pearl Young, a 77-year-old grandmother, great-grandmother and substitute teacher who was devoted to her church.

Salter and Young were among the 10 Black people killed when a white gunman wearing body armor and a helmet-mounted camera targeted shoppers and workers at Tops Friendly Market, in a predominantly Black neighborhood, on a Saturday afternoon. Three others were injured in the attack, which federal authorities are investigating as a hate crime.

The 18-year-old suspect has been charged with murder and is being held without bail. The gunman in Uvalde, Texas, was also 18 and was shot dead by law enforcement.

Salter, 55, of Lockport, was working as a security guard at the store in his retirement, a natural move for the community-minded officer with a loud laugh that “would shock your senses” and who chewed bubble gum just as loudly, said retired deputy police commissioner Kimberly Beaty, who worked with Salter.

Aaron didn’t come to work to be entertainment, he came to do his job, but we enjoyed watching him do it.”

Salter retired from the department in 2018 after nearly 30 years. At least one of his bullets struck the suspect’s armor-plated vest but didn’t pierce it, police said.

The Buffalo shooting killed 10 Black people from the neighborhood.

How far government can go in controlling access to firearms has been one of the most divisive issues in the United States, Reuters writes.

It pits those who say restricting the availability of guns will save lives against those who maintain that guns themselves are not the root cause of mass shootings and that the right to bear arms is protected by the US Constitution.

US president Joe Biden urged the US Senate to quickly confirm Steven Dettelbach, his nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), whose mission includes enforcing US gun laws.

Dettelbach appeared at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

Joe Biden sought to reform federal and local policing with a broad executive order on Wednesday, the second anniversary of the death of George Floyd, while goading a seemingly immovable Congress to act on police and gun reform, Reuters writes.

The order directs all federal agencies to revise their use-of-force policies, creates a national registry of officers fired for misconduct and will use grants to encourage state and local police to restrict the use of chokeholds and neck restraints.

It’s a measure of what we can do together to heal the very soul of this nation, to address the profound fear trauma, exhaustion particularly Black Americans have experienced for generations,” the US president said.

He had not signed it earlier, he said, because he was hoping Congress would pass a police reform law named after Floyd. The bill collapsed in the US Senate last September under Republican opposition.

The White House police order restricts the use of no-knock entries to a limited set of circumstances, such as when an announced entry would pose an imminent threat of physical violence.

"Sick and tired of what's going on" - Biden on mass shootings

Joe Biden is speaking at the White House about gun safety, around 24 hours after the appalling shooting at the elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The US president noted that since he spoke at the White House last night, shortly after he arrived back from his trip to Asia, the death toll in the shooting had risen - now standing at 19 children and two teachers.

US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) applauds as US President Joe Biden speaks prior to a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2022. - Biden is expected to sign an Executive Order to advance policing and strengthen public safety. Prior to that, he spoke of the school shooting in Uvalde, Tx.
US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) applauds as US President Joe Biden speaks prior to a signing ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2022. - Biden is expected to sign an Executive Order to advance policing and strengthen public safety. Prior to that, he spoke of the school shooting in Uvalde, Tx. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

“I’m sick and tired of what is going on,” Biden said of the latest mass murder, just nine days after another 18-year-old opened fire on members of the public in the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in a racist attack that killed 10 Black people.

Biden visited Buffalo after the shooting there and announced moments ago that he and first lady Jill Biden would travel to Uvalde “in the coming days” to offer what comfort they can to “a community in shock and grief and trauma.”

“As a nation I think we all must be there for them, everyone,” he said. “And we must ask, when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, not completely stop, but fundamentally change the amount of carnage that goes on in this country. To state the obvious, I’m sick and tired, I’m just sick and tired of what is going on, what continues to go on,” he added.

Biden said he had spent his career, as chairman of the judiciary committee when he was in the US Senate “and as vice president working for common sense gun reforms.”

He said certain such reforms would have a significant impact on the number of deaths across the US but would “have no negative impact on the second amendment”, the long and fiercely-debated US constitutional right to “bear arms”.

“The second amendment is not absolute, when it was passed you [1789] couldn’t own a cannon, you couldn’t own certain types weapons, there have always been limitations. These actions we have taken before have saved lives and they can do it again.

“The idea that an 18-year-old can walk into a store and buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is just wrong,” he said.

The alleged shooters in both the Buffalo and Uvalde killings were 18-year-olds who used US military-style assault rifles, readily available in gun stores. The suspect in the Buffalo killings is in custody, charged with murder. The suspect in Uvalde was shot dead by law enforcement inside the classroom of the elementary school where he was firing at children and their teachers.

“It just violates common sense, even the manufacture of them, of that weapon,” he said.

“You know, where is the backbone? Where is your courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby,” he said.

Presumably, the president is referring to the US Congress, where Republicans repeatedly block legislation mandating greater gun controls (and many bills that Biden wants to advance in other areas have been held up by the fact that he has no more than a wafer-thin majority in that chamber, not enough to overcome the filibuster that requires 60 votes to pass most legislation_.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are holding an event at the White House to talk about policing, on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white police officer. But of course the school mass shooting is very present and vice-president Kamala Harris is talking first before she introduces the president. She echoed Biden’s remarks last night, saying: “We must have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws.”

“We must work together to create an America where everyone feels safe in their communituy, where children feel safe in their schools,” Harris said.

Now she has turned to the issue of police killings, addressing herself to the public but also the families of not just George Floyd who are at the White House today, but also Breonna Taylor, who was killed by police gunfire in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 May 2020, just days before Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks before President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks before President Joe Biden signs an executive order in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Updated

Lawmakers are floating the idea of introducing red flag laws as a means of bolstering gun control.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer said that he is planning to bring a bill, initially bought forth by Lucy McBath, a representative from Georgia whose 17-year-old son was killed by gun violence, that would establish a national red flag law.

Under red flag laws, courts will have the right to take away guns from people who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.

Some Republicans seem to be open to the idea of a red flag law. In 2019, Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal introduced a red flag measure that failed to get the necessary votes. Susan Collins, a Republican senator for Maine, said that she discussed potential legislation with Democrat Chris Murphy, according to Axios.

Republicans offer thoughts and prayers – but not gun control to stop the killings

As the cycle of American gun violence took its latest turn on Tuesday, with at least 19 children and two teachers brutally murdered at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, the response from the Republican right came from an all too familiar playbook.

Thoughts and prayers, obfuscation and inaction.

Shortly after the shooting, Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who for well over a decade has led his party in vehemently blocking a raft of federal gun control measures, decried the “disgusting violence” in Uvalde and said: “The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.”

But prayers aside, there remains little to no hope of commonsense gun control measures making their way into federal law, despite support from the majority of American voters.

Within hours of the bloodshed on Tuesday, many of the national Republican Party’s most outspoken voices on gun ownership recited talking points now rote in the aftermath of mass shootings.

Texas senator Ted Cruz, who also sent prayers to the community in Uvalde, castigated Democrats and members of the media during a brief interview with CNN. “Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind you see politicians try to politicize it,” he said. “You see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”

His remarks were almost identical in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting in Florida back in 2018, which claimed the lives of 17 students and teachers. Despite a grassroots protest movement, in which hundreds of thousands of school children descended on Washington in a March for Our Lives, no federal legislation was passed. Jury selection in the death penalty trial of the Parkland shooter continues this week, a further marker of the trauma these mass shootings leave behind.

Meanwhile, Cruz is set to speak at the National Rifle Association leadership summit on Friday, in Houston, just 280 miles from Uvalde, alongside Donald Trump and Texas governor Greg Abbott.

Other senior Texas Republicans, who have presided over a series of measures aimed at loosening restrictions on firearm ownership in the state, reiterated calls to arm teachers, despite the fact the shooter engaged a number of armed officers as he successfully stormed the school building.

“We can’t stop bad people from doing bad things,” Texas attorney general Ken Paxton told Fox News on Tuesday. “We can potentially arm and prepare and train teachers and other administrators to respond quickly. That, in my opinion, is the best answer.”

Satirical news site the Onion has made all headlines on its front page read: “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens”.

The website first used the headline when writing about the mass shooting at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in 2017, where 61 people were killed.

The NRA just released a statement on its conference this weekend that confirms it will still be held this weekend in Houston.

“We recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to make our schools secure,” the statement reads.

Lawmakers are responding to the Uvalde shooting on Capitol Hill today. Joe Manchin told reporters that the Senate should pass a bipartisan gun control bill, but said that passing gun legislation would not be an impetus for getting rid of the filibuster.

With the filibuster, Democrats would need at least 60 votes to pass legislation.

Meanwhile Republican Marco Rubio of Florida is digging into his argument that background checks for gun purchases are ineffective.

“The truth of the matter is these people are going to commit these horrifying crimes, whether they have to use another weapon to do it, they’re going to figure out a way to do it,” he told CNN.

Updated

The Uvalde shooting was the 27th school shooting this year, according to a tracker maintained by news organization Education Week.

The tracker reports 67 people killed or injured in a school shooting, including 27 people who were killed.

The shootings took place in states across the country, ranging from Washington state to Massachusetts.

At his press conference this afternoon, Greg Abbott said he is “living moment to moment right now” in response to whether he would cancel his appearance at NRA’s conference in Houston this weekend.

Beto O’Rourke confronts Abbott: ‘You are doing nothing’

Twenty minutes into Greg Abbott’s press conference addressing the Uvalde shooting, Beto O’Rourke, went up to the stage and told Abbott “you are doing nothing”.

O’Rourke could be heard telling Abbott that the shooting was “predictable” because of his inaction and mentioned the 2019 shooting in El Paso where 23 people were killed in a Walmart store.

“This is on you until you choose to do something,” O’Rourke said.

“Sir, you are out of line,” Uvalde mayor Don McLaughlin can be heard shouting at O’Rourke trying to get him to leave the auditorium.

O’Rourke is running against Abbott in November for the gubernatorial seat. He was most recently a House representative before his brief run for president in 2020.

Updated

Gunman posted on Facebook before attack, governor says

Texas governor Greg Abbott said at a press conference moments ago that the shooter posted on Facebook three times before his attack.

In the first, posted 30 minutes before going to the school, he said he would shoot his grandmother. The second said, “I shot my grandmother.” And the third, posted about 15 minutes before the attack, said: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

Abbott also said the shooter’s grandmother had called the police before he shot her.

Updated

On Monday, the day before the shooting, Uvdale carried out its annual tradition of having its graduating high school seniors greet the elementary school students, including those who were killed on Tuesday. Here’s a clip of the celebration:

The daughter of Eva Mireles, 44, one of the teachers who was killed in yesterday’s shooting, posted a touching tribute to her mother on Twitter.

“Mom, you are a hero. I keep telling myself that this isn’t real. I just want to hear your voice. I want to hear you talking to our dogs with that silly voice you make so high that wakes everyone up in the morning. I want to hear you say “Nanis wake up already man!” because I keep snoozing my alarm,” Mireles’ daughter, Adalynn, writes.

“I want to thank you mom, for being such an inspiration to me. I will forever be proud to be your daughter. My sweet mommy, I will see you again.”

Donald Trump released a statement on his social media platform, Truth Social, saying that he still plans on attending the NRA convention in Houston this weekend.

“America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” the former president wrote. “That’s why I will keep my longtime commitment to speak in Texas at the NRA Convention and deliver an important address to America.”

In his statement, Trump made a peculiar stylistic choice and put the word massacre in quotes.

Anyway, an interesting twist of irony is that people won’t be able to carry firearms when attending Trump’s speech. It seems this rule is one made by the Secret Service, which told NPR that it has the “authority to preclude firearms from entering sites visited by our protectees, including those located in open-carry states.”

Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in the Sandy Hook school shooting almost 10 years ago, has pondered that, for newly-bereaved parents in Uvalde, Texas, the loss of their children will come to define their existence.

Daniel Barden was just seven when he was killed in the Connecticut school in December 2012. He was waiting for his grown-up front teeth to appear in the gap in his grinning face and was described as a very kind little boy.

Mark Barden is a founding member of Sandy Hook Promise advocacy group, which has offered support to the many who have just lost their loved ones to violence in Uvalde.

He said that for him and his wife, Jackie, and older children James and Natalie, Daniel’s murder: “That’s not something that happened to us. It defines our existence,” he told CNN on Wednesday.

He said that was the first thing he thought about when he heard the news on Tuesday about the mass shooting at the west Texas elementary school. “Those families,” he said.

Mark Barden speaks at the White House on 17 April 2013 about measures to prevent gun violence in the US.
Mark Barden speaks at the White House on 17 April 2013 about measures to prevent gun violence in the US. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Barden recalled that December evening when he had to gather his closest relatives together and tell them that Daniel had been one of the 20 young children and six educators killed at the school, and that was the kind of evening Uvalde familes were having yesterday.

“I do not wish that on any other human being,” Barden told CNN.

“Our hearts are broken and our hearts go out to these families.”

Barden was also one of the plaintiffs among a group of Sandy Hook families who successfully sued gun manufacturer Remington in 2015, reaching a landmark $73m settlement earlier this year after a long legal fight.

The US gunmaker, plaintiffs alleged and the Associated Press reported: “Targeted younger, at-risk males in advertising and product placement in violent video games” with the kind of assault rifle the young shooter used at Sandy Hook.

Updated

Today so far

Here’s a quick summary of what we learned today about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

  • At least 19 young children and two adults were killed in the shooting, before the gunman was killed by police.
  • All the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School. The gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, had barricaded himself in the classroom and started shooting.
  • Law enforcement say the gunman was met with resistance as he was entering the school, but they could not immediately breach the classroom that he barricaded himself in.
  • Both teachers who were in the classroom, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, were killed.
  • Before arriving at the school, the assailant shot his grandmother at their home in Uvalde. She is facing life-threatening injuries.
  • Officials say the gunman legally purchased two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition last week, days after his 18th birthday.
  • Law enforcement say they have identified all victims and have informed their families. The loved ones of those who were killed have been sharing photos and memories.
  • Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer says he will not bring any gun legislation to an immediate vote, saying he know it will not pass and Americans know where their lawmakers stand on gun control. He says he will work on bipartisan gun control in the future.

More updates to come shortly.

Updated

Family and friends of the victims of yesterday’s shooting have been posting photos of their loved ones, many who were just 10-years-old.

The sister of Tess Marie tweeted a tribute, saying: “My precious angel you are loved so deeply.”

The sister of Makenna Lee Elrod, 10, posted a picture with the caption that read, “My sweet innocent baby sister… my heart will forever break for you my love… I love you with my whole heart kenna wenna.”

The nephew of Irma Garcia, a teacher in the classroom, said on Twitter that she “sacrificed herself protecting the kids in her classroom”.

“She died a hero,” he wrote. “She was loved by many and will truly be missed.”

Read more about what we know about the victims here:

New York governor Kathy Hochul just said at a press conference that she will work with the state legislature to increase the legal gun purchasing age from 18 to 21, noting that both the Buffalo and Uvalde shooters were 18.

Updated

What we know about how the shooter obtained his weapons:

The rifles and ammunition that were used in yesterday’s shooting were purchased by the shooter legally, the Associated Press is reporting, citing a law enforcement briefing.

The shooter bought an AR-style rifle from a federally licensed gun dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17. The next day, he purchased 375 rounds of ammunition. He bought a second rifle on May 20. The purchases occurred soon after the gunman’s 18th birthday.

Republicans have been, in the same breath, mourning yesterday’s losses while encouraging more guns. Here’s Guardian reporter Ed Pilkington with more:

Republican leaders – not least in Texas itself – were just as robust in their calls for more guns in schools as a response to the shooting. Ted Cruz, the US senator from Texas, said just a few hours after the school attack that the best way to keep kids safe was to have armed law enforcement present on campus.

Ken Paxton, Texas’s attorney general, told the rightwing news outlet Newsmax that the way to save lives was to have “teachers and other administrators who have gone through training and who are armed”.

Their arguments were belied, however, by the facts of the Uvalde massacre. As the shooter entered the elementary school, two local police officers and a school guard opened fire in an attempt to stop him, but failed to do so, allowing him to carry on with his gruesome plans.

In recent years Texas has led the US in its lax approach to gun controls with a steady stream of initiatives loosening restrictions on firearms ownership. Last year its Republican governor Greg Abbott enacted a law that removed almost all restraints on carrying handguns in public – despite the fact that Texas has been the scene of several of the most horrifying mass shootings in US history.

Biden and other campaigners for greater gun controls face the numbing reality that in the US there are more firearms in circulation than there are people. The pandemic has seen a dramatic uptick in gun sales, and with it a surge in violent gun deaths.

In the last decade there have been at least 3,500 mass shootings defined as incidents killing or injuring four or more people, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The rate of deaths of children under 14 has also risen sharply since the pandemic.

It’s almost 10 am in Texas, and mourners are starting to gather outside of Robb Elementary School.

Senate won’t hold immediate vote on gun legislation

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said on the Senate floor moments ago that he will not be bringing any gun legislation to a vote in the immediate future, saying he knows that the bills will not pass due to Republican opposition.

“I believe that accountability votes are important, but sadly this isn’t a case of the American people not knowing where their senators stand,” he said. “Americans can cast their vote in November.”

Schumer said that Democrats will try to work with Republicans on bipartisan gun legislation but said that any new developments are “unlikely” as the issue has been “burnt in the past”.

The Senate is scheduled to go on break for Memorial Day weekend tomorrow afternoon.

The NRA is still planning to hold its annual meeting this weekend in downtown Houston, the Houston Chronicle is reporting.

The local Houston agency in charge with helping to coordinate conference said that they were unaware of any changes to the NRA’s schedule.

A host of conservative politicians, including Texas governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are scheduled to speak over the weekend.

Updated

Anayeli Ruiz, a reporter for a local TV news station, tweeted out a brief clip of families outside of Robb elementary school, where they were taking turns being swabbed for DNA as officials were working to identify the victims.

David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland 2018 school shooting in Florida, tweeted: “No parent should drop their kid off at school and then need a DNA test to ID which child is their child because they have been blown to pieces by an AR 15.”

Updated

Uvalde’s congressional representative Tony Gonzales, a Republican, told CBS Morning “I’m happy to debate policy, but not today” when asked about his voting history on gun control legislation.

Gonzales, who entered office at the beginning of 2021, voted against the bill that enhanced federal background checks that was passed by the House in March 2021.

Gayle King pushed back against Gonzales desire not to talk about gun legislation. “You’re in a position of power to change things. If we can’t talk about it, if we can’t make changes… when can we talk about it?” she said.

Gonzales responded by saying that people need to “come together”, to which host Nate Burlseon responded, “We need Congress to come together.”

Updated

A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Lt. Chris Olivarez, who has been speaking to different cable shows this morning, outlined for CBS News the unfolding of the shooting.

After shooting his grandmother at his home, the shooter drove to the school, driving his car into the ditch, and tried to enter the school. He was met with resistance from law enforcement as he entered the school but was able to enter a fourth-grade classroom, where he barricaded himself and started shooting.

Olivarez describes the terrifying scenario where law enforcement could hear the gunman shooting inside the classroom, but “there was no way they were able to make entry”.

“At that point, [law enforcement’s] primary focus was to evacuate as many children as possible.”

He described how, as gunfire could be heard in the school, teachers in other classrooms were breaking windows attempting to help their students escape.

Law enforcement was eventually able to break into the barricaded classroom where they exchanged gunfire with the shooter, who was eventually killed on the scene.

Updated

Many parents are saying that dropping their kids off at school this morning was hard for them in the wake of yesterday’s shooting.

Updated

CNN reporting that all victims have been identified and that their families have been notified.

A heartbreaking photo of Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old who was identified as one of the victims of the shooting, reportedly taken hours before the shooting.

Garza’s father told ABC News yesterday that she had just turned 10 on May 10.

“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” Garza wrote in a statement to ABC News. “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.”

Good morning – this is Lauren Aratani in New York taking over for Martin Belam.

As the country mourns the 19 children and three adults who were killed in Uvalde, Texas, eyes are starting to turn to Washington to see what action – if any – lawmakers will take on gun legislation.

Joe Biden posed this question himself during his address last night, saying “We have to ask, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to gun lobby?’”

Capitol Hill appears to be buzzing with lawmakers looking to take action. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said that he spoke with his Democratic colleague, Joe Manchin, and they both plan to speak with Republicans about potential background check proposals and “red flag” laws.

Yesterday, senate majority leader Chuck Schumer started the process of taking up two bills that were passed by the House, putting both on the Senate calendar for a possible vote. One bill would require background checks for commercial gun sales and the second would extend the period of federal background checks for buyers from three days to 10.

The outlook for the bills’ success on the Senate floor, should it come to a vote, is grim as Republican support for the bills is nonexistent.

Updated

All victims were in the same classroom, official says

A law enforcement official said all victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom, according to the Associated Press, citing an interview by CNN with Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez.

Updated

'A complete evil person': a Texas Lieutenant gives new details on shooting

Lieutenant Chris Olivarez, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, has appeared on NBC’s Today program, with some new details of what happened. Here is a transcript of the key points he has made:

So what we do know is that the shooter was involved in a domestic disturbance with his grandmother prior to the shooting at the school. He did shoot his grandmother at that point. He then fled in a vehicle and was in close proximity near the school where we got calls to local law enforcement. At the Uvalde police department we received a call of a crashed vehicle and an individual armed with a weapon making his way into the school.

At that point we had local law enforcement, school officers, as well as state troopers, who were first on scene and were able to hear the actual gunshots inside the classroom. They tried to make entry into the building. They were met with gunfire by the suspect, by the shooter. Some of those officers were shot.

At that point they began breaking windows around the school, trying to evacuate children, teachers, anybody they could, to try to get them out of that building, out of that school.

What we do know, at that point, the shooter was able to make entry into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom. And again, just begin shooting numerous children and teachers that were in that classroom. Having no regard for human life, just a complete evil person, by not having any regard for children, anyone that’s inside that classroom, just began shooting anyone that was in his way.

At that point we had a tactical law enforcement team arrived, made up of multiple federal officers, local officers as well as state troopers. They were able to make forcible entry into that classroom. They were met with gunfire as well, but they were able to shoot and kill that suspect. And right now, at this point, we have 19 children that are deceased, and two teachers as well.

As the US begins to reflect on the events of yesterday as it begins to wake up, several politicians have made calls to action or asked pressing questions. Tulsi Gabbard, who ran for the Democratic party presidential nominations in 2020, said:

We grieve for the 21 who were killed in Texas today. But grieving is not enough—we could have, and must now, take commonsense actions to prevent these tragedies, like establishing single points of entry into schools, armed guards, trained staff, mental health services & more.

Rep Ruben Gallego, a veteran and a Democratic representative for Arizona has tweeted to ask: “Why is an 18 year old allow to buy a weapon I used in war?”

Earlier Beto O’Rourke asked Texas Gov Greg Abbott to get the National Rifle Association (NRA) to move or postpone the convention they have scheduled for later this week in Texas, and withdraw from appearing at it, saying “Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend’s NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas.”

O’Rourke will face Abbott in the Texas Governor election slated for later this year.

US media outlets have so far identified four child victims of the shooting, all aged between eight and 10, after speaking to their families, and both adult victims, who were teachers at the school. Robb elementary has about 600 pupils, aged mostly between seven and 10.

It was still not immediately clear how many people were wounded. The University hospital in San Antonio said it had received two patients from the shooting, a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, both in critical condition, while Uvalde memorial hospital said 15 students were being treated in its emergency room.

Hours after the attack, distraught families were still awaiting word on whether their children had survived. Outside the civic centre in Uvalde – whose 16,000 residents, according to census data, are about 80% Hispanic or Latino – the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing.

“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”

Read more of Jon Henley’s report here: Biden calls for tougher gun controls after Texas school shooting

In London, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has said in parliament that “our thoughts are with all those affected by this horrific attack” after what he described as “reports of the fatal shooting in a Texan Primary School.”

David Hogg, who has become a national figure in the US gun control debate as a survivor of the Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, has posted on social media to say that the reaction to the Robb elementary school will be different, because of the level of youth activism. Hogg says:

We voted out more National Rifle Association (NRA) backed politicians than ever before in American history, and had the highest youth voter turn out in 2018 and 2020 in American history. We have the most pro-gun reform president and Congress in American history and the NRA is the weakest it’s ever been.

Republican state legislatures including Florida across the country have passed gun reform we just need them to do it in Congress – even if it’s small. No single policy will end every shooting but progress and reduction in gun violence is better than nothing.

Updated

Overnight, civic leaders from Uvalde have posted messages on Facebook. The town’s mayor, Don Mclaughlin, has said:

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families of the students and teachers who lost their lives today, My heart is broken for them all. I ask everyone to lift them up in prayers for God to surround the them with his love and comfort. To our community – I know your hearts are broken. Please, keep these families in your prayers.

County Judge Bill Mitchell posted to say:

Today will no doubt go down as the saddest day in the history of Uvalde. Our hearts are torn and broken. Wednesday evening at 7pm the Ministerial Alliance will hold a community prayer service at the Event Center at the Fairplex. Please come and show our love and support for the victims families, students, schoolteachers, administrators, law enforcement officers and first responders.

Updated

Jon Henley has rounded up for us some of the tributes paid to the first victims to be named after the shooting at Uvalde’s Robb elementary school:

The family of Uziyah Garcia said the eight-year-old boy was among those who died. “The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Garcia’s grandfather, Manny Renfro, told the Associated Press.

Renfro said he had last seen his grandson when he came to visit during spring break. “We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns,” he said. “Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good.”

Uziyah Garcia pictured earlier this year.
Uziyah Garcia pictured earlier this year. Photograph: Manny Renfro/AP

Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, was also killed in the shooting, his cousin, Lisa Garza, 54, from Arlington in Texas, said. “He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” Garza said.

“He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.” Garza told local ABC News affiliate that her cousin’s mother had been with him during an awards ceremony at the school hours before the shooting.

The father of Amerie Jo Garza, who celebrated her 10th birthday just over a fortnight ago, identified his daughter as another of the children killed. “Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby,” Angel Garza told ABC News.

“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.”

Read more here: ‘The sweetest little boy’: families’ desolation at Texas school shooting

The Washington Post is carrying some quotes from Erika Escamilla, 26, who had been at the school waiting to hear news of her niece and two nephews. She told reporters they were all safe.

However she said of her 10-year-old niece, who was in the classroom next door to the shooting and witnessed the scene: “She’s traumatized. She said she felt like she was having a heart attack. She saw blood everywhere.”

In Joe Biden’s address to the US nation last night he said “I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this, again. Another massacre.”

Vice president, Kamala Harris, also spoke on the issue last night. She was delivering the keynote address at the Aipacs annual awards gala. She said:

There are parents who have lost children. Families that have lost their loved ones. And many others may have been injured.

So, I would normally say in a moment like this – we would all say, naturally – that our hearts break. But our hearts keep getting broken, you know. There’s so many elected leaders in this room. You know what I’m talking about. Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break, and our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families.

And yet it keeps happening. So, I think we all know, and have said many times with each other, enough is enough.

Enough is enough.

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. To ensure something like this never happens again.

Alexander Bolton has written for The Hill that it seems inevitable there will have to be a major floor debate on gun control. He quotes Montana’s Democrat Sen Jon Tester as saying:

The bottom line is I just watched a girl walk across the plaza that held up a sign that said, ‘This is your fault.’ We need to do something.

Bolton reminds us that:

Two proposals to expand and strengthen background checks that passed the House in March of 2021 have sat in limbo for more than a year as Democratic senators have shown little appetite for a partisan battle over gun control. One Democratic senator said fellow Democrats are reluctant to hold votes on gun-control measures that can’t muster 60 votes to overcome a filibuster because it makes them look weak and ineffective.

Second teacher named as first student victims of shooting identified

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.

  • At least 19 young students and two adults have been killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde in Texas.
  • An 18-year-old suspect, identified by police as Salvador Ramos, opened fire at Robb elementary school, which is in a mostly Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio near the Mexico border, around 11.30am on Tuesday. Police said the suspect was killed, apparently by arriving officers.
  • 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.
  • The parents of the 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.
  • Police say the suspect 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. “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. The suspect had posted images of himself with the weapons to Instagram.
  • Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night. 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?”
  • Former president Barack Obama said “it’s long past time for action” on gun violence in the US. “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.”
  • Condolences have been expressed by world leaders including Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Israel’s president Isaac Herzog.
  • Pope Francis said he was “heartbroken by the massacre” and said “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.