- At least 19 children and two adults have been killed after a gunman opened fire in a primary school in the US state of Texas.
- The attack was at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a small community in the south of the state, just a few days before the end of the school year.
- The gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was shot dead by police.
- US President Joe Biden has told Americans it is time to take on the gun lobby.
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Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy offers condolences to victims
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered his condolences to the relatives of the victims of the Texas school shooting.
“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,” Zelenskyy said as he addressed an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos via video link.
“This is terrible, to have victims of shooters in peaceful time,” he added.
The sports world expresses outrage over the killings
Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, urged the US Congress to mandate background checks for gun purchases before his team faced the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
“I’m fed up. I’ve had enough,” he said. “[I] want every person … listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?”
LeBron James, who plays for the LA Lakers, said: “My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX! Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously “AT SCHOOL” where it’s suppose to be the safest!”
My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX! Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously "AT SCHOOL" where it's suppose to be the safest!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 24, 2022
New York Yankees pitcher Zack Britton said: “When will we care about the protection of our children above everything else?”. “Children shouldn’t be gunned down in school. It’s absolutely unacceptable that this is continuing to happen.”
Families mourn lost loved ones as more victims identified
Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, Texas, mourned the death of her cousin, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming.
“He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today,” she told the AP news agency. “He was very bubbly, loved to dance with his brothers, his mom. This has just taken a toll on all of us.”
“We should have more restrictions, especially if these kids are not in their right state of mind and all they want to do is just hurt people, especially innocent children going to the schools,” Garza said.
‘The sweetest little boy’: Student victim named
Manny Renfro told The Associated Press that his grandson, eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia, was among those killed in the shooting.
“The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known,” Renfro said. “I’m not just saying that because he was my grandkid.”
Renfro said Uziyah last visited him in San Angelo during spring break.
“We started throwing the football together and I was teaching him pass patterns. Such a fast little boy and he could catch a ball so good,” Renfro said.
UN chief, US politicians, activists react to school shooting
The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School is the worst in the US in 10 years.
Below are some of the reactions.
I’m deeply saddened by the heinous mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas. It is particularly heart-wrenching that most of the victims are children.
My heart goes out to the families & loved ones of the victims and to the community of Uvalde.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 25, 2022
Little children and their teacher.
Stunned. Angry. Heartbroken.
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) May 24, 2022
— AFT (@AFTunion) May 25, 2022
Today, the entire state of Texas is in mourning.
*Earlier today, a gunman entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and opened fire.
*The shooting at Robb Elementary School is every parent and teacher’s worst nightmare.
— Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) May 24, 2022
Thoughts and prayers are not enough.
After years of nothing else, we are becoming a nation of anguished screams.
We simply need legislators willing to stop the scourge of gun violence in America that is murdering our children.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 24, 2022
Family grieves slain teacher Eva Mireles
the teacher who was killed in the shooting has been named as Eva Mireles. She was trained in bilingual and special education, and taught children nine to 10 years old, according to a report from Reuters.
“My beautiful cousin! Such a devastating day for us all! My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” Cristina Arizmendi Mireles wrote on Facebook.
In a short biography posted on the school district’s website, Mireles wrote she had “a supportive, fun, and loving family” including her husband, her college-graduate daughter, and “three furry friends”.
Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a police officer at the school district’s police force, the agency investigating the shootings.
Her aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado, grieved for her niece: “I’m furious that these shootings continue. These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all … I never imagined this would happen to especially loved ones,” she said in a statement.
McConnell says ‘horrified and heartbroken’ at Uvalde shooting
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has tweeted his shock at the shooting in Uvalde.
He says the entire country “is praying” for all those affected.
He doesn’t mention anything about the need for gun reform.
Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent schoolkids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.
— Leader McConnell (@LeaderMcConnell) May 24, 2022
Attacker acted alone, killed grandmother before heading to school
The gunman’s motive is not yet clear.
Ramos – who seems to have been a local man – shot his grandmother before heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had bought to celebrate his birthday.
The school district’s police chief, Pete Arredondo, said the attacker acted alone.
Another child dies from injuries after Uvalde shooting
News agencies, citing local officials, say at least 19 children were killed as the gunman went from classroom to classroom at the school.
The attacker also killed two adults, one of them confirmed to be a teacher.
The school had about 600 children aged between five and 12 years old.
‘Enough is enough’: Gun control activists demand action
Hollye Dexter, a long-term advocate for gun control, has told Al Jazeera that politicians in Congress who continue to back the gun lobby after so many mass shootings should be held to account, singling out Republicans in particular.
“This should not have happened,” she said.
“Enough is enough. We cannot be polite any more. We’ve got to call these people out for not standing up to the NRA.”
Nancy Pelosi joins call for legislative action after ‘monstrous’ shooting
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it is time for Congress to join together to enact gun control legislation after what she described as the “monstrous” shooting in Uvalde.
“Across the nation, Americans are filled with righteous fury in the wake of multiple incomprehensible mass shootings in the span of just days,” Pelosi said in a statement.
“For too long, some in Congress have offered hollow words … while opposing all efforts to save lives. It is time for all in Congress to heed the will of the American people and join in enacting the House-passed bipartisan, common-sense, life-saving legislation into law.”
Kamala Harris says it’s time for ‘courage’
Vice President Kamala Harris has called on the US to have the “courage to take action” and prevent a repeat of the mass shooting at Uvalde.
Tonight in Uvalde, Texas, there are parents who lost children. Families who have lost loved ones. And many who have been injured.
As a nation, we must have the courage to take action and prevent this from ever happening again.
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 25, 2022
‘Why are we here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?’: Senator Chris Murphy
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy has called on his fellow politicians to take action on guns.
“What are we doing?” the Democrat asked on the floor of the House.
“There are more mass shootings than days of the year. Our kids are living in fear every time they set foot in a classroom because they fear they will be next. Why are we here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?”
Biden: Time to take on the gun lobby
Biden made an impassioned plea for US elected representatives to pass “common-sense” gun control legislation.
“When, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby,” he asked.
Biden noted that it had been 10 years since he had been to Sandy Hook, where 26 people were killed, 20 of them children.
‘I’m sick and tired. We must act’: Biden
Biden opens his speech talking of the children who had watched their friends die “as if on a battlefield” and parents who will never see their children again.
“[These] parents will never be the same again,” he said. “To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped out.”
Biden, himself, lost an infant daughter in a car crash and his adult son to cancer.
He says it’s time for the US to take action. “I’m sick and tired. We have to act. Don’t tell me we cannot have an impact on this carnage.”
Biden begins his address
Texas shooting follows record year for attacks in 2021
The latest shooting comes just a week after a white gunman killed 10 Black people in a racist attack on a Buffalo supermarket.
The FBI has said 2021 was the worst year ever for gun attacks.
The Reuters news agency has compiled a list of some of the most serious recent shootings:
New York: April 12 – In one of the most violent attacks in the history of New York’s transit system, 23 people were wounded when a 62-year-old man activated a smoke bomb and opened fire on the subway. He was taken into custody the next day.
Oxford, Michigan: November 30, 2021 – Four students were killed, and seven other people were wounded after a teenager opened fire at a high school in Oxford, Michigan.
Indianapolis: April 16, 2021 – A former FedEx employee who had been under psychiatric care shot eight people dead and injured several others at an Indiana facility of the shipping company before taking his own life.
Los Angeles: March 31, 2021 – Four people were killed, one of them a child, in a shooting at an office building in suburban Los Angeles before the suspect was taken into custody.
Boulder, Colorado: March 22, 2021 – A mass shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, left 10 people dead, including a police officer.
Atlanta, Georgia: March 16, 2021 – Eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were shot dead in a string of attacks at day spas in and around Atlanta. A white male suspect was arrested.
Death toll climbs to 21: Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez
Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez has told CNN that 18 children had been killed, and three adults.
He cited the Texas Rangers state police for the figures.
‘Part of the culture’: Why the US is so attached to guns
Kenneth Williams, a professor at South Texas College of Law, says it is hard to change gun laws in the US because gun ownership is “part of the culture”.
Williams noted that there are more guns in the country than there are people.
US President Biden to address nation
US President Biden is back in the US after his visit to South Korea and Japan.
He is due to address the country at 8:15pm (00:15 GMT).
Biden has already ordered flags to be flown at half-staff until sunset every day until May 28 in response to the tragedy.