The 18-year-old gunman who assassinated 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas barricaded himself inside a classroom, “shooting anyone that was in his way,” an official said Wednesday, describing the latest just one of the latest gruesome, yearslong series of mass killings at schools, stores, and churches.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said on Wednesday that police and others responding to Tuesday’s shooting broke windows at the school in an attempt to allow students and teachers inside to escape.
Olivarez told CNN that all 21 victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School. The shooter was eventually killed by law enforcement.
Tuesday’s shooting was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
Families of the children waited for hours on their return. At the town civic center, where some gathered, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed one of the two adults killed was a teacher.
Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still waiting outside as the sunset, seeking any information on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres.
Cruz drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying call from his daughter shortly after the first reports of the shooting. Cruz said other relatives were at the hospital and the civic center,
“I hope she is alive,” Cruz said.
President Joe Biden appeared to be prepared to fight back, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.
“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 are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”