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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Gunman kills at least 18 children in Texas elementary school

UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) – An 18-year-old gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, killing at least 18 children while moving from class to classroom, officials said, the latest for a country In a terrible moment. The chain of massacre. The attacker was shot dead by law enforcement.

Three adults were among the dead, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said they were informed by state police. But it was not immediately clear whether that number included the attacker or how many people were injured.

The massacre at Rob Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at an American grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade earlier.

“My heart is broken today,” said school district superintendent Hal Harrell, announcing that all school activities were canceled until further notice. “We are a small community and we will need your prayers to get through this.”

The attack also happened just 10 days after a deadly, racist stampede at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket It added to a years-long series of mass murders at churches, schools and shops. And the prospects of any reform in the nation’s gun regulations seemed as dim as those in the aftermath of Sandy Hook’s death.

President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight and called for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.

“As a nation we have to ask, when are we going to stand in front of the gun lobby in the name of God? When in the name of God are we going to do what we have to do?” Biden asked. “Why are you willing to live with this massacre?

Many of the injured were taken to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where scrubs and relatives of the devastated victims could be seen crying as they left the premises.

The gunman wearing body armor crashed his car outside the school before going inside, Sgt. Eric Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Nation World News.

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Gutierrez said he killed his grandmother before leaving for school with two military-style rifles he had bought on her birthday.

“He did this first thing on his 18th birthday,” he said.

Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but the governor identified the attacker as Salvador Ramos and said he was a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio.

Ramos had hinted on social media that there might have been an attack, Gutierrez said, “suggesting that the children should watch out.”

A Border Patrol agent, who was working nearby when the shooting began, broke into the school without waiting for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, according to a law enforcement official. was speaking, because he was not authorized. talk about it.

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The law enforcement source said the agent was injured but was able to get out of the school.

School district police chief Pete Arredondo said the attacker acted alone.

It was not immediately clear how many people were injured, but Arredondo said there were “multiple injuries”. Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said that 13 children were taken there. Another hospital said the condition of a 66-year-old woman was critical.

Robb Elementary School has an enrollment of just under 600 students, and Arredondo said it serves students in the second, third and fourth grades. He did not specify the age of the children who shot him. It was the last week of school classes before the summer break.

Heavily armed law enforcement officers stormed the school, with officers diverting traffic and FBI agents passing through the building.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden was briefed about the shootings on Air Force One when he returned from a five-day trip to Asia. Biden was due to deliver a speech at the White House on Tuesday evening.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the Mexican border. Rob’s Elementary is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

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The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and added to a grim number of mass shootings in the state that have been the deadliest in the US over the past five years.

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

The shooting took place a few days before the start of the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston. Both Abbott and the US senator from Texas were among elected Republican officials as scheduled speakers at Friday’s leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.

In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has intensified and subsided. Attempts by lawmakers to change American gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced obstacles from Republicans and influence from outside groups such as the NRA.

A year after Sandy Hook, West Virginia Democrat Sens Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Patrick J. Tommy negotiated a bipartisan proposal to expand the country’s background check system. But as the measure neared being brought to the Senate floor for a vote, it became clear that it would not get enough votes to overcome the 60-vote filibuster hurdle.

Then-President Barack Obama, who made gun control central to his administration’s goals after the Newtown shooting, called the Congress’s failure “a very shameful day for Washington.”

Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. A bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. Another would have extended the background check review period. Both ended up 50-50 in the Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to clear objections from a filibuster.

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Associated Press writers Jake Bleiberg in Dallas, Ben Fox in Washington, Paul J. Weber and Juan Lozano in Houston contributed to this report.

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