(Trends Wide) –– An 18-year-old gunman fatally shot 19 children and two adults at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday before being killed by law enforcement officers, authorities said.
The suspect in the attack — identified by Texas authorities as Salvador Ramos — from Uvalde also shot his grandmother before going to school, three law enforcement sources told Trends Wide. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez told Trends Wide that the grandmother was flown to San Antonio and that she is alive, according to information provided to him by the Texas Rangers.
The shooter is believed to have acted alone, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo said.
The shooting was the deadliest at an elementary school since the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut in 2012 that left 26 dead, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7.
Here are the latest developments on Tuesday’s tragedy:
• Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada told Trends Wide’s Anderson Cooper that the gunman vandalized a vehicle while driving near the school after shooting his grandmother. “The suspect crashed near a ditch near the school. That’s where he got out of his vehicle with what I think was a rifle and that’s when he tried to get into the school that he got into a confrontation with the police.”
• The attacker had a bulletproof vest, the rifle and a backpack, Estrada said. Ramos entered several classrooms, Estrada added.
• US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the largest law enforcement agency in the area, assisted with the response to the shooting. A CBP agent was shot in the head. His injuries are not life-threatening, according to the official.
• President Joe Biden has ordered US flags to fly at half-staff on federal land until sunset Saturday to honor the victims of these “senseless acts of violence.”
• Uvalde Memorial Hospital spokesman Tom Nordwick said earlier that 13 children and a man in his 40s were being treated for injuries. University Hospital of San Antonio said in a tweet that they received a child and an adult from the school shooting. The adult, a 66-year-old woman, is in critical condition, the hospital said in a tweet.
• The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) are assisting local law enforcement with the investigation.
30th shooting at a K-12 (elementary and secondary) school this year
Tuesday’s incident marks at least the 30th shooting at an elementary and secondary school in 2022. So far in 2022, there have been at least 39 shootings at schools, colleges and universities, resulting in at least 10 deaths and 51 wounded.
The shooting in Texas is the deadliest at a US school since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, in which 17 people were killed.
Videos taken by a bystander, Isaias Melendez, show dozens of armed officers at the scene while others flee the school.
Robb Elementary School teaches second through fourth grades and had 535 students in the 2020-21 school year, according to state data. About 90% of the students are Hispanic and about 81% are economically disadvantaged, the data shows. Thursday was scheduled to be the last day of school before summer break.
The school district said it will cancel all school activities after the shooting.
Uvalde County, located about 136 km west of San Antonio and about 112 km east of Del Rio, had a population of approximately 25,000 according to the 2020 census.