UVALDE, Texas (AP/KXAN) — Nineteen students and two adults were killed during a Texas school shooting at an elementary school Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Speaking in Abilene Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter, who he identified as 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos from Uvalde, is dead.
In a press conference Tuesday evening, Uvalde CISD Chief of Police Pete Arredondo said the investigation is ongoing, and once more information is available, police will release it to the public and hold a press conference. He confirmed the now-deceased shooter was the sole suspect, and the department is not looking for any others in connection to the mass shooting.
Thursday was the last day of school before summer break, but as Uvalde CISD Superintendent Dr. Hal Harrell said, “the school year’s done.” Grief counseling will be available at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“My heart is broken today,” he said. “We’re a small community, and we need your prayers to get us through this.”
Abbott said the shooter was killed by responding officers. Two officers sustained non-serious injuries during the shooting, he added.
It is believed the shooter entered the elementary school with a handgun and possibly a rifle, Abbott said earlier Tuesday, though details surrounding a possible rifle are unconfirmed. Abbott added reporting said the shooter had shot his grandmother before entering the school, but he said he had no additional information related to this.
Abbott said the Uvalde CISD Police Department is the primary investigating agency but offered investigative and patrol assistance from state resources. The governor said investigators will look into what specific weapons were used and the legal authority the shooter had to possess those weapons. The Texas Department of Public Safety is also involved, according to the UCISD chief of police.
According to the UCISD website, the police department for the small school district has half a dozen employees: four police officers, one detective/lieutenant and a chief of police. In a 2020-21 preventative security measures document, it said UCISD secondary campuses have staff who “patrol door entrances, parking lots and perimeters of the campuses.”
“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,” Abbott said.
At least two hospitals worked to treat patients, according to posts from the hospitals. Uvalde Memorial Hospital said in a Facebook post it was caring for “several students” in its emergency room. Another hospital, University Health, said it was treating a child and an adult patient from Robb Elementary.
President Joe Biden has ordered flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the shooting victims and addressed the nation.
Texas school shooting: A timeline
The chief of police for UCISD said the shooting started around 11:30 a.m. At that point, the district locked down schools in the area because of “gunshots.”
Around 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, UCISD posted an active shooter was reported at Robb Elementary School, which has an enrollment of just under 600 students. The police chief said in a brief news conference students from second to fourth grade attend the school.
For students at nearby schools, UCISD said “parents should pick up students at the regular dismissal times at the child’s campus. Officers will be on-site to escort students to the cars.”
Uvalde is about 85 miles west of San Antonio.