UVALDE, Texas — An 18-year-old gunman who opened fire Tuesday at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school killed at least 19 children and two adults, officials said. The gunman was killed by law enforcement.
The latest death toll comes from a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Officials said the gunman was working alone. In a Tuesday afternoon press conference, Texas Governor Greg Abbott identified the alleged shooter as an 18-year-old man from Uvalde named Salvador Ramos.
"It is believed that responding officers killed him," Abbott said.
LATEST UPDATES TO THIS STORY: Texas officials give new details about Uvalde elementary school shooting
Abbott said the man walked into Robb Elementary School, about 85 miles west of San Antonio, and opened fire. It was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
A Border Patrol agent who was nearby when the shooting began rushed into the school without waiting for backup and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, according to a law enforcement official speaking to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about it.
The agent was wounded but able to walk out of the school, the law enforcement source said.
Department of Public Safety officials told KENS 5 that two adults other than the gunman were dead – a teacher and the gunman's grandmother. DPS said he was wearing body armor.
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police, said the gunman killed his grandmother before heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday.
It was unclear how many people, in addition to those killed, were injured in the shooting. Uvalde police said there were “several injuries.”
Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there via ambulance or buses for treatment. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
"My heart was broken today," Superintendent Hal Harrell said, adding that the rest of the school year has been canceled, and plans for graduation ceremonies and all other activities have been put on hold.
Earlier, the district said that all schools in the district were locked down because of gunshots in the area.
Robb Elementary School has an enrollment of just under 600 students. It's part of the tight-knit, heavily Latino community of Uvalde County, where about 25,000 people live.
"All these families are at a loss for everything that’s happened, this is a small town, a small community," the grandmother of a fifth-grade boy who was shot in the leg told KENS 5. She said the boy was scared but doing fine.
"He just says he remembers it sounded like fireworks going off," she said.
President Joe Biden, who returned Tuesday from a multi-day trip in Asia, ordered that flags be flown at half-staff at all public buildings until sunset on Saturday.
“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden said at the White House. “I am sick and tired. We have to act.”
The tragedy in Uvalde came just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores. It was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the U.S. over the past five years.
In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, 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 at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack.
The shooting came days before the National Rifle Association annual convention was set to begin in Houston. Abbott and both of Texas’ U.S. senators were among elected Republican officials who were the scheduled speakers at a Friday leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
In the years since Sandy Hook, the gun control debate in Congress has waxed and waned. Efforts by lawmakers to change U.S. gun policies in any significant way have consistently faced roadblocks from Republicans and the influence of outside groups such as the NRA.
A year after Sandy Hook, Sens. Joe Manchin a West Virginia Democrat, and Patrick J. Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican, negotiated a bipartisan proposal to expand the nation’s background check system. But as the measure was close to being brought to the Senate floor for a vote, it became clear it would not get enough votes to clear a 60-vote filibuster hurdle.
Then-President Barack Obama, who had made gun control central to his administration’s goals after the Newtown shooting, called Congress' failure to act “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Last year, the House passed two bills to expand background checks on firearms purchases. One bill would have closed a loophole for private and online sales. The other would have extended the background check review period. Both languished in the 50-50 Senate, where Democrats need at least 10 Republican votes to overcome objections from a filibuster.
An earlier version spelled Salvador Ramos's last name as "Romas".