From Texas Public Radio:
The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that 19 students and two adults were dead following a shooting on Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The suspect was also dead.
Sgt. Erick Estrada, a DPS spokesman, updated the death toll in an interview with CNN.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the 18-year-old suspect lived in Uvalde, and it was not immediately clear how he died.
Meanwhile, in a brief news conference, officials in Uvalde said the suspect apparently acted alone. Officials took no questions and gave few details.
Estrada also explained that the suspect crashed a vehicle in a ditch near the school. He exited the vehicle with a rifle and attempted to enter the school. He was engaged by law enforcement but was able to enter the school.
Abbott said the shooter entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle. Estrada said the suspect entered several classrooms and started shooting.
A statement from the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday evening explained that “U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance re an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, Agents & other law enforcement officers faced gun fire from the subject, who was barricaded inside.”
The statement added that the agents and other law enforcement officers “put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives.”
At least one agent was wounded in the firefight, DHS reported. Other agents, both on and off duty, arrived to help move students away from the scene, reunite them with their parents and provide medical care..
“It is being reported that the subject shot his grandmother right before he went into the school,” Abbott said. “I have no further information about the connection between those two shootings.”
Uvalde Memorial Hospital said it treated several students in its ER. University Health in San Antonio said it treated at least two patients, one child and one adult. University Hospital reported that the adult, a 66-year-old woman, was in critical condition.
The Justice Department said Tuesday night that FBI and ATF agents were part of the investigation.
‘My heart was broken today’
The district said that the city’s civic center was used as a reunification center. Students were brought to the civic center to meet their guardians.
Robb Elementary School has an enrollment of just under 600 students. It is part of the Uvalde Consolidated School District.
Superintendent Hal Harrell said that classes at the school were canceled for the rest of the school year, and grief counseling was available on Wednesday morning for students, staff, and community members.
“Again, my heart was broken today,” he said. “We’re a small community, and we’ll need your prayers to get us through this.”
Uvalde is about 85 miles west of San Antonio and about 70 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
In San Antonio, the Harlandale, Edgewood and Southwest school districts announced on Tuesday that all schools would see increased security measures, including more security officers.
The San Antonio Police Department said it was sending resources to assist with the investigation, including members of SWAT and crime scene investigators.
‘We have to act’
President Joe Biden ordered flags at the White House and other government buildings to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the Uvalde shooting.
In an address to the nation on Tuesday evening, Biden said he hoped he wouldn’t have to speak about another school shooting when he took office. He challenged lawmakers to stand up to the gun manufacturers and their allies.
“As a nation we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said. “When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done? I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t’ tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”
Biden didn’t outline a specific proposal or mention a forthcoming executive action he’d take to curb gun violence. But he told lawmakers who are standing in the way of gun-control laws that the nation will remember who they are.
“It’s time to turn this pain into action for every parent, for every citizen of this country. We have to make it very clear to every elected official in this country it’s time to act,” he said. “It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or block the common sense gun laws, we need to let you know that we will not forget. We can do so much more.”
Biden, who was traveling back to the U.S. from Asia when he received news of the shooting, said that the nation stood out for its mass shootings in a world where mental health and other issues are also prevalent.
“What struck me was these kinds of mass shootings rarely happens anywhere else in the world. Why? They have mental health problems, they have domestic disputes in other countries, they have people who are lost,” he said. “But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
The Texas Newsroom’s Sergio Martinez-Beltran, Julian Aguilar and Becky Fogel contributed to this report.