From The Texas Newsroom:
The gunman who shot and killed 19 children and two adults in a Uvalde elementary school locked himself in just one classroom full of fourth graders and began firing, law enforcement officials said.
The Associated Press reported that officers eventually broke into the classroom and killed the gunman, who has been identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that Ramos was a Uvalde native.
Authorities also said that all the victims have been identified, though it’s unclear if their identities have been made public. Some of the families of those that have been identified have described their lost loved ones as beautiful and bright-eyed children who were “full of life.” They include Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old whose mother told him she was proud of him just hours before the shooting, The Washington Post reported. A photo provided to the newspaper shows Lopez holding a certificate proclaiming he made the honor roll.
“He loved any activity in which he could be creative and especially get to draw,” Lopez’s mother, Felicha Martinez, told The Washington Post.
Amerie Jo Garza, also 10, was identified by her father as one of the victims after he pleaded for help finding her on social media, CNN reported.
“Thank you everyone for the prayers and help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted,” he posted.
The shooting came just three days before the National Rifle Association is scheduled to have its annual meeting in Houston, the first for the organization since the pandemic. The lineup of speakers includes former President Donald Trump, Abbott and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. U.S. John Cornyn was also scheduled but withdrew due to a scheduling conflict.
Former El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee challenging Abbott this November, implored Abbott to cancel his appearance in the wake of the shooting in Uvalde.
“Governor Abbott, if you have any decency, you will immediately withdraw from this weekend’s NRA convention and urge them to hold it anywhere but Texas,” O’Rourke tweeted.
The offices of Abbott or Cruz have not confirmed to The Texas Newsroom if the lawmakers till plan to attend.
Cruz is one of a handful of Texas Republicans that has already defended their pro-gun policies in the wake of the shooting and the criticism from Democrats and Texans that followed.
“Inevitably when there’s a murderer of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens,” Cruz said. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective.”
Cruz’s comments drew a harsh rebuke from U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Arizona, who tore into the senator on Twitter.
“F**k you @tedcruz you care about a fetus but you will let our children get slaughtered. Just get your ass to Cancun. You are useless,” he tweeted.
On Wednesday, representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizen, or LULAC, were in Uvalde. David Cruz, the organization’s spokesperson, said it will continue to push for gun-control measures in the wake of the shooting.
“Who has to die before they realize that action has to occur. That is the question that I would ask. Is it because it isn’t their child being claimed. I don’t know,” he told Texas Public Radio.
David Cruz said LULAC has established a fund to help the victims’ families and the community like they did after the shooting at an El Paso Walmart that killed 23 people.
Sen. Cruz, Gov. Abbott, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick are scheduled to speak to reporters at 12:30 pm in Uvalde.