A shooter killed at least 18 students and a teacher Tuesday morning at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Authorities said the gunman may have been carrying multiple weapons when he entered the school, located about 83 miles west of San Antonio.
“It is believed that he abandoned his vehicle, then entered into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a handgun, and he may have also had a rifle,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference shortly after the tragedy.
The shooter, identified as a 18-year-old man, is also dead and is believed to have been shot and killed by law enforcement responding to the scene. (The Daily Signal chooses to avoid naming mass shooters.)
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
There are reports that the gunman shot his grandmother first before going to the elementary school and taking the lives of at least 19 people.
“Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde,” Abbott said in a written statement, adding that he and his wife are grieving with the affected families:
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.
Abbott said his job, and the job of those investigating the shooting, is to address exactly what happened at the scene of the crime, and then to do everything possible to ensure another tragedy like this does not occur again.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, responded to the incident on Twitter, writing that he and his wife were “fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde.”
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed on the shooting Tuesday afternoon and flags at the White House were lowered to half-staff.
Biden addressed the nation Tuesday night, shortly after arriving back at the White House following his trip to Asia.
“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” Biden said, but added that we do know the tragic reality that there are now “parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them, parents who will never be the same.”
“To lose a child,” Biden said, “is like having a piece of your soul ripped away.”
The president called on the nation to pray for the families who lost loved ones before taking a portion of his seven-minute speech to condemn gun violence and the “gun lobby.”
“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden asked.
The president recounted the tragic school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, resulting in the death of 26 people, saying he is “sick and tired” of such horrific incidents.
“We have to act, and don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage,” Biden said. “I spent my career as a senator and as vice president working to pass commonsense gun laws. We can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy, but we know they work and have positive impact.”
Biden specifically spoke about regulating firearms that he called assault weapons, saying “gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”
The president, with the first lady standing behind him, concluded his remarks by again asking the nation to pray for those affected by the tragedy.
“God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day,” he said. “And may the Lord be near to the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit, because they’re going to need a lot of help, a lot of our prayers.”
This article has been updated since publication to include Biden’s remarks and the most recent number of victims.
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