UVALDE, TEXAS — This week, Robb Elementary prepared for the last few days of school with a series of theme-days. Tuesday’s theme was “footloose and fancy,” and students wore outfits and fun shoes to celebrate, reported Reuters. Many students, including Xavier Lopez, received awards that morning before the massacre occurred. At 11:43am, the school announced that it was under lockdown due to the presence of an active shooter.
19 children and two teachers were killed in a classroom before a member of law enforcement was able to shoot and kill the 18-year-old gunman.
The shooting at Robb Elementary School — where Latinos make up approximately 90% of the student body — is the deadliest since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, where a gunman shot and killed 26 people.
Among the victims are eight-year-old Uziyah Garcia and ten-year-old Xavier Lopez. Lopez had received a certificate during the school’s honor roll ceremony only hours before his death. Fourth-grade teachers Eva Mireles (44), and Irma Garcia were also killed. This marked Garcia’s 23rd year of teaching at Robb Elementary. Her husband of 23 years and four children survive her.
Many individuals are being held in local hospitals. The Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 13 children for treatment––reports CBS. University Hospital in San Antonio is currently looking after a 66-year-old woman and a ten-year-old girl in serious condition as well as a ten-year-old girl and a nine-year-old girl who are both in good condition.
The assailant, who has now been identified as Salvador Ramos, crashed his car into the school after having shot his grandmother. He then barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom and began to shoot. Ramos’s grandmother is still alive, hospitalized, and in critical condition.
According to a law-enforcement officer who spoke anonymously to the Associated Press, a nearby Border Patrol officer who heard the commotion at Robb Elementary killed the gunman before backup arrived. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety reported that members of law-enforcement were able to shoot and kill the suspect after forcing their way into the classroom and dodging the shooter’s gunfire.
Jason Owens, a top regional official with the Border Patrol, also told the AP that some area agents have children at Robb Elementary.
Uvalde, Texas lies about 85 miles west of San Antonio and 75 miles away from the Mexican border. It is home to 16,000 people, 72% of whom are Hispanic. Robb Elementary teaches approximately 570 children in second through fourth grade, and its student mission statement is “Live. Learn. Love. Lead.”