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Texas school shooting: Biden calls for 'action' on gun laws after 19 children, 2 teachers are killed

More than a dozen other people, including children and law enforcement officers, were also injured.

Coverage on this live blog has ended. Please click here for the latest updates.

New details emerged Wednesday about the 18-year-old who opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 students and two teachers.

The gunman was fatally shot by law enforcement officers responding to the shooting at the grade school in Uvalde, about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden again called on Congress to pass gun reform legislation. He said he believes gun reforms can be passed that would have a “significant impact” on the amount of violence with “no negative impact on the Second Amendment.”

Meanwhile, Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor, interrupted Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's news conference Wednesday, telling him that the shooting was “totally predictable” and that he was “doing nothing.”

561d ago / 6:37 AM UTC
561d ago / 6:24 AM UTC

Teacher killed in school shooting remembered as ‘amazing’

One of the teachers who was killed by a gunman who attacked the Robb Elementary School in Texas was remembered as a kind educator protective of her students.

Marisela Villalobos, who used to work at Robb Elementary, said that her son was also taught by the slain teacher, Irma Garcia.

“My son had a hard time going to school. She would buy him Happy Meals and take him Happy Meals, and he would have lunch with her at school,” Villalobos told MSNBC near a memorial in Uvalde.

“She was just amazing with him. He just loved her so much and she loved him so much,” Villalobos said.

Garcia was one of 21 people, mostly students, killed when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at the elementary school Tuesday. The gunman was killed by law enforcement, officials said. Nineteen of the victims were children.

Garcia’s son has said that a friend in law enforcement who was at the scene saw Garcia shielding her students.

Villalobos said that would not be a surprise. “That’s the type of person that she was. She was just amazing,” Villalobos said. “And I just can’t believe this.”  

561d ago / 5:31 AM UTC

A city's grief captured

The editors of the Uvalde Leader-News captured the mood of their shattered Texas city in the Wednesday edition of the paper published the day after an 18-year-old gunman went into Robb Elementary and opened fire, killing 19 children and two teachers.

561d ago / 3:31 AM UTC
561d ago / 3:28 AM UTC

Uvalde, San Antonio, Austin host vigils for school slaying victims

Mourners in Uvalde and other Texas cities held vigils Wednesday for the 19 children and two teachers killed in Tuesday’s shooting at an elementary school.

“Our hearts are broken. We are devastated,” Pastor Tony Gruben of Baptist Temple Church said Wednesday evening at the Uvalde County Fairplex.

Vigils were also held in San Antonio and in the state capital, Austin.

In San Antonio, around 80 miles to the east, a crying woman distributed flowers and balloons to the mourners who gathered at San Fernando Cathedral.

“We’re here for Uvalde,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “We’re here to be a witness to the collective trauma.”

Read the full story here.

561d ago / 12:51 AM UTC

For one teacher in Uvalde, it was ‘the longest 35 minutes of my life’

Her students had been watching a Disney movie Tuesday morning as part of their year-end celebration. When she heard gunfire explode down the hall, she knew exactly what it was. She shouted for her kids to get under their desks and sprinted to lock her classroom door.

The children did exactly as they were told, she said.

“They’ve been practicing for this day for years,” the Robb Elementary School teacher said, referring to the active shooter exercises that have become as much a fixture of public education in America as math, science and reading. “They knew this wasn’t a drill. We knew we had to be quiet or else we were going to give ourselves away.”

Read the full story here.

561d ago / 11:55 PM UTC

Parkland survivor David Hogg 'cautiously optimistic' after meetings with senators

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David Hogg, who became a gun safety advocate after he survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, said Wednesday he hopes Congress can pass "impactful legislation" in the near future.

Speaking to NBC News after meetings with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Hogg said he was feeling "cautiously optimistic" there would be some action.

“We’re going to do impactful legislation, and we’re going to work to figure out who we can work with, with Republicans, in order to actually get something done. Because the reality is we know what we disagree on. We need to talk about what we can agree on, because kids are dying every day," Hogg said. "We can’t wait. We can’t afford to wait.”

He said he plans to apply pressure to lawmakers from the inside, and with summer break approaching, he expects young people will apply pressure to lawmakers from the outside. “So lots of good trouble coming,” he said.

561d ago / 10:54 PM UTC

Senate gun talks center on red flag laws after Texas school shooting


WASHINGTON — Democrats want votes on bills that would expand background checks for gun purchases. Republicans say better security measures could harden schools against violent attacks.

But a day after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school, a small group of Democrats and Republicans expressed hope that they might be able to find common ground elsewhere: federal red flag legislation.

So-called red or yellow flag laws, already on the books in some states, allow authorities to temporarily seize firearms from people who are found to be dangers to themselves or others.

A handful of Senate Democrats and Republicans kicked off informal talks Wednesday about what — if anything — lawmakers could agree on to stop the proliferation of mass shootings after a decade of inaction on Capitol Hill.

Read the full story here.

561d ago / 10:29 PM UTC

Students were celebrating. Then came a day of horror.

The academic term at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, was coming to a close, and celebration was in the air.

In neon-colored Facebook posts, Robb administrators announced lively events, like field trips and classroom parties. High school seniors dropped by Monday to give high fives. Tuesday was shaping up to be especially festive: “Footloose and Fancy,” a chance to wear “fun/fancy shoes,” and “Awards Day,” a commemoration of achievement.

Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old fourth grade student with jet-black hair and wise eyes, accepted an honor roll award Tuesday morning. He held up his paper certificate and posed for photos in front of pink and red balloons.

Jose Flores, another 10-year-old fourth grader, accepted his honor roll certificate with a wide, toothy grin, standing proudly under a black-and-white banner that said, “ROBB 22.” 

Hours later, Xavier and Jose were dead. 

Read the full story here.

561d ago / 9:06 PM UTC

Livestreaming app Yubo says it is investigating an account possibly linked to gunman

A livestreaming platform called Yubo said it is investigating an account that could have been used by Salvador Ramos. Screenshots of a Yubo user profile believed to be Ramos' were disseminated on Twitter and TikTok.

“We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable loss and are fully cooperating with law enforcement on their investigation," a representative for Yubo said in an emailed statement. "At this stage, we are not legally able to release any specific user information outside of direct requests from law enforcement, but can confirm that we are investigating an account that has since been banned from the platform.”

Yubo, which has 50 million users worldwide, allows users to livestream themselves over audio and video with up to 10 other people. Yubo, which is largely used by teenagers, tripled its audience during the pandemic.

561d ago / 9:00 PM UTC

Satire outlet The Onion reposts same mass shooting story 20 times

The satirical newspaper The Onion covered its entire home page on Wednesday with over 20 versions of the same mass shooting headline and article reading “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” 

Only the location, main image and victim count is updated in each version, which is repeated identically for every mass shooting since the 2014 Isla Vista killings in California.

The same quote by a fake resident is also used in each iteration: “This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” the person says. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.”

The Onion also started a Twitter thread reposting each version of the piece. 

561d ago / 8:58 PM UTC

Justice of the Peace Eulalio Diaz breaks down recounting having to identify the bodies of 19 children

Image: Constable David Valdez embraces Uvalde Justice of the Peace Eulalio Diaz as Diaz breaks down recounting having to identify the bodies of 19 children in Uvalde, Texas.
Omar Ornelas / El Paso Times via USA-Today Network
561d ago / 8:57 PM UTC

Biden: 'Second Amendment’s not absolute'

Biden on Wednesday called on Congress once again to pass gun reform legislation.

“We must ask, when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done?” Biden said at an event marking the signing of a new executive order aimed at police reform.

“I’m sick and tired. I’m just sick and tired of what’s going on and continues to go on,” he added, saying that he would travel to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families affected by Tuesday's shooting.

He said he believes gun reforms can be passed that would have a "significant impact" on the amount of violence with "no negative impact on the Second Amendment."

"Second Amendment’s not absolute," he added.

561d ago / 8:52 PM UTC

American Federation of Teachers: 'We are reeling, again'

The American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest teacher's labor union in the U.S., called for gun control measures in the wake of the Uvalde massacre.

"We are reeling, again," AFT president Randi Weingarten said. "Every parent and every educator in America is asking themselves the same question today—and we all need to find better answers for our kids.

"You cannot harden schools enough to stop a maniac armed cloaked in body armor wielding weapons of war. The one thing we aren’t doing is getting guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them," she went on to say.

Every other country that has dealt with a massacre like this has enacted sensible gun law reform aimed toward prevention—Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands," Weingarten said. "We know what to do, and we need to act now."

561d ago / 8:51 PM UTC

Hoyer says he will bring 'red flag' bill to House floor in June

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., called on Congress to do more to end gun violence, saying in a statement posted to Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he planned to bring a measure introduced by Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., to the House floor "during the first week of the June work period."

The bill, which would establish a “red flag” law, would allow federal courts to issue extreme risk protection orders that would bar a person from buying, possessing, or receiving a firearm or ammunition if they are deemed to pose a threat to themselves or others. McBath's bill passed the House judiciary committee in October last year.

561d ago / 7:37 PM UTC

Little League shares condolences

A statement from Little League, which includes Little League Baseball, Little League Softball, and Little League Challenger Division, said it "joins the world in mourning the innocent lives lost" in Tuesday's elementary school shooting.

"The horrific tragedy claimed so many lives, many of whom were also members of the Little League family, largely in Uvalde Little League," the statement said.

562d ago / 7:31 PM UTC

NRA shares 'sympathies' days before annual conference in Texas

In a statement, the National Rifle Association shared "sympathies" with the families of the victims of Tuesday's elementary school shooting in Uvalde.

"Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged individual," the NRA said in a statement. "As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure."

The NRA's annual conference will be held in Houston over the weekend, three days and less than 300 miles from the massacre.

The 18-year-old shooter brought two legally-purchased automatic rifles to Robb Elementary School, one inside and killed 19 students and two teachers with the other.

Former President Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, all Republicans, are expected to speak at the conference.

562d ago / 7:22 PM UTC
562d ago / 7:20 PM UTC

Trump to speak at NRA event in Texas days after school shooting

Former President Donald Trump said Wednesday he’ll still speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Texas on Friday, days after a mass shooting at an elementary school in the state left at least 19 students and two teachers dead.

In a post on his social media platform, Truth Social, Trump said he would be keeping his “longtime commitment” to speak at the event in Houston because the country needs “real solutions and real leadership in this moment.”

Others scheduled to speak at the event include Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Kristi Noem of South Dakota as well as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Read the full story here.

562d ago / 7:16 PM UTC

Snapchat investigating account possibly linked to Uvalde gunman

The parent company of Snapchat said Wednesday it was looking into what activity if any the Uvalde gunman had on the social media and messaging app.

A spokesperson for Snap said in a statement that the company was investigating an account that may have been associated with the shooter and that the company was in active contact with law enforcement authorities to support their investigation.

562d ago / 7:15 PM UTC

Prayer vigil scheduled for Wednesday night

The Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced Wednesday that a prayer vigil would be held at 7 p.m. local time at the Uvalde County Fairplex Arena.

The arena has been serving as a victims' services center and site for loved ones to be reunited with students.

562d ago / 7:06 PM UTC

First lady says she and President Biden will visit Texas following shooting

First lady Jill Biden said Wednesday that she and President Joe Biden will visit Texas after the mass shooting at an elementary school there that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

"Of course we are going to visit Texas," the first lady said in response to a reporter's question about whether they would make a trip. She briefly commented on the shooting during an event at Washington Dulles International Airport on efforts to import baby formula amid product shortages.

“Let us also pray to use the will and courage God gives each of us to act united with common sense to protect our children,” she said.

562d ago / 6:46 PM UTC

Residents embrace inside a church in Uvalde

Residents embrace inside a church in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday.
Eric Thayer / Bloomberg via Getty Images
562d ago / 6:38 PM UTC

Deputy sheriff lost daughter in school shooting, gunman killed by Border Patrol agent

Gov. Greg Abbott provided a breakdown of the events leading up to the Robb Elementary shooting.

He said that gunman shot his grandmother in the face and when she called police, he fled. He later got into an accident by the elementary school and ran inside. Officers working at the school approached the gunman and he entered a backdoor and from there entered a classroom that was internally connected to another classroom. That's where he opened fire. 

Officers from multiple agencies converged on that class room and “a Border Patrol officer killed the gunman,” Abbott said. 

He said three officers were injured, who remain in good condition.

"One deputy sheriff lost a daughter in that school," he added.

562d ago / 6:32 PM UTC

Meta responds to Uvalde school shooter 'warning sign' Facebook posts

Shortly after Gov. Greg Abbott said the gunman who opened fire at Robb Elementary shared warning sign posts on Facebook, a spokesperson for Meta said those posts were made in “private one-on-one text messages.”

Andy Stone, spokesperson for Meta, said on Twitter Wednesday afternoon: "The messages Gov. Abbott described were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred."

"We are closely cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation."

562d ago / 6:07 PM UTC

Gunman purchased rifle, ammunition within four days

Officials said that the gunman was a high school dropout who lived with his 66-year-old grandmother. 

Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said at the Wednesday news conference that gunman Salvador Ramos purchased a semiautomatic rifle at a local sporting goods store on March 17.

The following day he purchased over 375 rounds of ammunition for the rifle. On March 20 he purchased another semi-automatic rifle at that same store. 

562d ago / 5:55 PM UTC

Beto O'Rourke confronts Gov. Abbott during news conference

Beto O'Rourke, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor, approached the stage during Gov. Greg Abbott's news conference Wednesday, confronting him over the Robb Elementary School shooting.

O'Rourke told Abbott that the shooting was "totally predictable" and that he was "doing nothing."

O'Rourke was met by several expletives from the stage, with someone calling him a “sick son of a b----" as he was escorted out by police.

562d ago / 5:49 PM UTC

Gunman in school shooting posted social media warnings, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the gunman who opened fire at Robb Elementary School had no known mental health history.

Abbott said at a news conference that the shooter used an AR-15 in the attack and a total of 17 people were injured in the shooting but they are considered non-life-threatening injuries.

That's in addition to the 19 children and two teachers killed.

Abbott said "there was no meaningful forewarning of this crime" other than three social media posts on Facebook.

Abbott said the shooter first posted 30 minutes before reaching the school: The first post was about intending to shoot his grandmother, the second saying he shot his grandmother, and third about intending to shoot an elementary school. The final post was made less than 15 minutes before arriving at the school.

562d ago / 5:13 PM UTC

School appears to be intended target; no known motive, sources say

The Robb Elementary School appears to have been the intended target in Tuesday's mass shooting, senior local and federal law enforcement officials briefed by Texas authorities told NBC News Wednesday.

So far there is no known motive behind the shooting, sources told NBC News.

The sources said that shooter Salvador Rolando Ramos appeared to have no prior adult criminal history. He possessed two AR-15-style long rifles — a Smith & Wesson M&P15 and a Daniel Defense DDM V7 — both purchased legally after his 18th birthday. 

One of the rifles was used in the shooting. The gunman apparently took only one of the weapons into the school and left the other outside. 

562d ago / 5:05 PM UTC

Students Demand Action member says pupils are 'frustrated with the inability to create change’

Yet another school mass shooting has left students across the nation “frustrated with the inability to create change,” Ade Osadolor-Hernandez, a national advisory board member of Students Demand Action, a gun violence prevention group, said on MSNBC Wednesday. 

“We need more than thoughts and prayers. We need to demand action,” Osadolor-Hernandez said, pointing out a "lack of response from policymakers."

She noted that Latinx people are twice as likely to die by gun homicide, and Latinx children and teens three times as likely compared to white peers. 

In 2020, guns were the leading cause of death among children and teens in the U.S.

Students are “extremely driven for change and extremely passionate to create safer communities,” she said, concluding “although this is a very tragic moment, we are gathering and trying to impact our communities in the best way that we possibly can.”

562d ago / 4:28 PM UTC

Chart: 8 years of shootings through May

The Uvalde shooting is the latest in an accelerating trend of deadly shootings in the past 8 years.

562d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Connecticut Gov. says 'Here we are again,” nearly 10 years after Sandy Hook

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, addressed the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting Wednesday, nearly a decade after a similar tragedy, the Sandy Hook massacre that killed 26 in 2012, scarred his state.

“Here we are again,” he said. “What you saw happen in Texas yesterday, almost 10 years to the month that it happened at Sandy Hook, and there are too many eerie similarities."

“I love America, but this should not be our curse. What can we do?” he asked.

He noted his state focuses on mental health resources, particularly in schools, as well as background checks for gun purchases to help curb gun violence.

"It does make a difference. Down in Georgia and Texas, where it’s much easier to carry a gun, much more people carry a gun, you don’t need a background check — and the number of shootings and the number of homicides and mass shootings are up by a factor of three, four five times than what it is in our state,” he said.

He urged the public to "look out for each other," saying, "sometimes a shoulder to lean on and someone to say 'I love you' is what's the most necessary."

562d ago / 3:25 PM UTC

Texas state senator recalls 'uncontrollable crying' at reunification center

Texas state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat who represents the area of Uvalde, said Wednesday on MSNBC, “It has been an incredibly hard 24 hours."

He described seeing the families of Robb Elementary students huddled together, praying as they awaited news of their children at the reunification center Tuesday. 

“I went to the reunification center and I saw families waiting to hear whether their child was dead or alive. As people were informed that their child was deceased you heard uncontrollable crying," he recalled. 

He broke down in tears recalling hugging his daughters Wednesday morning before they headed off for school. 

“And I started to think about the 19 parents that weren’t going to get to send their kids off to school anymore.”

He said the wounds of the shooting will remain with the community for a long time, just as with the Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooting in 2017.

Gutierrez said he “feels powerless” when it comes to passing gun reform in the Republican-controlled state Legislature, adding, "We try and we try and we can’t get a modicum of gun sense."

562d ago / 3:05 PM UTC
Image: A "Pray for Uvalde" sign in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.
A "Pray for Uvalde" sign in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday.Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News
562d ago / 2:58 PM UTC

Broward County sheriff says Uvalde shooting 'jogs up the memories' of Parkland massacre

Broward County, Florida, Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a press conference Wednesday that the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, reminded him of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17.

"For every single time one of these school shootings or active shooter events occur in the United States, it jogs up the memories of our own tragedy and creates a level of fear and uncertainty in our communities," Tony said.

He explained that he feels frustrated with “where we are in society.”

“We also need to start focusing on putting the pressures on our elected officials. This is not the first time for us as a country, not our first journey down this dark path. Unfortunately we are all educated enough to know this won’t be our last time," he said.

He called for universal background checks and improved database systems tracking gun incidents and purchases.

562d ago / 2:10 PM UTC

Off-duty border agent involved in killing gunman, sources say


An off-duty Customs and Border Protection agent with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) was involved in killing the suspect in the Uvalde school shooting, two law enforcement sources said.

The agent entered the school with two local law enforcement officers while the shooting was still active. They approached the shooter as he fired from behind a barricade and were able to “eliminate the threat," killing him.

The CBP agent was shot and wounded in the process, but not fatally, the two law enforcement sources said.

The agent is part of CBP’s Del Rio sector, which includes Uvalde.

Many border agents live in the Uvalde area and have ties to the school. BORTAC’s training mirrors that of U.S. special forces and agents handle threats from riots at ICE detention facilities to terror threats abroad. 

Additionally, a DHS spokeswoman said Tuesday night that both on and off-duty CBP officers arrived at the scene to transfer students to safety. 

562d ago / 2:07 PM UTC

Texas Gov. Abbott to update response to school shooting

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to provide an update Wednesday afternoon on the state's response to Tuesday's deadly school shooting in Uvalde.

Abbott, a Republican, will hold a news conference following a briefing on the school shooting at Robb Elementary School at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde at 12:30 p.m. local time, or 1:30 p.m. ET., his office said in a news release. 

The governor is expected to be joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick; Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan; Republican Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz; and other politicians and officials.

Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez; Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo; and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw are also expected to be in attendance.

562d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

Texas AG Ken Paxton calls for training teachers to 'help defend' schools

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has called for a program to train teachers to "help defend" schools in the wake of Tuesday's deadly school shooting in Uvalde.

Speaking in a phone interview on Fox Business on Wednesday, Paxton said he was headed to the city, west of San Antonio, to "assess all the ways that we can help each of these families that has suffered so tragically yesterday.”

Paxton, a Republican, said he believed there should be "a program in Texas that allows teachers, school districts to train teachers to help defend the school as well." He suggested bringing in trained police officers to help.

"You know, we’re sending $40 billion to the Ukraine," he said, referring to an aid package passed in Senate on Thursday. "We can surely — we can defend the children in our school and bring in trained police officers to help do that," he said.

562d ago / 1:35 PM UTC

562d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

University Hospital shares update on conditions of shooting victims

University Hospital, in San Antonio, updated the conditions of four patients received from the Robb Elementary School shooting.

A 66-year-old woman and 10-year-old girl previously listed in critical condition are in serious condition as of Wednesday morning. A 10-year-old girl remains in good condition, and a 9-year-old girl previously in fair condition is now in good condition. 

The hospital noted that all pediatric patients have their families with them. 

Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 patients, 11 of whom were described as children ages 8 to 10, CEO Tom Nordwick said Tuesday evening. Four have been released, and two, a male and a female, were dead on arrival, Nordwick said.

Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston said Tuesday it was treating two adults in critical condition.

562d ago / 12:48 PM UTC

562d ago / 12:44 PM UTC

Suspect used AR-style rifle, barricaded himself in classroom with students, teachers


Salvador Rolando Ramos, suspected of killing 19 children and two teachers in a mass shooting Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, barricaded himself inside a classroom while he shot at students and teachers, authorities said.

Lt. Christopher Olivarez with the Texas Department of Public Safety shared more details on the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. He said on MSNBC that the shooter used an AR-style rifle and had no criminal history.

The suspect, 18, “was unemployed” with “no friends, no girlfriends we can identify,” Olivarez said. The shooter was killed when law enforcement confronted him at the school that serves second through fourth grades.

The Texas Department of Public Safety had previously said that the shooter was wearing body armor, but Olivarez said they believe he was wearing a type of vest that tactical teams use. It's not clear if the shooter added ballistic protection to the vest, he said on MSNBC.

562d ago / 12:35 PM UTC

Parkland survivor David Hogg calls for action on gun control

Parkland school shooting survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg on Wednesday expressed his condolences to the community of Uvalde, saying in an interview that "there is no way to process what happened here."

"It's shock, again and again," Hogg said on CNN.

Hogg has advocated for tighter gun control measures after he survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2019. Seventeen people were killed in that shooting.

"I think Americans are tired of the division and just debating this issue," Hogg said Wednesday. "We’ve been debating this since before I was born. I was born a year after Columbine happened and I am now here talking to you.

"The time for debate is over," Hogg added. "The time for action was yesterday and now we need to act."

562d ago / 12:26 PM UTC

After Texas school shooting, Ukraine’s leaders see shared pain in loss of young lives

As the devastation brought to their own country continued to mount on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials saw parallels in the pain of young lives lost after the latest mass shooting to hit the United States.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences to those affected by the massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — and also appeared to draw allusions to the growing loss of life inflicted by Russia’s invasion.

In an address via video link at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Zelenskyy empathized with the sudden loss of young lives during what should be a “peaceful time.”

“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 an elementary school in Texas,” Zelenskyy said. “As of this time, as far as I know, 21 people were killed, including 19 children.”

“Absolutely innocent children are being murdered in an absolutely peaceful time,” Zelenskyy said as other Ukrainian officials joined him in sharing their condolences over the deadly school shooting.

Read the full story here.

562d ago / 12:16 PM UTC

Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey on school shooting: ‘This is an epidemic we can control’

Actor Matthew McConaughey called on Americans to “re-evaluate” after a mass shooting at an elementary school in his hometown, Uvalde, killed at least 19 children and two teachers.

In a statement published to Twitter Tuesday night, McConaughey wrote: “This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better.”

The "Dallas Buyers Club" star urged all Americans to “re-evaluate and re-negotiate our wants from our needs” as Texas witnessed its deadliest school shooting since 2012.

“Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedom grant us," he said.

562d ago / 12:04 PM UTC

Fourth grader was shot while dialing 911, grandmother says

Amerie Jo Garza, a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School, "died a Hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates,” her grandmother Berlinda Irene Arreola told The Daily Beast.

Arreola said authorities and survivors told her that the gunman told the students, "you're going to die." Amerie Jo grabbed her phone to call police. "And instead of grabbing it and breaking it or taking it from her, he shot her. She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood," Arreola said.

Amerie Jo had, earlier in the day, received a certificate for making the honor roll, according to The Daily Beast. Hours later, her stepfather pleaded on social media for help in finding Amerie Jo. Not too long later, he returned to post another update.

"She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo. Watch over your baby brother for me," he wrote.

562d ago / 11:38 AM UTC

Ted Cruz faces backlash over response to school shooting: 'You can do more than pray'

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is facing backlash over his response to the elementary school shooting that killed at least 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

The Republican senator, who said in a tweet he is praying for the victims and affected families, faced swift backlash on Twitter over his support for gun rights and for blocking measures on gun reform.

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat, criticized Cruz, a Republican, over plans to speak at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting set to take place three days after the deadly mass shooting.

“Aren’t you slated to headline a speaking gig for the NRA in three days — in Houston, no less?” Ocasio-Cortez said. “You can do more than pray. Faith without works is dead.”

Speaking to a reporter after the shooting, Cruz said that restricting gun ownership would not “prevent crimes.” He said the effective solution is “going after felons and fugitives and those with serious mental illness."

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee adviser Kurt Bardella also criticized the senator, writing in a tweet: "Ted Cruz received $300k from the pro-gun crowd."

Gun control advocacy group Giffords said that Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, also a Republican, have persistently voted against gun reforms in Texas. 

Cruz, former President Donald Trump and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are scheduled to speak at the NRA's annual meeting this weekend in Houston.

The NRA event website welcomes “patriots for a freedom-filled weekend for the entire family as we celebrate Freedom, Firearms, and the Second Amendment!”

562d ago / 11:30 AM UTC

Calls for emergency blood donations in Uvalde

South Texas Blood and Tissue will host an emergency blood drive starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Herby Ham Activity Center in Uvalde. 

The blood center said it sent 25 units of blood to Uvalde Tuesday after news of the shooting broke out.

An initial 15 units of blood were sent via helicopter “to be available at the site of the shooting and at the area hospitals,” the center said in a statement. An additional 10 units were sent following a request to a hospital in Uvalde. 

"We will continue to work with hospitals in the area to make blood available as it’s needed and to rebuild their supply for other patients in need," the center said.

562d ago / 11:05 AM UTC

Two funeral homes will not charge families of shooting victims

In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting, two local funeral homes announced they will not charge the families of victims for funeral services. 

“We have fought together as a community and we will pull together as one now in our time of need,” Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home said in a statement

Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary said “not one family will be charged for our services.” 

“For over 60 years, we have supported Uvalde and beyond. Today, our resolve is stronger than ever. We are here for the people of Uvalde and our professionals are currently at Robb Elementary assisting law enforcement,” the funeral home said in a statement

562d ago / 10:38 AM UTC

Third grader, 3 fourth graders, 2 teachers among those killed

More details are emerging about the victims fatally shot at a Texas elementary school Tuesday, including 19 children — at least three of whom were fourth graders — and two teachers trying to protect them, according to reports.

Eva Mireles, who taught fourth grade, had been an educator for 17 years, according to her profile at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, west of San Antonio. Mireles was “trying to protect her students” from the gunman, a relative told The New York Times.

Mireles’ co-teacher, Irma Garcia, was killed, according to her son, Christian Garcia.

Eva Mireles, left, and Irma Garcia
Eva Mireles, left, and Irma GarciaRobb Elementary School via Facebook

Three fourth graders were also among the dead, relatives confirmed to news outlets.

Uziyah Garcia was identified by his aunt, Nikki Cross, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Xavier Lopez, 10, had been at an awards ceremony with his mother hours before the shooting, KSAT reported.

The father of 9-year-old Amerie Jo Garza identified her to NBC News as one of the victims. She was about to finish fourth grade, according to KSAT.

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, a third grade student was killed, family members told KHOU of Houston.

Read more about the victims of the deadly shooting here.

562d ago / 10:21 AM UTC

Warriors coach Steve Kerr rebukes lawmakers for lack of action on gun reforms

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr condemned gun violence in the United States and implored U.S. lawmakers to take action during his pre-game press conference Tuesday night.

“I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there,” Kerr said in an emotional speech following Tuesday's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Refusing to talk about basketball, Kerr, a longtime advocate of gun control, repeatedly asked the question: “When are we going to do something?” in the conference after recalling the recent Buffalo mass shooting that killed 10 people.

“There’s 50 Senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R.8, which is a background-check rule that the House passed a couple years ago," he said, referring to the H.R.8 bill, which looks to enforce more stringent background checks on people purchasing firearms. "It’s been sitting there for two years. And there’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power."

562d ago / 9:38 AM UTC

562d ago / 9:18 AM UTC

Pope Francis ‘heartbroken’ by school shooting, calls for gun control


Pope Francis said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” by the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, as he called for stronger gun control.

“I pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families,” the pontiff said, speaking at his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Calling for stronger gun controls, the pope said: “It is time to say ‘enough’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons.”

“Let us all make a commitment so that tragedies like this cannot happen again,” he said, echoing his past calls for an end to gun violence.

562d ago / 9:18 AM UTC

Zelenskyy offers condolences to victims’ families

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences on Wednesday to the families who have lost their children and loved ones in the Texas school shooting. 

In a tweet, Zelenskyy said he was “deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas.”

As the war in Ukraine raged on, he said the “the people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”