UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 18 children as he went from classroom to classroom, officials said, in the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres. The attacker was killed by law enforcement.
The death toll also included three adults, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. But it was not immediately clear whether that number included the attacker, or how many people were wounded.
The massacre at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent, announcing that all school activities were canceled until further notice. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
The attack also came just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores. And the prospects for any reform of the nation’s gun regulations seemed as dim as in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.
President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
“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 are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are willing to live with this carnage?"
Many of the injured were rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where staff members in scrubs and devastated victims' relatives could be seen weeping as they walked out of the complex.
The gunman, who was wearing body armor, crashed his car outside the school before going inside, Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN.