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18 kids killed in shooting at Texas elementary school

Incident marks 212th mass shooting in U.S. this year

A Texas high school student opened fire at an elementary school Tuesday and killed 18 students and a teacher before police fatally shot him, according to authorities.

The 18-year-old reportedly shot his grandmother before driving to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, population 24,729, about 85 miles west of San Antonio.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the man entered the elementary school with a handgun and possibly a rifle.

“It’s believed that responding officers killed him,” Abbott said at a press conference. “It appears that two responding officers were struck by rounds but have no serious injuries.”

This is the 212th mass shooting in the United States this year in which four or more people were shot or killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and U.S. Customs and Border Protection are on the scene.

Uvalde is just 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border and the Department of Homeland Security said Border Patrol agents immediately responded to provide medical aid to victims, many of whom were rushed to hospitals in San Antonio.

The shooter lived in Uvalde and is a U.S. citizen. Around 70% of the city’s residents are Hispanic, according to U.S. Census data.

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More than 500 students, all second- to fourth-graders, attend Robb Elementary and the shooting occurred just two days before the last day of classes for the school year.

Just returned Tuesday night from a trip to Asia, President Joe Biden gave a short speech at at the White House about the Texas shooting, focusing his opening remarks on the parents whose young children were killed.

“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” Biden said. “There’s a lot we do know. Parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same. To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away.”

He speaks from experience. His first wife, Neilia Hunter Biden, and their 1-year-old daughter, Naomi, died in a car wreck in 1972.

The massacre comes just 10 days after an 18-year-old self-described white supremacist drove more than three hours from his home to a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, and shot dead 10 Black people at a grocery store.

The Texas shooting is the worst at an elementary school since December 2012 when a 20-year-old man killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut, according to gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.

Biden spoke of the Connecticut murders in his speech. “As a nation we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”

“It’s been 3,448 days, 10 years, since I stood up at a grade school in Connecticut where another gunman massacred 26 people, including 20 first graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” he continued. “Since then there have been over 900 incidents of gunfire reported on school grounds.”

Stressing the need for “common sense gun laws,” Biden stated, “We can’t prevent every tragedy. But we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled. The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong. What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on. For God’s sake. It’s just sick.”

The president said he learned of the Texas shooting during his 17-hour flight home from Asia on Air Force One.

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“What struck me is these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone and the courage to stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action.”

Proponents of tougher gun laws are closely watching the U.S. Supreme Court.

It is set rule on a case involving two New Yorkers who applied for concealed-carry permits for self-defense but failed to meet the state’s stringent standard of showing good cause for needing such a license.

In a hearing last November, the high court’s six conservative judges appeared receptive to the challengers’ claims New York’s rules infringe on their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Critics believe the justices are poised to issue a ruling that will create an unrestricted right to carry guns in public.

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