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At least 19 children, 2 adults killed after shooter opens fire at Texas elementary school

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At least 19 children and two adults were killed when a gunman opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in Texas, authorities said. Officials said the shooter was killed on the scene by law enforcement officials. 

After barricading himself inside a classroom, the gunman "started shooting children and teachers inside the classroom, having no regard for human life," Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CBS News on Wednesday.

"Just a complete tragedy. An evil person going into the school and killing children for no reason whatsoever," he said.

Authorities said the shooter entered Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, at approximately 11:32 a.m. local time, after shooting his grandmother and crashing his vehicle near the school. An official from the Texas Department of Public Safety said that upon entering the school, the shooter fired at "children, teachers, whoever was in his way."

"He was shooting everybody," the official said.  

Olivarez told CBS News that the shooter's grandmother was in critical condition as of Wednesday morning.

The suspect, who was wearing body armor, exchanged fire with law enforcement officials and multiple officers were shot, the official said. The suspect was eventually fatally shot on the scene.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the shooter was an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde, which is about an hour and a half west of San Antonio. He said the suspect, who he named as Salvador Ramos, abandoned his vehicle, then entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle and "horrifically, incomprehensibly" opened fire. 

Texas School Shooting
People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. William Luther / AP

Two law enforcement sources told CBS News that the suspect had a handgun, an AR-15 assault weapon and high capacity magazines. 

The school teaches 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students, according to Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pedro Arredondo. 

Arredondo confirmed the suspect is dead and said investigators believe he acted alone. 

President Biden condemned the shooting in an address Tuesday night. 

"I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this — again," the president said. "Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third and fourth graders. And how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened — see their friends die, as if they're in a battlefield, for God's sake. They'll live with it the rest of their lives." 

"It's time to act": Biden addresses Texas elementary school mass shooting 09:10

CBS News has learned that Customs and Border Protection agents were among the members of law enforcement that exchanged gunfire with the shooter. One CBP agent was shot in the head. That agent has been hospitalized and is in stable condition. 

"U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance regarding an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, agents and other law enforcement officers faced gunfire from the subject, who was barricaded inside," Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Catron Espinosa told CBS News in a statement.   

APTOPIX Texas School Shooting
A woman cries as she leaves the Uvalde Civic Center, Tuesday May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. William Luther / AP

The Uvalde Memorial Hospital previously said it received 13 children from ambulance and buses for treatment, and that two people who arrived at the hospital were deceased. A second hospital said it is caring for a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl, both in critical condition, a 10-year-old girl in good condition, and a 9-year-old girl in fair condition. Another hospital said it was caring for two adults, also both in critical condition. 

South Texas Blood and Tissue said it sent 15 units of blood to Uvalde on Tuesday. 

At approximately 2:00 p.m. local time, the district said parents were cleared to pick up their children at the local civic center. 

Pat Milton contributed reporting.

 

Matthew McConaughey reacts to mass shooting in his hometown

Matthew McConaughey is speaking out about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas — the actor's hometown.

"Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us," McConaughey wrote in a statement just after midnight that appeared on his social media platforms. 

He said that people need to "rearrange our values" so that people can find common ground "above this devastating American reality that has tragically become our children's issue." 

"The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, 'What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?'" he wrote. "We can't exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo." 

By Li Cohen
 

Partisan splits remain on gun laws, CBS News poll finds

A recent CBS News poll found 54% of Americans want laws covering the sale of guns made more strict. Thirty percent said gun laws should be kept as they are, and 16% want them to be less strict. 

The poll was conducted after the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, nine days ago and before the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Monday. 

As they have for years, Americans remain starkly divided along partisan lines on laws covering the sale of guns. Most Democrats favor gun laws that are more strict, while most Republicans do not, preferring that gun laws either be kept as they are or made less strict than they are now. 

Views differ some by gender, too. Women (60%) were more likely than men (46%) to say they supported stricter gun laws. 

By Stephen Smith
 

Shooter bought guns legally after 18th birthday

The man who killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas bought his guns legally days before the attack and soon after his 18th birthday, a law enforcement briefing said.

He bought one AR-style rifle from a federally-licensed gun dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to a state police briefing given to Sen. John Whitmire. The next day, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition, and bought a second rifle on May 20.

Officers recovered one of the rifles from the shooter's truck and the other was found in the school, according to the briefing. It says the shooter dropped a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance, and that he was wearing a body-armor style vest but that it had no hardened plates inside.

By Associated Press
 

Rep. Tony Gonzales on debating gun control: "Not today"

Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales represents the city of Uvalde, the scene of America's latest deadly mass shooting.  

Gonzales told "CBS Mornings" on Wednesday that right now, the focus shouldn't be on gun control policy, but instead should be focused on the families of the 19 children and two adults who were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School.

Uvalde congressman Tony Gonzales on elementary school shooting 06:04

"I'm happy to debate policy, not today. I mean, today, we, my community is hurting. You know, politicians like to divide us. Leaders unite us and we need to be united right now as Americans because what happened in Uvalde, Texas can happen anywhere," he said. "Right now, I've got families that don't, that can't identify their children. I've got folks that have to bury their children. I mean, these are the things that we're working with."  

By Stephen Smith
 

Officer says gunman barricaded himself in a classroom

Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, joined "CBS Mornings" to give an update on the deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School.

He said the gunman exchanged fire with officers at the scene and barricaded himself in a classroom, and "just started shooting children and teachers in the classroom and having no regard for human life."

Watch his full account of what happened in the video below.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson on deadly school shooting 03:52
 

Stand With Parkland's Tony Montalto on "pragmatic" gun reform

Tony Montalto, whose daughter Gina was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, says there are public safety measures that people on both sides of the aisle can agree on. He joined CBS News' Lana Zak to talk about some ways to help prevent such tragedies.

Stand With Parkland's Tony Montalto on "pragmatic" gun reform after Texas school shooting 09:00
 

Former President Obama calls out lawmakers for not doing enough to prevent gun violence

Former President Barack Obama released a statement on Twitter on Tuesday night, calling for action to prevent further gun violence:

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.

By Erin Pflaumer
 

Rep. Tony Gonzales on Texas school shooting: "It's absolutely gut-wrenching"

Congressman Tony Gonzales, who represents a district that includes Uvalde, Texas, spoke with CBS News following Tuesday's shooting, saying, "It's absolutely gut-wrenching."

Rep. Tony Gonzales on Texas school shooting: "It's absolutely gut-wrenching" 08:34

"We are hurting in Uvalde," he told CBS News' Lana Zak. "It's just heartbreaking. Children are the most innocent thing that we have in life and we have to protect them with everything we have."

He said one of his staff members has children who attend a school in the area, but they were not injured. Watch the full interview in the video above.

By Erin Pflaumer
 

Biden calls for stronger laws in wake of shooting: "When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?"

President Biden condemned the shooting in an address from the White House on Tuesday night, calling for stricter gun laws to prevent such shootings from occurring again. 

"I hoped when I became president I would not have to do this — again," Mr. Biden said. "Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders."  

"To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away — there's a hollowness in your chest and you feel like you're being sucked into it and are never gonna be able to get out. You're suffocating. And it's never gonna be the same," Mr. Biden added. 

He then turned to gun legislation: "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?" 

"It's time to act": Biden addresses Texas elementary school mass shooting 09:10

Mr. Biden cited the many mass shootings — including school shootings in Florida and Michigan, and the recent mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York — that have occurred since a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost 10 years ago, in December 2012.

"I am sick and tired of it," he said. "We have to act."  

By Victoria Albert
 

Robb Elementary ends school year

School district superintendent Hal Harrell said Tuesday night that the school year has ended and all activities are canceled throughout the district. According to the school's calendar, the school year was previously slated to end on Thursday. 

Harrell said grief counseling will be made available to the community, and called for prayers to help the community through the incident. 

"We're a small community," he said. "And we'll need your prayers to get through this."  

In a letter sent to Uvalde CISD parents and faculty later Tuesday night, the district confirmed that the school year was over for the entire district. 

"The Graduation Ceremony will be addressed at a later time," the letter said.

By Victoria Albert
 

Manuel Oliver, father of Parkland shooting victim: "The families don't need your freaking hearts. They need their kids."

Four years ago, Manuel Oliver's 17-year-old son Joaquin was among the 14 students and three staff members killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On Tuesday, he addressed the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. 

Oliver said he feels "very angry." He, along with numerous other parents of Parkland victims and survivors, have been working for years to address gun violence in the U.S. 

"We've been fighting against this. We were trying to prevent this. We knew that it was going to happen, we just don't know where," he said. 

"'We believe that more guns are the solution' — you will hear these politicians sending their thoughts and prayers and some of them will say, 'Our hearts are with the families,'" Oliver said. "Well, guess what? The families don't need your freaking hearts. They need their kids. And their kids are not there anymore." 

Read more here.

By Li Cohen
 

Vice President Harris calls for "reasonable and sensible" public policy in the wake of the shooting

Speaking Tuesday night at an event, Vice President Harris condemned the shooting and called for policy changes to ensure it never happens again. 

"I would normally say in a moment like this — we would all say, naturally, that our hearts break. But our hearts keep getting broken," Harris said. "You know, I think — there are 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."  

"As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action," Harris added. "And understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again." 

Harris said President Biden would speak further on the issue later Tuesday night.

"Our hearts keep getting broken": Vice President Harris speaks on Texas elementary school shooting 04:13
By Victoria Albert
 

Suspect had handgun, AR-15 assault weapon and high-capacity magazines, sources say

The suspected shooter had a handgun, AR-15 assault weapon and high-capacity magazines, two law enforcement sources confirmed to CBS News' Pat Milton. 

 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi issues statement on shooting

Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Congress to enact bipartisan gun reform Tuesday, calling the proposed legislation "commonsense" and "life-saving."

"Words are inadequate to describe the agony and outrage at the cold-blooded massacre of little schoolchildren and a teacher at Robb Elementary School today," Pelosi said in a statement. "This monstrous shooting stole the futures of precious children, who will never experience the joys of graduating from school, chasing the career of their dreams, falling in love, even starting a family of their own."

"The hearts of all Americans are broken as we pray for the families left forever shattered and a community left forever scarred by the unspeakable grief of losing a loved one," she added. "We also extend our sympathies to all those who have lost a loved one to gun violence over time, as this horrible crime deepens their suffering."

By Zoe Christen Jones
 

Senator Chris Murphy, lawmaker from Sandy Hook district: "What are we doing?"

"What are we doing?" Sen. Chris Murphy begs for gun control on Senate floor 02:57

Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut spoke on the Senate floor on Tuesday several hours after the shooting. The Democratic senator was formerly a representative from a district that included Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a 2012 mass shooting left more than two dozen dead.

"I am here on this floor to beg — to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues," Murphy said. "Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely. I understand my Republican colleagues may not agree to everything I support, but there is a common denominator we can find. There is a place where we can achieve agreement..."

He concluded: "What are we doing? Why are we here? What are we doing?"  

By Sophie Reardon
 

White House orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of shooting victims

President Biden ordered the U.S. flag to be flown at half-staff until sunset on May 28 "as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence." Mr. Biden is expected to speak about the shooting later Tuesday night. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also ordered the state's flag to be flown at half-staff. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Army medical center treating 2 adults

The Brooke Army Medical Center said it had received two adult patients from the shooting who are in critical condition. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Biden's "prayers are with the families," White House says

President Biden has been briefed on the school shooting and will speak about it this evening when he returns to the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

"His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event," Jean-Pierre tweeted.

The president will deliver his remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Biden to address deadly Texas school shooting 00:56
 

Police say they believe suspect acted alone

Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pedro Arredondo said that the investigation has led authorities to believe that the suspect, identified by the governor as an 18-year-old man, acted alone. Arredondo also said the suspect has died. 

By Victoria Albert
 

14 students, 1 teacher dead, governor says

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said 14 students and one teacher were killed in the shooting. Abbott described the suspect as an 18-year-old male from Uvalde, who he said is believed to have entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle. 

"He shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly — 14 students and killed a teacher," Abbott said. 

By Victoria Albert
 

Deadly attack follows rise in "active shooter" incidents

The attack came just one day after the FBI released a report documenting a 52.5% increase in active shooter incidents in the U.S. from 2020 to 2021. Over four years, from 2017 to 2021, there was a 96.8% increase, the bureau said.

In 2021, the FBI designated a total of 61 shootings in 30 states as "active shooter incidents," resulting in 103 people killed and 140 wounded, excluding the gunmen. It was the highest number of deaths from such incidents since 2017.

FBI reports spike in active shooter incidents 01:51

Just over a week before Tuesday's shooting, on May 14, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 people and wounding three others.

 

10-year-old girl and 66-year-old woman in critical condition

At University Health, one of the hospitals that is caring for patients, both a 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman are in critical condition, the hospital said. 

By Victoria Albert
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