Uvalde, TX – At least 19 schoolchildren and two adults were murdered Tuesday when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire inside a Texas elementary school.
Many additional people were wounded, to include multiple law enforcement officers, according to CBS News.
A Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent was shot in the head and remained hospitalized in stable condition early Wednesday morning.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital officials said 13 children were transported to the hospital for treatment, and that two of the victims succumbed to their wounds, CBS News reported.
A 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman were in critical condition at another area hospital.
A nine-year-old girl was listed in fair condition and a 10-year-old girl was listed in good condition at the same hospital, CBS News reported.
A third hospital said it was caring for two adults who were in critical condition.
Investigators said the shooter – identified by Texas Governor Greg Abbott as a local 18-year-old – shot his grandmother before crashing his vehicle near Robb Elementary at approximately 11:32 a.m. on May 24, CBS News reported.
A school resource officer went outside to investigate after the crash occurred and was shot by the suspect, according to KOCO.
The gunman then barged into the building wearing a tactical vest with no ballistic panels and began shooting at “children, teachers, whoever was in his way,” a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) spokesperson told the news outlet.
“He was shooting everybody,” the DPS spokesperson said.
Robb Elementary teaches students in grades two through four, CBS News reported.
Many students who attend the school are the children of U.S. Border Patrol agents, according to KOCO.
Two law enforcement sources told CBS News the gunman was armed with a handgun, an AR-15, and high-capacity magazines.
The 19 children and two teachers killed in the attack were all in a fourth-grade classroom at the time of the shooting, the DPS said on Wednesday, according to the New York Post.
DPS Spokesperson Lieutenant Chris Olivares said the gunman burst into the classroom and barricaded himself inside, then opened fire.
Police rushed to the scene and began breaking windows throughout the building in order to evacuate students and staff members, CNN reported.
They ultimately forced their way into the classroom where the gunman was located.
“It’s a small classroom, you can have anywhere from 25 to 30 students in there, plus there were two teachers in there. … So don’t have exact number of how many students were in that classroom,” Lt. Olivarez said on Wednesday according to CNN. “It was a classroom setting, a typical classroom setting where you have mass groups of children inside that classroom all together, with nowhere to go.”
Officers engaged in an exchange of gunfire with the shooter, who was struck and killed by a Border Patrol Tactical Unit agent during the ordeal, Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin told FOX News.
Sad update… Families tell me they’re going one by one inside getting swabbed for DNA to help investigators pic.twitter.com/zTuWr873Gk
— Anayeli Ruiz KHOU (@AnayeliNews) May 25, 2022
Investigators said they believe the gunman acted alone.
He was a student at Uvalde High School, according to NPR.
Lt. Olivarez said on Wednesday that the suspect’s grandmother was still alive, CNN reported.
He did not release information about her condition.
Among those murdered in the attack was 10-year-old Amerie Joe Garza, who was shot while trying to call 911, The Telegraph reported.
Eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia, 10-year-old Jackie Cazares, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez, 10-year-old Makenna Lee Elrod, 10-year-old Eliahana “Elijah Cruz” Torres, 10-year-old Ellie Lugo, 10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 44-year-old fourth-grade teacher Eva Mireles, and Irma Garcia, who was in her 40s, have also been identified as victims of the massacre.
Angel Garza confirms death:
“Thank you everyone for the prayers & help trying to find my baby. She’s been found. My little love is now flying high with the angels above. Please don’t take a second for granted. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. I love you Amerie jo” 🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/O9Vu0ThPyF
— Mireya Villarreal (@ABCMireya) May 25, 2022
Xavier Lopez, 10. He was a 4th grader at Robb Elementary. His family confirms he died in today’s school shooting. pic.twitter.com/Qp2JatwZ4O
— Dillon Collier (@dilloncollier) May 25, 2022
Investigators said the shooter legally purchased two AR-15 rifles just a week before the attack, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The shooter allegedly posted disturbing photos to his Instagram account prior to the deadly shooting, including one displaying a high-capacity magazine and another showing two rifles, the New York Post reported.
His Instagram account was taken down after the attack, FOX News reported.
He allegedly messaged a woman about his plan prior to carrying out the massacre and tagged her in images showing guns.
“You gonna repost my gun pics?” he allegedly asked her in one message, according to FOX News.
The woman told him in one response that their conversation was “scary.”
“I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns,” she allegedly wrote.
“Ima air out,” he wrote in a final message to the woman on Tuesday morning.
The woman said she lives outside of Texas and does not know the gunman, and claimed she only corresponded with him out of fear, FOX News reported.
The entire school district was put into an immediate lockdown when the shooting began, according to Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District (UCISD) Police Chief Pete Chief Arredondo.
There were 535 students, 2nd grade through 4th grade, enrolled at Robb Elementary School in the 2020-2021 school year, CNN reported.
Thursday was scheduled as the last day of school for the 2021-2022 year.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Border Patrol were on the scene assisting local law enforcement.
Chief Arredondo said that deputies from at least four counties had also responded to the scene to assist.
Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home in Uvalde announced on Tuesday night that it will provide funeral services for the victims at no cost to their families.
“We have fought together as a community and we will pull together as one now in our time of need,” the funeral home said in a Facebook post. “Hillcrest will be assisting families with NO COST for funerals for all involved in today’s horrific events. Prayer for our small amazing town.”
A second Uvalde funeral home – Rushing-Estes-Knowles Mortuary – said they will also be providing funeral services for the victims free-of-charge, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
UCISD Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Anne Marie Espinoza said the district has canceled school for the remainder of the year.
“Our community has experienced a terrible tragedy,” Espinoza said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “We must come together to console one another and respect the privacy of the families. Please keep all families in your prayers.”