The tragedy of the massacres in schools in the United States has a new chapter. A shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, a town of 16,000 inhabitants in central Texas, has left at least 15 dead, including 14 children and a teacher, according to the governor of that state, Greg Abbott. Abbott assured in a press conference that the attacker, an 18-year-old boy whom he identified as Salvador Ramos, was killed by the police.
According to Abbott’s account, Ramos arrived at the school with a gun and is believed to have also carried a rifle and “horribly and incomprehensibly shot and killed” more than a dozen children and a teacher. The police have reported that he also killed his grandmother before going to school. Ramos was a student at the local institute, close to the primary school. He acted alone, according to the first indications.
It is one of the worst massacres in a school in the United States in the last decade. It is the largest in an elementary school since the massacre in Newton (Connecticut), when a 20-year-old man, Adam Lanza, after shooting his mother, killed 26 people, including 20 children aged 6 and 7, at school. Sandy Hook. He later committed suicide. In 2018, at a Parkland, Florida, high school, a 19-year-old former student who had been expelled killed 17 people, mostly teenagers.
The attack was recorded on Tuesday morning at the Robb educational center, where the police quickly moved. The ages of the deceased have not been specified. An adult and a minor have been transferred to a hospital in the city of San Antonio, 140 kilometers away, to be treated for serious injuries.
Robb is a primary school and its students are very young children, mostly under 10 years old. Around 90% of them are Hispanic and many of them from low-income families. This Thursday was the last day of the course.
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The authorities of the School District, the body that governs educational centers, had sent an alert to all schools in the region to maximize security protocols. The school had warned of an active shooter and had asked parents to stay away from the area until police could get the situation under control. In fact, the school has a message on its website in which, shortly after noon, it asks parents not to pick up their children yet and sends them to a meeting point.
There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared.
The rest of the district is under a Secure Status.
— Uvalde CISD (@Uvalde_CISD) May 24, 2022
Minutes later, police reported that they had apprehended the shooter. The students at the center were being moved to an adjoining building, to be reunited with their families. The local authorities, however, initially asked the parents not to go to the civic center to pick up the minors immediately because they considered that the emergency was not over. “They will be notified when they can do so,” they reported on Facebook.
“Texans are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde,” the governor said on his social networks and in a statement. “Cecilia and I mourn this horrible loss and urge all Texans to come together. I have instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to fully investigate this crime,” he added.
Texans are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime & for the community of Uvalde.
Cecilia & I mourn this horrific loss & urge all Texans to come together.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 24, 2022
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, is scheduled to make a statement of mourning and solidarity with the families from the White House this Tuesday at 8:15 p.m., Washington time (2:15 a.m., Spanish peninsular time), recently arrived from his Asian tour. Biden has mandated that flags fly at half-staff on federal buildings.
The United States, where the right to own firearms is constitutionally enshrined, is the only country in the world in which massacres by firearms in schools and institutes are repeated on a recurring basis. In the most recent, in October 2021, a 15-year-old teenager in cold blood killed four students and injured six others and a teacher at a high school in Oxford, Michigan, a small town north of Detroit. The attack was considered by the authorities as a “terrorist act” and “murder” and his parents were also prosecuted.
On many occasions, the shootings have been carried out by underage teenagers. One of the most remembered is the massacre in Columbine, Colorado, on April 20, 1999, when two heavily armed students aged 17 and 18 killed 12 classmates and a teacher before committing suicide in the library.
The event coincides with the publication of a report that reveals that shootings have multiplied in the United States during 2021. A count by the FBI, the federal investigative agency, indicates that 61 such episodes were recorded last year. These had been 40 in 2020. The shootings left 103 people dead last year and another hundred more injured. These figures do not include the perpetrators. One in five active shooter situations results in a mass shooting in which at least three people are killed.
Just 10 days ago, a racially motivated supermarket shooting by an 18-year-old left 10 dead and three injured in Buffalo, New York State.
Mass shootings, and especially those that take place in schools, have fueled the debate on the controls on the sale and use of firearms. “Enough is enough, we have to have the courage to take action,” said the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, this Tuesday, after noting that she was “heartbroken” by the tragedy.
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