The Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed to The Texas Tribune that 18 children and three adults are dead after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County on Tuesday. Others were also injured.
“My heart is broken today,” Superintendent Hal Harrell said while holding back tears during a press conference Tuesday evening. “We’re a small community and we need your prayers to get through this.”
Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter is dead and is believed to have been killed by responding officers. The shooter acted alone, said Pete Arredondo, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District chief of police.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
Two hospitals in the area are treating those injured in the shooting. Uvalde Memorial Hospital told The Texas Tribune it had received 13 children and one adult from ambulances and buses. Two patients arrived at the hospital dead. Two children have since been transferred to San Antonio for treatment, while a third is pending transfer.
University Health in San Antonio had said it was providing care for two patients connected to the shooting. The 66-year-old woman and the 10-year-old girl are in critical condition.
Abbott identified the shooter as Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident. The man abandoned his vehicle and entered Robb Elementary with a handgun and possibly a rifle, the governor said. The shooting started around 11:32 a.m., Arredondo said.
Abbott also said that Ramos reportedly shot his grandmother before going into the school. No other details were immediately available on that shooting.
Uvalde is about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting and has spoken with Abbott to offer his assistance, White House officials said.
Robb Elementary teaches second, third and fourth grade students. The school had 535 students in the 2020-2021 school year, most of them Hispanic and considered economically disadvantaged. Uvalde itself is a predominantly Hispanic town.
Students were transported to the city’s civic center, and parents have been cleared to pick up their children. Earlier Tuesday, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had placed all campuses under lockdown after gunshots were fired in the area.
With Tuesday’s shooting, there have been eight shootings in Texas since 2009 in which at least four victims were killed. It is among the deadliest school shootings in the state, and the Associated Press reports it is the deadliest at a public school since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Eighteen people were killed in the University of Texas tower shooting in 1966. Ten people were killed and 13 others were injured southeast of Houston in the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting.
Abbott, along with former President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, is scheduled to talk Friday at the National Rifle Association’s 2022 annual meeting. Politico reported that a spokesperson for U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said he wouldn’t attend the meeting, citing an unexpected change in his schedule that occurred before the Uvalde shooting.
Alexa Ura contributed to this story.
This is a continuing story. For more updates, please go to The Texas Tribune
This story was published earlier by The Texas Tribune, which has a partnership with the nonprofit States Newsroom network that includes the Florida Phoenix.