Updated May 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Texas shooting victims killed were in same classroom, official says

The gunman who opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday killed 19 students and two teachers in a single classroom, local law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The latest: The shooter was inside Robb Elementary School for upwards of 40 minutes, and witnesses told AP they urged police to go in.

  • Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw said at a briefing Wednesday "law enforcement was there," per CNN.
  • "They did engage immediately. They did contain him in the classroom," he said, noting the gunman was killed "within, like, 40 minutes, [within] an hour."

The big picture: Once the suspect entered the classroom, he "barricaded himself by locking the door and started shooting children and the two teachers inside that classroom," Lt. Chris Olivarez, said a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, on CNN.

  • 17 people, including three police officers, were injured during the attack, but no injuries are life-threatening, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Zoom in: Local law enforcement responded to the scene after receiving a 911 call that a vehicle had crashed near the school and an individual was seen entering the school with a weapon, Olivarez said.

  • The officers — at a tactical disadvantage once the shooter had barricaded himself and lacking sufficient manpower — "started breaking windows around the school, and trying to rescue, evacuate children and teachers, while that was going on," he added.
  • "At that point, we had a specialized tactical team arrive, comprised of federal officers, local police officers, as well. They made forcible entry into the classroom."
  • One of the tactical team members was shot in the confrontation, though it is a non-life-threatening injury. "At that point, they were able to shoot and kill the shooter."
  • Asked by host John Berman how many children were in the fourth-grade classroom, Olivarez said he couldn't confirm the exact number of students, but estimated it was between 25 and 30.

What to watch: Officials are still trying to establish an exact timeline of events, how much ammunition the shooter had and whether he had intended for the school to be a target, Olivarez noted.

State of play: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden on Sunday will travel to Uvalde to "grieve with the community," the White House announced Thursday.

Background: Abbott said the shooter posted on Facebook about 30 minutes before reaching the school.

  • In the first post, the shooter said he would shoot his grandmother. In the second post, he stated that he shot his grandmother.
  • In the third and final post, coming less than 15 minutes before he arrived at the school, he said, "I'm going to shoot an elementary school," according to Abbott.

What they're saying: "When you have someone with this intent to just kill anybody — have no regard for human life and also with a rifle — he can kill numerous people in a matter of seconds," Olivarez said.

  • "There could have been further loss of life if those initial officers weren't on scene to break those windows and rescue any other children and teachers inside that classroom."
  • "We're absolutely heartbroken about yesterday’s tragic events and committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the Uvalde community as we begin to try to move forward," FBI Director Chris Wray said Wednesday in a statement.
  • Wray said the FBI was working with local law enforcement on the case.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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