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Chicago area elected officials call Texas school massacre that killed 19 kids 'heartwrenching,' 'every parent's nightmare'

At least 19 children killed in massacre at a Texas elementary school
At least 19 children killed in massacre at a Texas elementary school 04:55

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Elected officials from the Chicago area expressed shock and grief Tuesday after a shooting left 19 children and two adults dead in Uvalde, Texas.

Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter is also dead, and is believed to have been killed by responding law enforcement officers. 

The massacre happened at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, which is approximately an hour and a half west of San Antonio. The school teaches 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students, according to Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pedro Arredondo. 

Abbott said the shooter was an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde. He said it's believed the suspect, who he named as Salvador Ramos, abandoned his vehicle, then entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released this statement on the Texas school shooting late Tuesday:

"I am shocked and horrified to learn that over one dozen young children senselessly lost their lives in a Texas elementary school today. My family and I are sending prayers to the entire Uvalde community and the families that sent their child to school today unaware that they would not be coming home. As a nation, we simply cannot allow this to continue. Every single day, children and young people are losing their lives to people who do not value the sanctity of life and take advantage of the unabated presence of firearms in our communities. Now more than ever, we must push our legislators to pass sweeping and effective gun control measures. Our children's lives depend on it."

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker added:

"It is heartwrenching and enraging to hear the news of the elementary students and their teacher gunned down in Texas. My prayers are with their families, and my resolve is with all Americans who are working to end senseless gun violence wherever it occurs."

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), called for changes in gun laws:

"Today's news is heartbreaking and tragic.  Fourteen young lives and a teacher gone far too soon.  My heart is with the families and friends of these lives lost.

"I implore – beg – my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in finally making changes to our gun laws to help prevent Americans from re-living this gun tragedy far too often.  We cannot continue to sit on our hands and allow innocent lives to be lost.  Congress must act."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) tweeted:

"Every parent's nightmare. I'm heartbroken for these families and angry as hell at Republicans' shameless inaction to save the lives of innocent children. For every victim of this tragedy, enough has to be enough."

U.S. Rep. Marie Newman (D-Illinois) also took aim at policy as she mentioned other recent mass shootings:

"I have no words to convey the immense pain that our entire nation is feeling right now as we collectively mourn the loss of 14 students and a teacher who were taken from us today in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. My heart and prayers are with the friends, families and loved ones of those lost as well as those who were injured in this horrific, vile attack. 

"But let me be crystal clear, prayers are not enough. Ten days ago, we lost 10 Americans to a gunman in Buffalo. Last month, 29 people were injured in a mass shooting in a New York City subway attack. Today, it's 14 elementary school students and a teacher. In total, there have been 211 reported mass shootings in 2022 alone. Make no mistake, this is an epidemic, and it is one that is unique to the United States of America. 

"I cannot understand how the hell any GOP member of Congress can look at today's news and still believe that there is nothing Congress can do to end these school shootings. We need real action, and we need it right now.  

"As the former spokesperson and volunteer for Moms Demand Action, I have been on the frontlines of the gun safety movement for years now. I will not stop fighting to protect our children and neither will the millions of Americans who rightfully understand that it is damn time for Congress to pass common-sense, long-overdue gun safety legislation so that we can finally save lives. This is going to end. Members of Congress, activists, survivors and countless families will organize and fill the halls of Congress, the offices of public leaders and our public streets and we will not leave until the Senate takes action."

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza issued this statement:

"I am horrified by this latest mass shooting targeting schoolchildren. These tragedies have become all too common. As a parent, the idea of having a child killed while at school – a place that is meant to be the safest space for our kids – is a horrific nightmare. My heart and prayers are with the families of the 14 students who are living this nightmare, and the family of the teacher killed. May the entire school community be supported as it grapples with the lasting trauma this day will bring. And may this serve as a reminder to us all that gun violence is a public health crisis and change is urgently needed."

Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Pedro Martinez – who previously ran the school district in San Antonio – released this statement:

"The Chicago Public Schools community joins our nation in mourning the tragic loss of life after another horrific school shooting.  As a former San Antonio school district superintendent, I know Uvalde well and am devastated and heartbroken for that community and those grieving families. Such acts of senseless violence can not be the norm for our schools in America. At CPS, we will continue to work closely with our public safety and community partners on the development and implementation of school safety plans. We also recognize the importance of building strong relationships with our students and each other to ensure that our schools are safe and welcoming places."

Blaise Cardinal Cupich put out a thread of tweets that said argued that life should be valued over gun rights. He wrote in part:

"As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?" Cupich wrote. "The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai. The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them."

And former President, U.S. Sen., and Illinois State Sen. Barack Obama issued these remarks in a thread on Twitter:

"Across the country, parents are putting their children to bed, reading stories, singing lullabies—and in the back of their minds, they're worried about what might happen tomorrow after they drop their kids off at school, or take them to a grocery store or any other public space.

"Michelle and I 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.

"It's long past time for action, any kind of action. And it's another tragedy—a quieter but no less tragic one—for families to wait another day.

"May God bless the memory of the victims, and in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds."

Several other local elected officials issued tweets:

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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