Nineteen pupils between 7 and 11 years of age and two of their teachers were killed by an 18-year-old shooter in the most recent mass shooting in an American school. This is the deadliest since the Sandy Hook mass shooting nearly ten years ago.
The killer, Salvador Ramos, has been described as a loner targeted by bullies for his lisp and the fact that he wore eyeliner. He was also a fast-food worker, and he carried out the devastating massacre after shooting his grandmother, who got into an argument with him about his failure to graduate.
The deadly crime occurred at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday after 11:30 AM.
The teenager had bought two rifles to celebrate his 18th birthday, according to authorities. He then showed them off on his social media accounts.
After shooting his grandma, he fled from the scene in a car. He had a handgun with him, and it's possible he was also carrying a rifle and wearing body armor.
When he got close to Robb Elementary School, he abandoned the vehicle, went inside, and went on a shooting spree that cost many children and two teachers their lives. He was shooting at whoever was in sight.
The police responded after they received reports that an armed man had crashed a car close to the school.
Among the responders were Border Patrol agents from an outpost close by. One of these agents got into an exchange with the teenager and managed to shoot him dead.
During the shootout, an agent was injured but could still walk out of the school unassisted.
In addition to those who lost their lives, several others suffered injuries, although the exact figure of those who got away with injuries is still unknown.
As news of the massacre spread, anxious parents were desperate to know how their kids were faring. According to the police, the number of those killed is expected to increase.
There were also contradicting reports about the shooter's grandma after he shot her. Some reports suggested she had succumbed to her injuries, while others claimed she was in a critical condition.
Joe Biden spoke at the White House about the shooting, and he ordered that flags fly at half-mast to honor the victims. He also started an unavoidable debate about gun control and said he was "sick and tired" of the endless discussion.
He appealed to voters to "turn this pain into action" to ensure mass killings ended. In his statement, he said:
"As a nation, we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?"
President Joe Biden claimed that it "was wrong" that an 18-year-old could walk into a gun shop and walk away with two guns. He believes it's high time people stand up to the gun lobby to avoid living with the "carnage."
Among those killed in the shooting were Xavier Lopez (10), Uziyah Garcia (9), both boys, and Makenna Elrod (10), Amerie Jo Garcia (10), Eliahana Torres (10), and Ellie, all girls. Two teachers, Eva Mireles (44), and Irma Garcia, also perished in the massacre.
Xavier Lopez, Eliahana Torres, Ellie Garcia, Makenna Elrod, and Uziyah Garcia were confirmed dead by their families.
Uziyah Garcia, 9, was one of the boys who perished in the Robb Elementary School shooting.
Makenna Elrod, 10, died in the shooting.
Xavier Lopez, 10, was another victim of the brutal shooter.
Amerie Jo Garza also died during the shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Eliahana Torres, 10, another of Ramos' victims.
Ellie Garcia, one of the victims of the shooting, was confirmed dead by her family. Her uncle wrote on Facebook that a crazy man had killed her during the school shooting.
Irma Garcia, one of the two staff members who died, had been teaching at the institution for 23 years when she was killed.
For 24 years, she was married to Joe. She was also a mother of four kids. Her nephew tweeted about her death, saying that she would be missed by many.
In an event organized by Trinity University, she had gotten the teacher of the year nomination for the 2018-19 awards.
Eve Mireles, one of the two teachers shot in the massacre, was confirmed dead by her family. She had been in the industry for 17 years before she met her death.
Her husband, Ruben Ruiz, is a veteran detective and SWAT team member and is currently a police officer at the school district.
Salvador Ramos, the shooter.
The shooter, according to a video that recorded the incident.
The police investigated Ramos's home following the shooting.
The response to the shooting was led by Ted Cruz, the Republican senator for Texas. He claimed that taking guns from the people would restrict their constitutional rights and that it "doesn't work."
Instead, he suggested that armed officers should be put on school campuses.
In 2018, there was another shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 14 high school students and three adults perished. The Sandy Hook incident in Connecticut resulted in the deaths of 20 children and six staff members.
Despite confirmations by some parents that their kids died in the massacre, some are yet to know where their kids are.
Among those missing following the shooting were Rogelio Torres and Nevaeh Bravo. Annabelle Guadalupe, 10, was also confirmed missing by her father.
The truck Ramos is believed to have left behind before getting into the school.
According to Pete Arredondo, the chief of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Department, there was no ongoing search for another person concerning the shooting since the armed intruder was already dead.
Ramos often posted pictures of guns on social media, which he had purchased legally when he was 18 years old. Although he lived in Uvalde, he was born in North Dakota.
On Friday, Ramos had tagged a girl in a photo of his guns, telling her, "You gonna repost my gun pics." When the woman asked him what his weapons had to do with her, he said he just wanted to tag her.
On Tuesday at 5:43 AM, he messaged her, saying, "I'm about to." When the girl asked "about to what," he said, "I'll tell you before 11."
In the ensuing conversation, he said he had a secret to tell her and then sent her a smiley face with its mouth covered. He also told her to be grateful that he had tagged her.
The woman responded, saying, "No, it's just scary. I barely know you, and you tag me in a picture with some guns."
A screenshot of the conversation Ramos had with a random woman on Instagram after he tagged her in a photo featuring his guns.
In the last message he sent to the girl, he said, "Ima air out." The message was sent at 9:16 AM, and the shooting began at about 11:32 AM.
After the woman heard what he had done, she was horrified. She wrote saying that he was a stranger.
She also said sorry to the victims and their families:
"I really don't know what to say."
She confessed that her fear of him was the only reason she had responded to his messages. If she knew what he was up to, she claimed she would have stayed awake to try to talk him out of committing the crime.
When someone asked if she was his girlfriend, she said she did not know him and did not even live in Texas.
The woman was not the only person to get a picture of guns from Ramos. A friend of his also got an image of his weapons.
The friend revealed that Ramos had sent him a picture of a rifle, a backpack filled with 5.56 rounds, and about seven magazines days before the shooting. When he asked him why he needed all that stuff, Ramos responded, "Don't worry about it."
Robb Elementary school has 600 students. It is located 60 miles east of the Mexican border and is also famous as the hometown of Matthew McConaughey.
According to the friend he talked to before his crime, Ramos was mocked over his financial situation. Over time, he did not attend class as regularly and pretty much dropped out.
He then took a job at Wendy's, where he was quiet and usually kept to himself. He avoided interactions with other employees and would only work and collect his check.
Adrian Mendes, the evening manager at Wendy's, said that he did not know the teenager well. Because they were on different shifts, they did not see each other very regularly.
Ramos worked five days a week, and he would start work at 11 AM and work until 4 PM or 5 PM.
Joe Biden gave a speech after the shooting.
Biden was in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, where he addressed the shooting.
Clearly, the incident had shaken him. In his speech, he said his wish had been that he would not have to deal with a massacre as a president.
First Lady Jill Biden was with him as he made his statement. He empathized with parents who lost their children during the attack:
"To lose a child, it's like having a piece of your soul ripped away."
In his speech, he recalled other similar incidents, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which happened when he was vice president. He also mentioned the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, which resulted in the death of 10 people:
"We can't and won't prevent every tragedy, but we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban, mass shootings went down, when the law expired, mass shootings tripled."
He also accused gun makers of taking "two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit."
Texas governor, Greg Abbot, addressed the shooting.
In videos taken soon after the shooting, mothers can be seen rushing toward the institution to get their kids. The school had issued a warning telling parents to avoid the school and instead pick up their kids at a designated rendezvous point.
The students celebrated getting certificates to mark the end of the school year when the shooting happened.
According to Dr. Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde school district, the school was closed, and all activities throughout the school district had been canceled due to the shooting.
"My heart was broken today... We are a small community, and we will need your prayers to get through this."
The school has 70 teachers, and 90 percent of the students are Hispanic. It is located on the outskirts of Uvalde city, which has a population of 16,000 people.
On Tuesday evening, a mobile morgue arrived at the school.
FBI agents arrived at the shooting scene soon after the incident took place.
State police officers were also at the scene of the massacre.
Matthew McConaughey has received a flurry of tweets after the shooting. One person told him:
"This is your hometown, these are your people! A word from you now will go further than a word from almost anyone else."
Another social media user urged him to address gun control in Texas. Many people echoed this sentiment.
One of them urged him to run for governor and remove the establishment that wanted nothing to do with gun control.
In the meantime, Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, said that more teachers should carry guns because "we can't stop bad people from doing bad things."
Paxton believes that there are no resources to put law enforcement officers at every school, so he thinks having adequately trained people within the schools is the best option.
Nevertheless, Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, where the Sandy Hook massacre took place, noted that these shootings were only happening in the US and nowhere else. He urged lawmakers to pass laws that made such incidents less likely to happen.
Kamala Harris, the vice president, also spoke, saying that the country needs to take action and strike a reasonable balance in public policy to ensure that such incidents do not keep happening.
The country had had several mass shootings this month before the Texas shooting took place.
Robb Elementary School, where the shooting took place and forced other schools in the district to go into lockdown.
In Buffalo, New York, another 18-year-old shot ten people dead at a grocery store on May 14. He declared himself a white supremacist and live-streamed his attack.
The teenager was armed with an AR-15 rifle. He wore heavy body armor. The shooter claimed to have targeted the store because the area was mainly inhabited by African Americans.
A day after the massacre, a man opened fire in a church in Laguna Woods, California. The church had Taiwanese-American worshipers, and one of them ended up dead.
In general, there have been a lot of mass shootings, and there have been a lot of initiatives to change gun laws, but they have never succeeded. Therefore, states and local authorities have had to introduce gun use and ownership restrictions.
NRA (National Rifle Association) has been fighting against efforts to introduce stricter gun laws.
In 2020, the United States had 19,350 gun homicides, which represented a 35% increase from 2019, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, was against the "monstrous" shooting. She was angry that her colleagues had frustrated efforts to introduce gun law reforms:
"This a crisis of existential proportions – for our children and for every American. For too long, some in Congress have offered hollow words after these shootings while opposing all efforts to save lives."
She declared that it was time for Congress to listen to the will of the American people and introduce laws that would help save lives.