Texas school gun shooting;19 children and two adults killed, several injured
Texas(US)- A teen gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults, the latest instance of gun-fueled mass murder in the United States and the country’s worst school shooting in nearly a decade. Several people are hurt, including children. Some of them are in critical condition.
After initially conflicting reports of the death toll, the state attorney general’s office issued an official statement putting the death toll at 18 children and two adults, including the gunman. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety later told CNN that 19 school children and two adults were killed, not including the shooter.
The school’s student body consists of children in the second, third and fourth grades, according to Pete Arredondo, chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, who also addressed reporters. Pupils in those grades would likely have ranged from 7 to 10.
Speaking from the White House hours later, a visibly shaken US President Joe Biden urged Americans to stand up to the politically powerful US gun lobby, which he blamed for blocking the enactment of more formidable “common-sense” firearms safety laws.
Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff daily until sunset on Saturday in observance of the tragedy.
University Hospital in San Antonio announced that it had received four patients from the Uvalde shooting, including a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl in critical condition.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital reported that 15 Robb Elementary students were treated in its emergency room, with two being transferred to San Antonio for further care and a third patient transfer pending. It was unclear whether all of those students had survived.
According to the hospital, a 45-year-old victim grazed by a bullet was also treated at Uvalde Memorial.
The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center issued a public appeal for blood donations. They have already sent over 15 units of blood and are running out. There is currently a blood
shortage at the local hospitals where the wounded are being treated
Family grieves teacher killed in the massacre
Eva Mireles on Tuesday went to a job she seemed to love, teaching fourth grade in the small Texas town of Uvalde, but she never came home, murdered along with 19 pupils and another teacher.
A teacher trained in bilingual and special education, Mireles worked at Robb Elementary School and taught fourth-grade children, generally 9 or 10 years old, her cousin Cristina Arizmendi Mireles said on Facebook.
In a short biography posted on the school district’s website, Mireles had written she had “a supportive, fun, and loving family” comprised of her husband, her college-graduate daughter, and “three furry friends.” “I love running, hiking, and now you just might see me riding a bike!!” Mireles wrote on the website.
Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer at the school district’s police force, the agency investigating the massacre.
Governor Greg Abbott said that the suspect, identified as Salvador Ramos, was killed by police officers and that two officers were struck by gunfire. However, the governor said their injuries were not serious.
The 18-year-old also had shot his grandmother before fleeing from the scene, then crashing his getaway car and launching a bloody rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, about 130 km west of San Antonio.
The motive was not immediately clear. Authorities said the gunman acted alone.
Details of the deceased
The names of the deceased and other details were yet to be released. In addition to the confirmed deaths, several people have been injured. No number of wounds have been removed.
A disturbing message on the school’s website read: “Robb Elementary Parents, please do not pick up students at this time. Students need to be accounted for before they are released to your care. You will be notified to pick up students once all are accounted for.” Officials said the city’s civic centre was being used as a reunification centre where victims’ kin could procure information from the state and coordinate other functions.
America’s gun problem
The rampage was the latest in a series of mass school shootings that have periodically reignited a fierce debate between advocates of tighter gun controls and those who oppose any legislation that could compromise the US Constitutional right of Americans to bear arms.
Tuesday’s shooting in Texas was the deadliest at a US school since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012. In 2018, a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killed 17 students and educators.
Biden, addressing the nation after the tragedy, pleaded for action to address gun violence after years of failure and blamed firearm manufacturers and their supporters for blocking legislation in Washington.
Biden’s call for gun measures was booed at a campaign event in Georgia hosted by Herschel Walker, who won the Republican nomination for US Senate.
Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris said earlier that people normally declare in moments like this, “our hearts break — but our hearts keep getting broken … and our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families.”
“We have to have the courage to take action … to ensure something like this never happens again,” she said.
Echoing Biden’s call, former President Barack Obama, who has called the day of the Sandy Hook shooting the darkest of his administration, said, “It’s long past time for action, any kind of action.”
Texas Senator Ted Cruz described the Uvalde shooting as “truly horrific”, but said gun reforms were not the way to prevent such crimes.
Speaking to reporters, he said that restricting the rights of “law-abiding citizens… doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.” He said “going after felons” is what prevents such crimes and he criticised other politicians for trying to “advance their own political agenda” by calling for gun control.
He added that from past experience, armed law enforcement on campus is the most effective way of keeping children safe. “We don’t know the details of what happened at Robb Elementary School, but there will be a lot of time to examine what steps could have been taken proactively to enhance the safety and security of the school right now,” he said.