UPDATED with amended toll: Nineteen second- to fourth-grade students and at least two adults, one of whom was a teacher, were killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school west of San Antonio today, the Associated Press reported late tonight.
The outlet also reported that federal law enforcement officials expect the death toll to rise. There are unconfirmed reports of multiple injuries.
Gov. Greg Abbott had said earlier that 14 children and one teacher were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Ulvade. The 18-year-old gunman was shot dead by officers and acted alone, Abbott said.
It is the deadliest school shooting in the United States since 2012, when a 20-year-old gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.
Officials at nearby University Hospital said a 10-year-old girl and a 66-year-old woman were being treated there and are in critical condition. Most of the victims were taken to Ulvade Memorial Hospital.
Abbott told reporters that the shooter — whom he identified but Deadline will not — crashed and abandoned his truck and entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle. He added that two officers also were hit by gunfire but not seriously injured. The governor said the shooter was a Uvalde resident and U.S. citizen who attended a nearby high school.
Abbott also cited reports that the gunman shot and killed his grandmother before entering the school, but he added, “I have no further information about the connection between those two shootings.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that President Joe Biden, who just returned from his trip to Asia, has been briefed on the elementary school shooting and will address the nation from the White House at 5:25 p.m. PT.
“His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event,” Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter.
Biden ordered flags on all federal buildings lowered to half staff through Saturday.
“What happened in Uvalde is a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas,” Abbot said. “[The gunman] shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly — 14 students and killed a teacher. … When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’ll be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. There are families that are in mourning right now.”
He added: “Our job is multi-fold: First, to make sure we address exactly what happened at this crime scene, and second, to make sure we take that information and do everything that is necessary to ensure that crime scenes like this are not going to be repeated in the future. And then we’re going to be able to ensure the safety and security of our school.”
Vice President Kamala Harris addressed the tragedy late this afternoon. “Enough is enough,” she said. “Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.”
On the floor of the Senate, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said, “I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.
“There is a place that we can achieve agreement, that may not guarantee that America never ever against sees a mass shootings, that may not overnight cut in half the number of murders that occur in America, that will not solve the problem of American violence by itself,” he added. “But by doing something we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing, shooting after shooting.”
Broadcast and cable news outlets went to blanket coverage of the horrific crime at Robb Elementary, which is about 85 miles west of San Antonio and has an enrollment of about 600 students spanning Grades 2-4 — for roughly ages 7-9.
The shooting came 10 days after a gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY. It is the 212th U.S. mass shooting — defined as four or more people hit — so far in 2022, which is in Day 144.