Texas School Shooting: Salvador Ramos Killed Victims in Single Classroom

The 19 children and two teachers massacred at a South Texas elementary school were in a single fourth-grade classroom where the gunman barricaded himself, authorities said on Wednesday of the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade.

Police circled Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, breaking windows in an effort to evacuate children and staff, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Chris Olivarez said. Officers eventually breached the classroom and killed the gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos.

Ramos began his rampage by shooting his grandmother at home. He then drove to the nearby school where he crashed his car and entered the building wearing tactical gear and carrying a rifle, authorities said. His grandmother survived but is in critical condition. Investigators hope she can shed light on a motive for the shooting.

Multiple children were also injured, Olivarez noted, though he did not have an exact tally.

The attack came 10 days after an avowed white supremacist shot 13 people at a supermarket in a mostly Black neighborhood of Buffalo.

Biden ordered flags flown at half-staff daily until sunset on Saturday in observance of the tragedy.

“I am sick and tired of it. We have to act,” Biden, a Democrat, said, without proposing specific legislation.

But the prospects for legislation remained dim in Washington. Virtually all Republicans in Congress oppose new gun restrictions, citing the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of a right to bear arms.

World leaders expressed shock and sympathy. Pope Francis on Wednesday said he was “heartbroken” by the Texas shooting and called for an end to “the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons.”

The Texas rampage stands as the deadliest school shooting since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012.

Uvalde, a community deep in the state’s Hill Country region about 80 miles (130 km) west of San Antonio, has about 16,000 residents, nearly 80% of them Hispanic or Latino, according to U.S. Census data.

“We’re a small community and we need your prayers to get us through this,” Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent, told reporters on Tuesday, his voice quaking with emotion.

The two staff members killed were identified as Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia, fourth-grade teachers who worked in the same classroom.

Mireles, who loved running and hiking, had an adult daughter and a husband who works as a police officer in the schools. Garcia, who worked at the school for more than two decades, had four children.

Reporting from Reuters.