The president mourned the loss of at least 19 students and two adults who were killed when a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday
President Joe Biden spoke out following Tuesday’s shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, mourning the loss of at least 19 children and two adults.
“I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this again, another massacre in Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, and fourth graders. How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened, see their friends die, as if they’re in a battlefield for God’s sake,” President Biden began his nearly eight-minute address.
“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,” he continued. “To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away. There’s a hollowness in your chest; you feel like you’re being sucked into it and never going to be able to get out, suffocating. It is never quite the same. It’s a feeling shared by the siblings, the grandparents, the family members, the community that’s left behind.
“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?” said President Biden, recalling some of the deadliest mass shootings at schools across the country in the last decade, including the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“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. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common sense gun laws,” he continued. “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? It’s just sick.
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone?” President Biden later added. “We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it’s time to act. It’s time for those who’ve delayed or blocked the common sense gun laws, we need to let you know — we will not forget. We can do so much more. we have to do more.”
Concluded the president: “Our prayer tonight for those parents lying in bed trying to figure out: Will I be able to sleep again? What do I say to my other children? What happens tomorrow? May God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day. May the Lord be near the broken-hearted and save those crushed in spirit. Because they’re going to need a lot of help. And a lot of prayers.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also issued a statement hours after the shooting while speaking at a pre-planned event Tuesday, saying in part, “While we don’t know all the details yet, we do know there are parents who lost children.”
“Every time a tragedy like this happens our hearts break. And our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families, and yet it keeps happening,” she continued, later adding, “Enough is enough.”
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden also broke her silence on the tragedy Tuesday, writing on Twitter, “Lord, enough. Little children and their teacher. Stunned. Angry. Heartbroken.”
Little children and their teacher.
Stunned. Angry. Heartbroken.
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) May 24, 2022
President Biden and the White House issued a proclamation honoring the victims of the shooting ordering that “the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 28, 2022.”
“I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations,” President Biden added.
Earlier Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement on Twitter about the shooting.
“President Biden has been briefed on the horrific news of the elementary school shooting in Texas and will continue to be briefed regularly as information becomes available,” she wrote.
“His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event,” she continued.
On Tuesday afternoon, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott initially announced that 14 students and a teacher were killed when a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School.
Since Abbot’s initial news conference, the death toll has risen to at least 19 children and two adults, according to the Los Angeles Times. The children were in the second, third, and fourth grades, reports The New York Times.
While calling in to CNN Tuesday evening, Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Anderson Cooper one of the deceased adults was the suspect.
The shooter, identified as Salvador Romas, is believed to have been killed by police, according to Abbott.
“He shot and killed — horrifically, incomprehensibly — 14 students and killed a teacher. [The shooter], he himself is deceased,” Abbott said at a press conference earlier Tuesday. “And it is believed that responding officers killed him.”
Abbott also said the shooter shot his own grandmother, but her condition is currently unknown.
At a press conference Tuesday, police said they believe the suspect acted alone.
Shortly after noon on Tuesday, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District tweeted about the active shooter at the school.
Congressman Tony Gonzales, who represents the area, shared his condolences for the victims in a statement.
“I am heartbroken for our South Texas community,” he shared. “It is devastating when our innocent children become the victims of senseless violence. We are devastated.”
The Newtown Action Alliance, a gun violence prevention organization launched after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Connecticut, in which 26 innocent people were killed, issued a statement on Twitter after the shooting.
“We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for Robb Elementary & Uvalde families & community. We are angry,” the statement read. “These shootings are preventable but those whose stood with the NRA after Sandy Hook nearly 10 years ago did absolutely nothing to prevent these tragedies. We need change.”
The mass shooting comes less than two weeks after an alleged white supremacist killed 10 people inside a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Authorities have said the Buffalo shooting was a hate crime in which the suspect targeted Black people.[via]