summer_banner_0.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas community struggles with second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history

Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman killed 14 children and a teacher, the governor said.
Dario Lopez-Mills
/
AP
Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. A gunman killed 14 children and a teacher, the governor said.

Updated May 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM ET

Gov. Greg Abbott told reporters that 15 people, including 14 children and one teacher, were killed in a school shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference in Abilene, Abbott said the suspected shooter is dead and identified him as an 18-year-old male from Uvalde.

The governor said it's believed that he abandoned his vehicle and entered into the Robb Elementary School with a handgun and maybe a rifle, but said this has not been confirmed. Local news footage taken from overhead of the scene shows a black truck crashed into a ditch near the school.

The suspect allegedly shot his grandmother before he entered the school where approximately 600 students from second through fourth grade are enrolled. According to the school's website, Thursday was meant to be the last day of the school year.

In a brief news conference hours after the shooting, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo confirmed some of the details offered by Abbott. Arredondo called the bloodshed a "mass casualty incident" but did not specify the number of dead. The chief also told reporters that the alleged gunman acted alone and is deceased.

Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.
Dario Lopez-Mills / AP
/
AP
Law enforcement personnel stand outside Robb Elementary School following a shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

"The suspect did act alone during his heinous crime," he said during the brief statement. He added, "Families are being notified and we are providing services to them."

Officials at University Memorial Hospital in Uvalde confirmed two individuals were dead on arrival. They offered no additional details about the deceased.

Thirteen children were transported to the hospital, two of whom have been transferred to facilities in San Antonio, more than 80 miles away.

A 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl were also taken to University Hospital in San Antonio. The hospital confirmed that the 66-year-old is in critical condition.

Uvalde police department officials initially said the suspected gunman was taken into custody at 1:06 p.m. local time.

The shooting at the school where 600 students are enrolled began at 11:32 a.m. Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District officials said all local schools went into lockdown as news of the active shooter spread.

Multiple law enforcement agencies, including border patrol and officers from neighboring cities, have responded to the scene.

Student and teachers were evacuated to the city's civic center where parents were told they can pick up their children.

President Biden ordered flags at the White House and other government buildings to be flown at half-staff to honor the victims and plans to speak about the shooting on Tuesday evening. "His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

The mass shooting comes just 10 days after a shooting at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., that took the lives of 10 people.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 24, 2022 at 10:00 PM MDT
An earlier version of this story mistakenly said Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is about 85 miles south of San Antonio. It's 85 miles west of San Antonio.
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.