Fourteen students and one teacher have been killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. The gunman, an 18-year-old from the small city, is also dead, authorities said.
“He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students, and killed a teacher,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference, hours after the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District reported an active shooter at Robb Elementary School.
The suspected gunman entered the elementary school about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday with a handgun and possibly a rifle, and is believed to have been killed by law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, Abbott said.
A child gets on a school bus as law enforcement personnel guard the scene of a suspected shooting near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022.
University Health hospital in San Antonio, 85 miles east of Uvalde, has received two patients from the shooting, a 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman, who are both in critical condition. Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 13 children for treatment and said two people had arrived at the hospital dead.
Robb Elementary School serves about 500 students in second through fourth grade and enrolls mostly Latino students. Thursday was scheduled to be the district’s last day of school before summer break.
“When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now, and the state of Texas is in mourning with them,” Abbott said during the press conference, adding that state officials would “do everything that is necessary to ensure that crime scenes like this are not going to be repeated in the future.”
What do we know about the gunman?
Law enforcement officials said the gunman appears to have acted alone. “The investigation is telling us that the suspect did act alone at this point,” Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District police chief Pete Arredondo told reporters.
Abbott identified the suspected gunman as Salvador Ramos, who was reportedly a student at Uvalde High School. The governor said Ramos reportedly shot his grandmother before entering the school building. “I have no further information about the connection between those two shootings,” Abbott said.
“We’re in the process of obtaining detailed background information on the subject, his motive, the types of weapons used, the legal authority to possess them, and conduct a comprehensive crime scene investigation,” he added.
A tragedy in small, diverse Uvalde, Texas
Uvalde is a small, tightly-knit community of about 16,000 people, located in between San Antonio and the U.S.-Mexico border—roughly an hour away from each. Its population is nearly 80% Hispanic or Latino, with 10% of residents born outside the country, according to Census data.
Covering roughly 8 square miles, it’s the kind of rural city where everyone knows each other, attends the same places of worship and schools, and shares in each other’s pain. According to school data, Robb Elementary’s student body is 89% Latino.
“We are at the crossroads of cultures with our language and customs,” the city’s website reads. Part of Uvalde’s charm comes from its renowned honey production, which helped the town earn the title as “Honey Capital of the World.” Uvalde is also known for its hard-working people, vibrant immigrant culture, proximity to Garner State Park, and being the hometown of actor Matthew McConaughey, icon Roy Rogers, and former Vice President John Nance Garner.