Texas school shooting: 19 students, two teachers killed

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott identified the suspect as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos who was killed by police officers at the scene.

 People react outside the Sgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting in Uvalde, Texas, US May 24, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)
People react outside the Sgt Willie de Leon Civic Center, where students had been transported from Robb Elementary School after a shooting in Uvalde, Texas, US May 24, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MARCO BELLO)

19 students and two teachers were gunned down by a teenager in a Texas elementary school on Tuesday. 

The shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by police officers responding to the scene at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, located 80 miles west of San Antonio and 54 miles away from the Mexico border.

 A US road sign for Uvalde, Texas (credit: Wikimedia Commons) A US road sign for Uvalde, Texas (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

According to witness accounts, Ramos was involved in an incident that occurred near the school, and entered the school building afterward. The school enrolls about 570 children in second through fourth grades, nearly 90% of them Hispanic.

A nine-year-old boy who was shot in the leg told KENS 5 that "it sounded like fireworks." The boy is currently recovering from the attack.

Uvalde police said students were evacuated to a nearby center and asked parents to pick up their children from the disclosed location. 

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) in Texas was put under lockdown due to the incident, with the district's Twitter account stating the rest of the school district is under a "secure status."

Reactions from leaders

US President Joe Biden was immediately briefed on the Texas shooting, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. He addressed the nation about it Tuesday night. 

In his speech, Biden said the idea that an 18-year-old can buy assault weapons is wrong. He urged Americans to stand up to the gun lobby and pressure members of Congress to pass sensible gun laws. 

"I hoped when I became president I would not have to do this, again," Biden said, decrying the death of "beautiful, innocent" second, third and fourth graders in "another massacre."

Their parents "will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them," he said.

"As a nation, we have to ask, 'When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?'"

"We have to act," he said and suggested reinstating the assault weapons ban and other "common-sense gun laws."

Biden was aboard Air Force One returning from a trip to Asia when the shooting happened. He ordered flags flown at half-staff until sunset daily until May 28 in observance of the tragedy.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the Texas school shooting, the worst school massacre in the United States for nearly a decade.

"I would like to express my condolences to all of the relatives and family members of the children who were killed in the awful shooting in a Texas elementary school," Zelensky said as he addressed an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos via video link.

"It is terrible to have shooting victims during peaceful times."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

The motive for Tuesday's massacre in Texas, the latest in a string of seemingly random mass shootings that have become commonplace in the US, was not immediately known. Ten days ago, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. 

The event also took place nearly a decade after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 26 people, 20 of them children. The Uvalde shooting is the deadliest US elementary school shooting since.