In one of the deadliest grade school shootings in a decade, an 18-year-old gunman killed at least 19 students and two adults in an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, 24 May, AFP reported officials as saying.
Law enforcement authorities have now reportedly killed the assailant, identified as Salvador Ramos.
The violence occurred before noon on Tuesday, in the small town of Uvalde. Speaking to CNN, Sgt Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety, indicated that the gunman, donning a body armour, crashed his vehicle outside the premises before heading inside.
"He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a press conference after the attack.
As per the governor, the 18-year-old reportedly gunned down his grandmother with two military-style rifles before reaching the school on Tuesday morning.
Hours after the attack, an anguished US president appeared for an emergency address and said,
"As a nation, we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to gun lobbying? When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut that needs to be done?"Joe Biden, US President
He continued, "I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage."
Later in the day, the White House indicated that flags will be flown at half-staff in mourning for the victims.
'Need Your Prayers To Get Through This': District School SP
Several wounded in the attack on Tuesday were taken to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where, reports from the ground indicated, kin of those affected gathered and wept as they waited on their loved ones.
Aggrieved families were directed to wait outside the civic center, as they waited for information about their children hours after the attack.
The school district superintendent, Hal Harrell, expressed sorrow, saying that 'his heart is broken.'
"We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this," AP quoted the official as saying.
Sixty-nine-year-old Adolfo Cruz was reportedly still waiting as the evening approached for word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter.
"I hope she is alive," Cruz said, AP reported.
Robb Elementary School teaches around 600 students in second, third, and fourth classes, a majority of whom belongs to Latino communities.
Gun Violence in the US
Tuesday's incident comes after a series of firing assaults in the last month, reflecting an inadequate response to rampant gun violence in the US.
Shortly after an 18-year-old white gunman opened fire at a grocery store in the Buffalo city, killing 10 people, on 15 May, two more shootings were reported in Los Angeles and Harris County in Texas.
The Gun Violence Archive, an independent initiative to collate data on these happenings, has recorded 212 incidents of mass shootings this year, of which 27 have occurred on school premises.
The archive defines a shooting as a mass event if the death toll rises above three.
(With updates from AP, AFP, and CNN.)