Texas, US – A teenage gunman has killed at least 19 children and two adults at a primary school in the US state of Texas, officials said, in the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of mass shootings.
Governor Greg Abbott said one of the two adults killed was a teacher. State officials later confirmed that the second adult killed was also a teacher.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Abbott said the 18-year-old gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a small community west of San Antonio.
Abbott said the gunman – identified as Salvador Ramos, a resident of Uvalde – was killed, apparently by police officers responding to the scene.
“It is believed that he abandoned his vehicle and entered into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a handgun and he may have also had a rifle, but that is not yet confirmed,” the governor said.
“Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde,” he added.
Gun violence has been a problem across the US for decades, drawing condemnation and calls for tougher restrictions, especially in the aftermath of mass shootings at schools.
The school shooting in Uvalde is the latest in a string of deadly acts of gun violence over the past two weeks in the US.
A gunman attacked a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighbourhood of Buffalo, New York, on May 14, killing 10 people in what investigators say was a racist hate crime. In California that same weekend, a man opened fire on Taiwanese-American church congregants, killing one man.
“In the last two weeks, at least 23 people have lost their lives in mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, and now Uvalde, Texas,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.
“Congress must act, and governors and state legislators must pass reasonable gun control legislation. The voters must demand it from their representatives. How many more children must lose their lives from senseless gun violence?”
According to Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds, the Uvalde shooter’s motive remained unknown.
“There may be no why,” Reynolds said. “But we know that Uvalde is now in the same grim roll of names as Parkland, Florida, El Paso and Sutherland Springs, Texas, and so many other towns and cities in the United States that have been ripped apart by gun violence.”