UVALDE, Texas — The National Rifle Association holds its annual convention in Houston, Texas, starting on Friday. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says some people want the city to cancel the meeting, but he says they can’t break the contract.
The greater question, Turner says, is why Texas politicians still plan to speak there after the shooting in Uvalde. Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz have been scheduled to address a leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
“So, it’s not about us canceling the convention,” Turner said. “It’s about elected officials at the highest level in our state going and speaking and endorsing those policies and that’s wrong. And you can’t pray and send condolences on one day and then be going and championing guns on the next. That’s wrong.”
IN OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:
HARTFORD, Conn. — Schools around the country increased security as a precaution after the killings of 19 children and two teachers in Texas.
In Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting killed 20 first graders and six educators, state police said they were sending extra troopers to schools Wednesday, although no specific threats had been received.
“This assault on the most innocent of our citizens is deeply disturbing and heartbreaking,” Connecticut state police Col. Stavros Mellekas said in a statement. “At this time, our focus will be on protecting all school populations here in our state.”
Schools in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Virginia, Maryland and Florida also were among those increasing security and offering counseling.
“Last night, I hugged my two kids a little tighter,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement. “This morning, I gave them an extra kiss before sending them off to school. ... How many more must die in our schools, in our supermarkets and in our streets before the U.S. Congress acts to help address this carnage?”
WASHINGTON — Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor Wednesday in the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting to call out the Republicans’ decades-long opposition to gun control legislation.
“Maybe the thought of putting yourself in the shoes of these parents instead of in the arms of the NRA might let you wriggle free from the vise-like grip of the NRA to act on even a simple measure,” the New York Democrat said. “For the sake of these children, these 9-year-olds, these 10-year-olds, these 11-year-olds, these beautiful children, please, damn it.”
The Democrats’ desperate pleas to Republican colleagues reflect a long history of congressional inaction on gun control since a gunman killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago. Democratic lawmakers have introduced countless proposals that would have required a background check of the gunman in Texas. All failed to pass, mostly due to the filibuster.
Looking for real-time news alerts?
Subscribe to our free Breaking News newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Schumer pledged Wednesday to move forward with or without Republican lawmakers. “If we can’t find a good, strong bill that has bipartisan support, we will continue to pursue this issue on our own,” he said.
UVALDE, Texas — Law enforcement officials are reviewing an Instagram account that appears to belong to the gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas.
A series of posts appeared in the days leading up to Tuesday’s shooting. One selfie image appears to show the shooter in front of a mirror. Another photo shows a gun magazine in hand. And on Friday, the same day law enforcement officials believe Salvador Ramos bought a second rifle, a picture of two AR-style semi-automatic rifles appeared.
Another Instagram user with many more followers was tagged in that post. That user has since removed her profile, but first she shared parts of what appears to be a chilling exchange, with Ramos asking her to share his gun pictures with her more than 10,000 followers.
“I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns,” she responded, adding, “It’s just scary.”
A response sent from Ramos’s account on Tuesday morning just said: “I’m about to.”
Witnesses said they heard the shooting begin around 11:30 a.m.
The account linked to Ramos has been removed. Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The man who killed 19 children and two teachers in Texas bought his guns legally days before the attack and soon after his 18th birthday, a law enforcement briefing said.
Salvador Ramos, 18, bought one AR-style rifle from a federally-licensed gun dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to a state police briefing given to Sen. John Whitmire. The next day, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition, and bought a second rifle on May 20.
Officers recovered one of the rifles from Ramos’ truck and the other was found in the school, according to the briefing. It says Ramos dropped a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance, and that he was wearing a body-armor style vest but that it had no hardened plates inside.
Authorities in Texas are providing more details about the gunman’s movements and the police response to the killings of 19 children and two adults at an elementary school.
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told NBC’s `Today’ show that the Uvalde Police Department was first alerted to a crashed vehicle and an armed person making his way into Robb Elementary School.
Police and state troopers arrived in time to hear gunshots inside a classroom where the man barricaded himself and began shooting children and teachers. Olivarez said some of the officers were shot by the 18-year-old gunman, so others began breaking windows around the school trying to evacuate children and teachers.
Olivarez said “tactical law enforcement” forced their way into the classroom, where “they were met with gunfire as well but they were able to shoot and kill that suspect.”
The gunman carried a long rifle with multiple rounds of ammunition and wore a “tactical vest” as body armor, Olivarez said.
It “shows the intent of this evil person going into this school and having complete disregard for human life,” Olivarez said.
All the children and teachers who died were inside a single classroom where the shooter barricaded himself, Olivarez said on CNN.
The San Antonio Express-News reported that the shooter also bought 375 rounds of 5.56 ammunition, according to state Sen. John Whitmire, who was briefed on the shooting.
Authorities offered no names or descriptions of the two adults.
Gov. Greg Abbott said one of the two adults was a teacher.
Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but the governor identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos and said he was a resident of Uvalde, about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
The assault in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
Actor Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday. He responded by calling on Americans to act now to control an “epidemic” of mass shootings.
“Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us,” McConaughey posted on his Instagram account. “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”
The actor doesn’t describe any specific laws or policies he wants adopted. He doesn’t mention gun control.
“As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it’s time we re-evaluate,” he wrote. “We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground.”
“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.”
Uvalde community members arrived early Wednesday at a civic center where families learned the fate of their loved ones the night before. Volunteers arrived with Bibles and therapy dogs.
A minister says he prayed with families of victims in a hospital waiting room after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers inside an elementary school classroom in Texas.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital said 13 children were taken there. Another hospital reported a 66-year-old woman was in critical condition.
Pastor Doug Swimmer of the nondenominational Potters House Church told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday that Uvalde is a tight-knit community where people know their neighbors and see them every day.
Asked what he said to people whose faith may have been shaken by the mass shooting, Swimmer said “I know that one thing that we as Texans understand is that God is still God ... he is able to bring comfort in times of distress.”
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has said he was “heartbroken about the massacre” at an elementary school in Texas.
Francis spoke Wednesday during his general audience. He said he was praying for the children and adults killed and their families after a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 children and two adults before an officer shot and killed the gunman.
“It’s time to say ‘Enough’ to the indiscriminate trade of weapons!” he said. Francis called for a renewed commitment “so that tragedies like this cannot occur again.”
The Argentine pope has long railed against the weapons industry, calling arms manufacturers “merchants of death.”
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden struck a somber and serious tone, calling for new gun restrictions, in an address to the nation after 18 children were killed in a shooting at a Texas elementary school.
“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know needs to be done?” Biden asked.
Biden, who has lost both a son and a daughter, was joined by first lady Dr. Jill Biden at the White House on Tuesday night.
“Why are willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?” Biden said, adding later, “It’s time to act.”
At least 18 children and three adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday morning. Uvalde is about 85 miles west of San Antonio. The 18-year-old gunman is dead. It’s unclear if that number includes the shooter.
Biden called on the nation to pray for the parents and siblings of those who died. “To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said.
LOS ANGELES — CBS has pulled the season finale of “FBI” after the deadly elementary school shooting in Texas.
The network said Tuesday that it will not air the show’s season four finale titled “Prodigal Son.” The decision was made after a gunman killed at least 18 students Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Three adults were also killed in the shooting. It’s unclear if the gunman was one of the three.
The finale’s storyline involved a suspected student’s participation in a deadly robbery. The synopsis includes a mention that the episode involved a cache of automatic weapons.
It’s unclear whether the episode will air in the future.
The network will re-air the show’s 12th episode “Under Pressure” in place of the season finale.
UVALDE — The superintendent of a Texas elementary school where an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 18 children said his heart is broken today.
Hal Harrell, superintendent of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, said Tuesday that Robb Elementary School will be closed and all school activities will be cancelled until further notice. Harrell also said grief counselors would be available starting Wednesday morning.
“My heart is broken today,” Harrell said. “We’re a small community and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
Three adults were also killed in the Tuesday morning shooting. The gunman is dead, likely killed by police, officials said. It’s unclear if the number of adults dead includes the shooter.
The death toll increased Tuesday evening. State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said he’d been briefed by state police on the latest fatalities from the school in Uvalde, a heavily Latino community about 85 miles west of San Antonio.
In addition to 21 dead, three people injured in the shooting remain in serious condition, Gutierrez told The Associated Press. The gunman is dead, likely killed by police.