The death toll from the shooting at a Texas elementary school has risen to 19 children and two adults. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said he was briefed by state police on the latest fatalities at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a heavily Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Three people wounded in the attack are hospitalized in serious condition.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.
Police said the gunman, an 18-year-old man, was killed at Robb Elementary.
President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday night shortly after returning to the White House from a five-day trip to Asia that was bookended by the “horrific” mass tragedy. Biden was on Air Force One on Tuesday afternoon when officials revealed details about the shooting.
President Biden said on Tuesday night, "These kinds of mass shootings never happen with the frequency that they happen in America." He said, "Why do we keep letting this happen?"
“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know needs to be done?” Biden asked.
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?” Biden said, adding later, “It’s time to act.”
President Biden called Gov. Abbott to offer assistance from the federal government after the shooting, the White House announced in a tweet.
President Biden just spoke with Governor Abbott to offer any and all assistance he needs in the wake of the horrific shooting in Uvalde, TX. pic.twitter.com/u3yMHFtcJJ— Kate Bedingfield (@WHCommsDir) May 24, 2022
Biden had departed for Asia last week just two days after he met with victims’ families after a hate-motivated shooter killed 10 Black people at a Buffalo grocery store. The back-to-back tragedies served as a sobering reminder of the frequency and brutality of the American epidemic of mass gun violence.
Abbott said the gunman shot his grandmother before going into the school. Abbott added that the shooter had a handgun and that it was possible he had a rifle. It's believed the gunman acted alone.
The governor said the shooter was a student at Uvalde High School and a U.S. citizen.
Department of Homeland Security Spokesperson Marsha Espinosa praised Border Patrol agents who responded to the scene in a tweet on Tuesday writing, “Risking their own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives.”
Risking their own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives.— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) May 25, 2022
Gov. Abbott instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Rangers to assist local authorities in investigating the shooting. Robb Elementary has classes for children in 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was briefed on the situation, Espinosa said. The Department of Homeland Security offered up its full support.
.@SecMayorkas has been briefed on the shooting in #Uvalde, TX. @CBP immediately responded to the scene to provide support, including medical aid. DHS is actively coordinating with federal, state, and local partners, and will continue to provide the Department’s full support.— Marsha (Catron) Espinosa (@MCatronDHS) May 24, 2022
Earlier in the day after President Biden's staff announced that he had been briefed on the situation the Biden press office released a statement.
"His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Biden ordered that flags be flown at half-staff out of respect for the victims of the school shooting.