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A gunman killed 19 children at a Texas school of Top News

WALDE, Texas (AP) – An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 children as he walked from class to class, officials said, resulting in the school’s deadliest shooting in nearly ten years and the last horrific moment for a country damaged by a series of massacres. The attacker was killed by police.

According to the authorities, two adults were among the dead. Governor Greg Abbott said one of them was a teacher.

The attack at Robb Elementary School in Uwalde, which has a large number of Latinos, became the deadliest shooting at an American school after an armed man killed 20 children and six adults. Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

A few hours after the attack there were families still waiting for news about their children.

Outside the city center, where families were told to wait for news of their loved ones, the silence was repeatedly broken by shouting and crying. “No! Please don’t! ” Cried one man, embracing the other.

“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harel, head of the school district. “We are a small community and we will need your prayers to survive this.”

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside the school while the sun set, searching for information about his 10-year-old great-granddaughter Elijah Cruise Torres.

He arrived at the scene after receiving a terrible call from his daughter shortly after the first reports of the shooting. He said other relatives are in the hospital and community center.

Waiting, he said, was the hardest moment of his life.

“I hope she’s alive,” Cruz said.

The attack took place just 10 days after Fr. deadly, racist riots at a Buffalo supermarket, New York which added many years a series of massacres in churches, schools and shops. And the prospects for any reform of national gun rules seemed as bleak, if not bleak, than after Sandy Hook’s death.

But President Joe Biden proved ready for a brawl, calling for new gun restrictions in an appeal to the nation hours after the attack.

“As a nation, we have to ask if for God’s sake we will oppose the arms lobby? If in the name of God we do what needs to be done? ” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this slaughterhouse?”

Many of the wounded were taken to the Uwalde Memorial Hospital, where scrub staff and relatives of the devastated victims could be seen crying as they left the complex.

Officials did not immediately reveal the motive, but they identified the attacker as Salvador Ramas, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.

The attack came at a time when Robb Elementary School was counting down to the last days of the school year using a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy” and the students will be dressed in beautiful outfits and shoes.

The school has about 600 students in the second, third and fourth grades. The vast majority of students are Hispanic.

Ramos hinted on social media that the attack could be, according to state senator Roland Gutierrez, who said he was informed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested the children to be careful.”

Before going to school, Ramos killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased for his birthday, Gutierrez said.

“It was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said. Other officials later said the grandmother had survived and was being treated, her condition unknown.

Investigators believe Ramas posted on Instagram photos of two pistols he used in the shooting, and they investigated whether he made statements online, alluding to the attack hours before the attack, a law enforcement spokesman said.

Law enforcement officers on Tuesday night handed out several search warrants and collected phone and other records, the official said. Investigators also tried to contact Ramas’ relatives and track firearms.

The official was unable to publicly discuss the details of the investigation and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

The attack began around 11:30 a.m. when a gunman crashed his car near the school and drove into the building, according to Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Homeland Security. A resident who heard the collision called 911, and two precinct police officers shot themselves with a gunman.

Both officers were shot dead, although it was not immediately clear where the confrontation took place on campus and how much time passed before other officers arrived at the scene.

Meanwhile, groups of border service agents, including 10 to 15 members of a tactical and anti-terrorist unit similar to the special forces, rushed to the school, said Jason Owens, a senior regional border patrol official.

One of the border guards, who was working nearby when the shooting started, stormed the school without waiting for support and shot dead a gunman behind the barricade, a law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized. talk about it.

The agent was injured but was able to leave the school, a law enforcement source said.

Owens confirmed that the agent received minor injuries, but did not give details of the confrontation.

He said some area agents have children in Robb Elementary.

“We have children of border guards who go to this school. It got into the house for everyone, ”he said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were injured, but Uwalde Police Chief Pete Aredonda said there were “several injured”. Earlier, the Uwalde Memorial Hospital reported that 13 children had been taken there. Another hospital reported that the 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.

Uwalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary is located in a predominantly residential area of ​​modest homes.

The Uwalde tragedy was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and it added to the grim count in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. in five years.

In 2018, gunmen shot dead 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year earlier, a gunman at a Texas church had killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, another gunman at Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Latinos.

The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston. Abbott and both U.S. senators from Texas were among the Republican officials elected who were scheduled to speak at Friday’s Leaders’ Forum, sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying unit.

In the years since Sandy Hook, the debate over gun control in Congress has grown and weakened. Lawmakers ’efforts to substantially change U.S. gun policy are constantly facing obstacles from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.

A year after Sandy Hook, Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Patrick J. Tumi, a Republican from Pennsylvania, discussed a bipartisan proposal to expand the country’s history verification system. But the measure failed during a Senate vote, not receiving enough support to overcome the 60-vote barrier.

Then-President Barack Obama, who made gun control central to his administration’s aftermath of the Newtown shooting, called Congress’ refusal to act “a rather disgraceful day for Washington.”

Last year, the House of Representatives passed two bills to expand the inspection of firearms purchases. One bill would close the loophole for private and online sales. Another would extend the verification period of the certificate. Both were bored in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome the writer’s objections.

Eugene Garcia and Daria Lopez-Mills in Uwalde, Jake Blaiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox, Michael Balsam and Eric Tucker in Washington, Paul J. Weber in Austin, Juan Lausanne in Houston, Gene Johnson in Seattle and Ronda Schaffner in New York this report.

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