UVALDE, Texas — The death toll has risen to 21 after a mass shooting Tuesday at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school, according to authorities.
The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and added to a grim tally of mass shootings in the state that has been among the deadliest in the U.S. over the past five years.
The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said the active shooter situation was reported at Robb Elementary School, which has an enrollment of just under 600 students, just before noon. They said all campuses were placed under lockdown due to the gunfire. Officials said second, third and fourth graders attend the school.
The gunman, who killed 19 children and two adults inside Robb Elementary School, carried a long rifle with multiple rounds of ammunition and wore a “tactical vest” as body armor, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said.
It “shows the intent of this evil person going into this school and having complete disregard for human life,’’ Olivarez said.
All the children and teachers who died were inside a single classroom where the shooter barricaded himself, Olivarez said on CNN.
The San Antonio Express-News reported that the shooter also also bought 375 rounds of ammunition, according to state Sen. John Whitmire, who was briefed on the shooting.
Olivarez said the shooter lived with is grandparents and fled in a truck after shooting his grandmother. That is when a call went out to law enforcement about a suspect heading to the school.
The shooter encountered at several law enforcement officers at the school at some point and opened fire on them. Olivarez said the officers were at a disadvantage and that is when the shooter was able to barricade himself in a classroom.
Law enforcement tried to evacuate the children by breaking windows, Olivarez said
Some of the children barricaded in the classroom survived the shooting, he said. It was a classroom with two teachers inside.
Who are the victims?
Among those killed in the shooting was fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles. Relative Amber Ybarra, of San Antonio, remembered her as a loving mother and wife who also was “adventurous."
Ybarra was preparing to give blood to the wounded and pondering how no one was able to spot problems in the 18-year-old shooter in time to stop him.
Family members confirmed that 10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez was also killed in the shooting. They said she was in third grade and was in the same classroom as her cousin, who was also killed. Her cousin has not been named.
Here's a look at the deadliest recent school shootings:
University Hospital in San Antonio said it received three patients:
- A 66-year-old woman in critical condition
- A 10-year-old girl in critical condition
- A 10-year-old girl in good condition
Who is the shooter?
According to Gov. Greg Abbott, the 18-year-old shooter is believed to be Salvador Ramos, who is from Uvalde.
Ramos, who was wearing body armor and had hinted on social media of an upcoming attack, crashed his car outside the school and went inside armed, Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN.
According to reports, Ramos shot his grandmother before heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday, Gutierrez said.
“That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said.
Authorities said they believe Ramos acted alone.
The district said that the city's civic center was being used as a reunification center. Grief counseling will be available beginning Wednesday. District officials said the remainder of the school year is canceled and all activities have been canceled throughout the district.
Abbott released the following statement on the shooting:
"Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde. Cecilia and I mourn this horrific loss and we urge all Texans to come together to show our unwavering support to all who are suffering. We thank the courageous first responders who worked to finally secure Robb Elementary School. I have instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to fully investigate this crime. The Texas Division of Emergency Management is charged with providing local officials all resources necessary to respond to this tragedy as the State of Texas works to ensure the community has what it needs to heal."
President Joe Biden addressed the mass shooting when he returned to the White House Tuesday.