Fourteen children and one teacher are dead after a shooting at a Texas elementary school Tuesday, and the 18-year-old suspect is also dead, Gov. Greg Abbott said.
The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 135 kilometres west of San Antonio, was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and occurred four years after a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area.
“He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher,” said the governor, adding that two officers were shot and wounded but were expected to survive. Police had earlier said the suspected gunman was in custody.
The gunman was a resident of the community and entered the school with a handgun, and possibly a rifle, and opened fire, Abbott said. He said the shooter was likely killed by responding officers but that the events were still being investigated.
At a news conference, Chief of Police Pete Arredondo said the suspect was believed to have acted alone.
Arredondo said there were “several injuries,” including students and adults, and “some deaths” but he did not confirm the numbers given by Abbott.
The school, for students in Grades Two through Four, had just under 600 students enrolled.
The school district was working to contact students’ families and provide support services, Arredondo said.
It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were injured in the shooting.
Earlier, Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
A heavy police presence surrounded the school Tuesday afternoon, with officers in heavy vests diverting traffic and FBI agents coming and going from the building.
In a statement, Abbott said he had instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to investigate the shooting.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting on Air Force One as he returned from a five-day trip to Asia and would continue to receive updates. Jean-Pierre said Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday evening at the White House.
The shooting in Texas came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., killing 10 Black shoppers and workers in what officials have described as a hate crime.
Uvalde is home to about 16,000 people and is the seat of government for Uvalde County. The town is about 120 kilometres from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighbourhood of modest homes.
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