Fourteen young children and one teacher have been killed in a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
It has been reported the shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School, entering the school grounds with a handgun and possibly a rifle. The gunman, an 18-year-old man, was reportedly shot and killed by police officers at the scene.
It is one of the deadliest school shootings in America since the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in 2012.
It has also been reported that the 18-year-old shooter shot his grandmother before heading to the elementary school. The school has about 500 students enrolled who are between second and fourth grade, between the ages of 7 and 10.
Uvalde is a small, working-class city with a population of about 16,000 people, located west of San Antonio.
Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Police Chief, Pete Arredondo said it appeared the gunman acted alone.
“At this point the investigation is leading to tell us that the suspect did act alone during this heinous crime,” he said.
In response to the shooting, President Joe Biden ordered flags on all federal building to be lowered to honour the victims, and is set to make an official statement to the nation once he has arrived back in the country from Asia.
The National Parents Union has called for “more than thoughts and prayers” in response to the devastating school shooting.
“As a nation, our track record of putting children before politics, before special interests is shameful and leaves us with little hope,” it said. “Please prove us wrong.”
Hillary Clinton tweeted: “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
“After years of nothing else, we are becoming a nation of anguished screams. We simply need legislators willing to stop the scourge of gun violence in America that is murdering our children,” Clinton said.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “For too long, some in Congress have offered hollow words after these shootings while opposing all efforts to save lives. It is time for all in Congress to heed the will of the American people and join in enacting the House-passed bipartisan, commonsense, life-saving legislation into law.”
President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said only in the United States are parents not assured that their kids will be safe at school.
“Gun violence is a cancer and it’s one that none of us should tolerate for one single moment longer,” Weingarten said.
“We have made a choice to let this continue, and we can make a choice to finally do something — do anything — to put a stop to this madness.”
Vice President Kamala Harris has also made some remarks, saying “our hearts keep getting broken”.
“Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again,” Harris said.
Senator Chris Murphy, from Connecticut, made a passionate speech on the floor of the Senate in the aftermath of the shooting.
“14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now. What are we doing? What are we doing? … We have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing? There will be more mass shootings than days in the year.
“Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate, why do you got through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if your answer as this slaughter increases and our kids run for their lives, [is] we do nothing?
“What are you doing? Why are you here?”
The Uvalde shooting comes just 10 days after an 18-year-old white man shot and killed 10 black people in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in a horrific event that has been described as a racially motivated hate crime.