Texas shooting live updates: Officials reveal more details about how the Uvalde school shooting unfolded

Published May 25, 2022 at 8:02 AM EDT
Flowers and candles are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.
Jae C. Hong
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AP
Flowers and candles are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school.

A reported 21 people were killed in an attack by a lone gunman at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 students and two adults were among the casualties.

Here's what we know:

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Read the latest from Uvalde here.

Uvalde resident remembers one of the victims as a 'beautiful girl'

Posted May 25, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT

The small, rural town of Uvalde in South Texas is deeply traumatized after a shooter killed 19 young students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School Tuesday.

“My grandson was there,” said 58-year-old Sylvia Martinez, tears rolling down her cheeks. “My daughter called me crying and crying. She told me Darian was safe – I said thank you, Lord.”

Darian is Martinez's 10-year-old grandson who was evacuated by police from the school to the Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home across the street. Martinez said her young neighbor is one of the victims and like her grandson, she was also 10.

“I always see her there running around, playing with my grandkids, going to church, little beautiful girl," she said. "I’m going to miss her."

Uvalde is a tight-knight community, said Martinez who was born here and attended Robb Elementary herself. Martinez spoke with reporters on the porch of her mother’s home in Uvalde near the school while chickens roamed around in the neighbor's front yard.

“I need to be with loved ones,” she said, adding that she hasn’t been able to sleep much since the shooting happened.

Last night she visited with her sister. Martinez said she never imagined something like this could happen in Uvalde; “now we can feel it – we are hurting."

How to help

A Sandy Hook parent’s guide to helping devastated Uvalde families

Posted May 25, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT

The simplest way for people close to families left devastated by the Uvalde school shooting is to just show up.

That’s the advice of David Wheeler, whose 6-year-old son Ben was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

“If we're talking about people who are in the area, and can help, even friends and family members, the first thing you can do is just show up. Just be there,” he said. “Don't make any demands. Don't even ask what you can do. Just be there and open your eyes and open your ears and pay attention to what people may clue you into what they need and when they need it.”

“Those were the people that helped us the most in the aftermath of our loss,” Wheeler said.

He said people around the country who wanted to help should take the time to find organizations that are supporting the families directly.

“It may take a few phone calls, it may take a few web searches. But believe me, it is so, so important,” he said.

“Think about what you're doing, think about why you're doing it, and think about who is going to benefit from your actions and make sure that your assistance and your aid and your help is going where you want it to go. It's crucially important,” Wheeler added.

Listen to the interview.

Gun laws

What a Parkland shooting survivor wants people to understand about gun laws now

Posted May 25, 2022 at 5:07 PM EDT
 A mourner attends a vigil at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.
Jordan Vonderhaar
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Getty Images
A mourner attends a vigil at Sacred Heart Catholic Church for victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Jaclyn Corin was first devastated by the news of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting, and then she was left frustrated.

Corin was a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 when a student opened fire on his classmates and teachers, killing 17 people.

In the wake of Tuesday’s mass shooting in Texas, and the questions over how they can be stopped, she said Americans needed to educate themselves about the gun policy options that already exist.

"I'm devastated for all Americans who see this happen time and time again, and feel frustrated that nothing has changed," Corin said.

“A lot of people just think it's either ban all guns or not, but there are so many nuanced policies. There's implementing universal background checks, there's expanding licensing laws, there's banning high-capacity magazines that make it hard to shoot a lot of bullets at once,” she said.

“There's implementing extreme risk protection orders, which allow law enforcement to temporarily remove firearms from a person if they show warning signs of wanting to hurt themselves or others,” Corin added.

“There are so many policies that exist out there, and it makes the issue not so black and white,” she said.

Corin said once people took the time to understand those policy options, then Americans could move forward and push legislators to implement them.

Listen to the interview.

A presidential visit

President Biden says he will visit Uvalde in the coming days

Posted May 25, 2022 at 4:39 PM EDT
President Biden delivers remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as first lady Jill Biden looks on, concerning the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.
Anna Moneymaker
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Getty Images
President Biden delivers remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as first lady Jill Biden looks on, concerning the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday.

President Biden on Wednesday said he will travel to Texas in the coming days to meet with families affected by the mass shooting in Uvalde.

Biden addressed the nation Tuesday night following the shooting.

"How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened — see their friends die as if they're on a battlefield, for God's sake," Biden said Tuesday.

Just last week, Biden visited Buffalo, N.Y., another site of a mass shooting that killed 10 people.

Update

Officials: A school resource officer encountered the Uvalde gunman before he entered

Posted May 25, 2022 at 3:46 PM EDT

More details are emerging about how the Uvalde school shooter gained access to a fourth grade classroom at Robb Elementary School.

Salvador Ramos had encountered a school resource officer as he approached the school. Though that officer "engaged" with the shooter, no gunfire was exchanged at the time. Ramos was able to open a back door on the west side of the school's campus and entered the school, according to Steven McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

McCraw and other officials spoke during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

According to their investigation, it appears that once inside Ramos entered a hallway and entered an adjoining classroom. As he was inside the classroom, officers outside the school organized a tactical team.

It's unclear in what way the resource officer "engaged" with Ramos. It's also unknown how long it took officers to respond to shooting inside of the classroom. Details are still emerging as police investigate. Further, officials said Wednesday they are still reviewing the surveillance video.

Of those killed, 19 were studentsin the same fourth grade classroom. Two adults were also killed. An additional 17 people were injured in the shooting.

Culture

'The Onion' has republished a grim headline about mass shootings 21 times since 2014

Posted May 25, 2022 at 2:48 PM EDT

There are a couple of inevitable responses to a mass shooting in America: funerals and fundraisers, prayers from politicians and the resurfacing of one particular article from satirical site The Onion.

"‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens" has been republished 21 times in almost exactly eight years.

Its headline has remained the same for every major mass shooting from Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014 to Tuesday's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The main image, and basic facts about the shooting, are updated every time.

It always quotes a fictional resident of that state lamenting a tragedy they describe as inevitable:

“This was a terrible tragedy, but sometimes these things just happen and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them,” the person says. “It’s a shame, but what can we do? There really wasn’t anything that was going to keep this individual from snapping and killing a lot of people if that’s what they really wanted.”

The article, which has no identifiable author, always notes that such feelings are shared "by tens of millions of individuals who reside in a nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations."

"At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as 'helpless,'" Tuesday's version — like its predecessors — concludes.

The Onion leaned into its message on Wednesday, sharing a Twitter thread listing every version of the piece from over the years. Thousands of people had liked and retweeted it by midday, with many noting the devastating impact of seeing years' worth of recurring tragedies lined up in a row — seemingly underscoring the point of the satire.

It also flooded the homepage of its website with the stories, the same headline appearing over and over but next to different photos: a spa in Atlanta, a Walmart in El Paso, a grocery store in Buffalo.

Jason Roeder, a former writer and editor at The Onion, is credited with creating the original article.

"When I wrote this headline, I had no idea it would be applied to the high school a mile from my house," he tweeted after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018.

Dave Cullen, a journalist who has covered mass shootings for years and wrote the New York Times bestseller Columbine, told NPR in 2015 that the article "resonates because they totally got it."

"I think what [the Onion article's popularity] says is we look for the people who tell us the truth — kind of the emperor's new clothes — who see through the stuff, and don't just print the same old stuff, or do the same old stuff, or do the safe stuff — the people who call us on our s***," he said.

In a 2017 interview with Vice, Marnie Shure, then the managing editor of The Onion's website, counted this article as one of her team's proudest accomplishments.

"By re-running the same commentary it strengthens the original commentary tenfold each time," she said. "I'm proud to work alongside the people who saw the potential in that, and who were able to send out that message and make it resonate. In the wake of these really terrible things, we have this comment that really holds up."

Update

All the victims of the Uvalde school shooting have been identified, officials said

Posted May 25, 2022 at 2:44 PM EDT

All victims and those injured during the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, have been identified and connected with family, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, lawmakers and local law enforcement shared investigation updates during a news conference Wednesday.

Of those killed, 19 were studentsin the same fourth grade classroom. Two adults were also killed. An additional 17 people were injured in the shooting, Abbott shared. Those injuries are not life-threatening, he said.

One of the students killed was the daughter of a sheriff's deputy, Abbott said.

Investigators are now reviewing the school's surveillance video for more information. A motive or potential catalyst for the shooter's actions Tuesday is still unclear, officials said.

Update

The Uvalde gunman posted on Facebook about his plans before the shooting, officials say

Posted May 25, 2022 at 2:38 PM EDT

At around 11 a.m., (and at least 30 minutes before arriving at the elementary school), the gunman Salvador Ramos (a dropout from the local high school) shared on Facebook that he was going to shoot his grandmother, Gov. Greg Abbott said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

After shooting her, Ramos then again shared on Facebook minutes later that he did indeed just shoot her. He then posted that he was going to go after an unnamed elementary school next, according to Abbott and local law enforcement officials during Wednesday's news conference.

His grandmother was able to flee and call police. Ramos stole her car and fled, later crashing just outside Robb Elementary. He later gained entry to the school through a back door on the West side of the campus, officials said.

A spokesman for Meta clarified Abbott's statements by saying those "posts" were actually "private one-to-one text messages."

Andy Stone, with Meta, tweeted: "The messages Gov. Abbott described were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred. We are closely cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation."

Abbott and other local law enforcement officials also shared that Ramos had no prior criminal record. It's unclear at the moment if he may have had a juvenile criminal record. There was also no known history of mental health issues, Abbott said. He had been living with his grandmother since March.

From Uvalde

Neighbors of Robb Elementary School are reeling from the tragedy

Posted May 25, 2022 at 1:08 PM EDT
Law enforcement officers stand outside the entrance to Robb Elementary School.
Merrit Kennedy
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NPR
Law enforcement officers stand outside the entrance to Robb Elementary School on Wednesday.

Around the corner from Robb Elementary School, the day after a shooting that left at least 21 people dead including 19 children, Sarah Zapata is playing with her granddaughters and struggling to come to grips with the tragedy.

“It’s sad for all the families, because we all do know each other. Everybody knows everybody,” she says as the kids run around the front yard of her home. “It’s unimaginable.”

The surrounding neighborhood is quiet, with large trees and lots of dogs. On a nearby street, two horses amble on the blacktop as a man in a car slowly leads them.

Most doors and windows are closed and shuttered the morning after the shooting, as crowds of reporters stand in front of the school. Agents from ATF knocked on the doors of nearby houses to talk to neighbors about what they might have seen the previous day. Law enforcement officers patrol the area, some wearing large cowboy hats.

“I live here. My family’s house has been here for 30-plus years,” Zapata added. “We all went to Robb. My kids all went to Robb.”

Her children range in age from 17 to 24, and one of them knew the suspect when they were in elementary school.

“He just said he was always a different kid, just one of those kids that you know is different. Not with the crowd, I guess,” she said.

The small town, located west of San Antonio, is surrounded by cow pastures and fields of crops.

“You really never think it’s going to happen in a place like this,” she said.

Interview

She lost her daughter in a mass shooting. Here's what she will tell parents in Uvalde

Posted May 25, 2022 at 12:52 PM EDT
A man and a woman seated next to each other hold hands while she speaks into a microphone.
Steve Jennings
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Getty Images
Lonny Phillips and Sandy Phillips attend a showing of the film "Under The Gun" at Victoria Theatre on April 27, 2016 in San Francisco, California.

Sandy Phillips has spent the past 10 years advocating for gun control, after her daughter Jessi was killed in the 2012 mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

Phillips and her husband filed a lawsuit against the gun dealer, but it was dismissed because
a federal law (the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act) shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liabilty.

They were ordered to pay the dealer's legal costs, too. So they sold their house and moved into an RV, which they use to travel between mass shootings. Phillips has kept in touch with Morning Edition through the years, and co-host Steve Inskeep spoke with her on Wednesday as she prepares to travel from Buffalo, N.Y., to Uvalde, Texas.

What does she plan to tell grieving family members there? Phillips says her message is blunt, but delivered with love.

"They want to die right now. They don't want to take another breath. And when we go in and we actually meet with these people, we let them know that we felt the same way," she says. "I tell them that if I'd had a gun in the house, I probably would not be here today.

"But ... we did survive, and we did find joy again. And we still miss our daughter and always will. And our lives will never be the same, and neither will theirs."

Phillips notes there's been little progress in gun control reform in the decade since she lost her daughter — despite data indicating there have been 400,000 gun deaths in the United States in that time. Considering the family members of those victims, she estimates thats more than 1.6 million Americans have been directly affected by gun violence since 2012.

"I want to say it's unbelievable, but it's not," she says of the Uvalde tragedy. "It's predictable. And it's preventable."

Victory, to Phillips, would mean a repeal of PLCAA, a ban on military-style semi-automatic rifles, strong national gun laws and a Cabinet-level office for gun violence prevention.

So what keeps her fighting? It's simple, she says: her daughter.

"Jessi was a kindhearted person and always the one to comfort someone when they were in any kind of trouble, so we've just continued that on to honor her, and to give us a sense of purpose in this world," she says. "And I have to believe we're going to be victorious, that this cannot be the way and the road that our country takes."

Listen to the full interview here.

International reaction

How world leaders are reacting to the Uvalde shooting

Posted May 25, 2022 at 12:28 PM EDT
An outstretched arm holds a bouquet of flowers.
Jordan Vonderhaar
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Getty Images
A man brings flowers to Robb Elementary School on Wednesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Officials around the world are responding to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the deadliest such incident to take place in the U.S. in nearly a decade.

In emotional remarks late Tuesday, President Biden characterized it as a uniquely American tragedy.

"They have mental health problems, they have domestic disputes in other countries," he said. "They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America. Why?"

He then called on lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby.

That same night, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern condemned the shooting, as both a politician and a mother, in an appearance on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. After two consecutive mosque shootings in 2019, New Zealand collected thousands of weapons through a nationwide buyback, and lawmakers voted to ban almost all semi-automatic weapons.

When asked by Colbert how the country was able to take that step, Ardern described New Zealanders as "very pragmatic people."

“When we saw something like that happen, everyone said never again, and so it was incumbent on us as politicians to respond to that," she said. "Now, we have legitimate needs for guns in our country, for things like pest control and to protect our biodiversity — but you don’t need a military-style semi-automatic to do that.”

And New Zealand isn't the only country to draw attention to the U.S. stance on gun control. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed condolences for the victims' families, but also called the U.S. government hypocritical for failing to act on gun violence at home while attacking foreign countries over their human rights records.

Condolences also poured in from Ukrainian politicians, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who drew parallels between the loss of young innocent lives in Texas and his own war-torn country.

"The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans," he tweeted.

Pope Francis, while offering prayers, also issued a message about gun policies.

Officials from various countries — including Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom — shared messages of shock and sympathy. Read some of their statements below.

Aftermath

An expert in child trauma looks at how parents can support kids in Uvalde and elsewhere

Posted May 25, 2022 at 12:16 PM EDT

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is deeply traumatic for survivors, their families, and the faculty and staff at the school. It also may be emotionally affecting other students across the country.

American children regularly practice active-shooter drills and consider the possibility of a crisis in their own classrooms from a young age, making school shootings like the one in Uvalde very upsetting news for some, says Melissa Brymer, the director of terrorism and disaster programs at the UCLA-Duke National Center for Child Traumatic Stress.

Brymer joined Morning Edition to talk about discussing traumatic events with children, including those who were at Robb Elementary and survived.

She highlights the importance of being truthful with kids and teens, even about difficult topics.

Brymer says that for survivors of the shooting, "it's really important — as we hug them, give them some space — check in with them and ask them: What are they feeling? What did they witness? And provide them support."

She says talking to kids about school shootings can be upsetting, and with kids especially, you may need to have upsetting conversations in small chunks for them to understand.

Brymer notes grief and sadness may cause children and teens to change their routines or have trouble sleeping and loved ones caring for them will need to adjust.

With summer vacation beginning for students in Uvalde, Brymer sees youth programs with adults trained in trauma responses as a critical need. And she notes that resources will need to provided continually for students and adults in Uvalde.

"Then we have to gear up to next year and make sure that there's proper services and programming for our educators as well as our kids," Brymer says.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has resources available in both English and in Spanish for helping children cope.

On how to support survivors of the shooting:

"We have some kids who were there and present. ... They still might have questions. So it's really important — as we hug them give them some space — check in with them and ask them, What are they feeling? What did they witness? And provide them support. Having physical reactions like the tummy aches or the heartaches, it's common, so we need to help kids to calm their bodies down right now.

On what parents and caretakers should be doing when they see signs of trauma in kids:

It's important — as hard as it is — that we tell kids the truth.

So, sometimes as adults we need a minute to process what happened ourselves, think about those words that we will say to our kids, and then have that conversation. If a child is worried about what happened to one of their peers, we need to be honest about it. Give them comfort afterward. If they are expressing some of the sadness and grief, we might have to help them with honoring that loved one.

These conversations take time. We need to be patient. And sometimes, especially young kids, need to have these conversations over and over, and sometimes they need it in little chunks. They might not be able to digest everything in one sitting.

On tosymptoms that might manifest in kids exposed to intense trauma:

Kid's sleep is disrupted. They may not want to sleep by themselves over the next couple of days. Even, if there are teens, they might want to stay close to their family members. So families might have to adjust the family routine whether it's having a family sleep for a week or so, or giving extra time at bedtime so that we calm their anxieties.

Some kids might start to be a little bit worried about loved ones separating from them, and we need to talk about those safety concerns. [For] young kids, there's some really good books out there to have those conversations. One book that I love that a colleague of mine created is "Once I Was Very Very Scared."... You can get it online for for free in English and Spanish, in other languages.

On how school districts should be supporting kids and adults:

Well, we know that our educators are also impacted, so they need their time and space to process what happened, and we need to make sure that mental health services are provided to our educators.

But we're at the summer vacation for a lot of the schools in that area, so we need to actually think about planning and preparing for those summer youth programs that are out there and making sure that those youth leaders are trained in some of these trauma reactions, and make sure that they're supporting our youth.

And then we have to gear up to next year and make sure that there's proper services and programming for our educators as well as our kids."

Guns

An NRA convention is in Texas this weekend, but guns are banned from one part of it

Posted May 25, 2022 at 11:12 AM EDT

Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association's Annual Leadership Forum on Friday. But audience members at the group's annual meeting, being held this year in Houston, won't be able to carry guns during his address.

The conference is going ahead in the shadow of Tuesday's mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed at least 21 people — including 19 students.

According to the NRA, the Secret Service is taking control of the hall during Trump's speech and is prohibiting attendees from having firearms, firearms accessories and knives. Ammunition, laser pointers, pepper spray, toy guns, backpacks and other items also won't be allowed.

The Secret Service will search attendees with magnetometers before they enter the hall, the NRA said.

It's not the first time such a ban has been put in place.

International

Ukrainian officials offer their condolences to Uvalde

Posted May 25, 2022 at 10:34 AM EDT
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks on a screen, sitting in front of blue and yellow flags.
Fabrice Coffrini
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AFP via Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement by videolink during an event on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos on Wednesday.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other Ukrainian leaders have spent the last three months drawing the world's attention to the atrocities of Russia's invasion. On Wednesday, they took to social media to stand in sympathy and solidarity with a tragedy unfolding across the world.

Zelenskyy and other top politicians expressed condolences to the community of Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people — including 19 students — were killed in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

"Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas," Zelenskyy wrote. "Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and @POTUS over this tragedy. The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans."

Zelenskyy also referenced the shooting while speaking by video link at a conference on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, in which he drew a direct parallel between the shooting and the war in Ukraine.

"I feel it is my personal tragedy when children are killed in Texas, and now in my country Russian military is killing our children," he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a tweet that Ukraine stands in solidarity with the U.S. at this difficult time.

"As a nation that goes through the pain of losing innocent young lives, Ukraine shares the pain of our U.S. friends," he added.

Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S., told reporters on Wednesday that such violence should not happen in the U.S., Ukraine or anywhere.

Speaking before she addressed the American Jewish Committee’s Diplomatic Seder, she said "this cycle of hate and brutal shooting, and shooting children and civilians in general, should be stopped.”

"[Losing] children to gun violence in peaceful time is a tragedy beyond understanding," she wrote on Twitter. "Ukraine knows too well the horror of growing number of lost children."

Reports from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights suggest that, as of earlier this month, at least 238 Ukrainian children had been killed in the war and another 347 injured.

Reaction

David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., mass shooting, calls for gun control

Posted May 25, 2022 at 9:59 AM EDT
David Hogg stands in front of a microphone in a blue March For Our Lives shirt. Behind him, others wear the same shirt and the Capitol building can be seen.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
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Getty Images North America
David Hogg speaks in front of reporters at an installation by the group March For Our Lives on March 24.

In 2018, David Hogg survived a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. He and many of his classmates became nationwide gun-control advocates in the aftermath.

NPR's Leila Fadel spoke with Hogg following another massacre at a school, this time at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Hogg says passing universal background checks for owning guns is crucial right now, as more mass shooting happen in America year by year.

"The next Sandy Hook, the next Parkland, the next Las Vegas, the next San Bernardino, the next San Diego, the next El Paso, the next Buffalo, the next Mother Emanuel Church, the next — I could go on and on," Hogg says.

Listen here to their conversation on Morning Edition.

On hearing of another mass killing, this time in an elementary school:

"Despite the House changing, the Senate changing and the White House changing, not a single gun law — or any law, for that matter — around addressing gun violence, even not related to guns, has passed in the federal government and its horrifying. Because I think the assumption that we made when we started this work in 2018 is that our government was at least halfway competent at all in order to address at minimum the thing that is killing our kids, which is gun violence.

On his message for lawmakers right now:

I think the number one thing that most of us can agree on as Americans is something as simple as universal background checks.

In the wake of Parkland we passed gun laws in the Florida State Legislature despite it being entirely Republican-controlled. And the reason why we were able to do that is because we mobilized with young people and got in the rooms with the lawmakers and showed them just a small amount of the trauma and impact that this has on a community.

On political reaction to gun violence:

Both Democrats and Republicans — although Democrats have obviously in my view done more for this issue than Republicans have — I think both are complacent. You know, both have been in power in the wake of these mass shootings and both have failed to pass any gun law at the federal level in years.

What we as Americans need to do is hold them accountable, not let the media and these politicians move on from this and act like its not going to happen again.

Update

All of the victims were in the same 4th grade classroom

Posted May 25, 2022 at 9:49 AM EDT

Editor's Note: This story contains details that readers may find disturbing.

The 19 students and two teachers killed in the Uvalde, Texas, shooting were all in the same fourth grade classroom, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN on Wednesday.

He also told NBC's Today that first responders broke the school's windows in an effort to help students and teachers escape, the Associated Press reports.

“The shooter was able to make entry into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom, and again just began shooting numerous children and teachers that were in that classroom, having no regard for human life. Just a complete evil person," Olivarez said. "Just began shooting anyone that was in his way. At that point we had a tactical law enforcement team arrive — made up of multiple federal officers, local officers, as well as state troopers — that were able to able to make forcible entry into that classroom. They were met with gunfire as well but they were able to shoot and kill that suspect.”

Olivarez told CNN that multiple children were wounded inside the classroom, but the exact number is not yet clear. The victims have been identified and their families notified, he added.

Reaction

Here's what Matthew McConaughey said about the shooting in his hometown

Posted May 25, 2022 at 9:10 AM EDT
Matthew McConaughey, wearing a black shirt and brown jacket, stands in front of a colorful backdrop.
Matt Winkelmeyer
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Getty Images
Matthew McConaughey attends a movie premiere on December 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Actor and Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey took to social media today to address the shooting in his hometown.

In a lengthy statement, he offered prayers to those impacted and urged Americans to reassess their values, saying "we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us" without specifically mentioning guns or reforms.

"This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better," he wrote. "Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before have endured."

McConaughey has publicly considered running for Texas governor in the recent years, without specifying which political party he would align with. He announced in November that he would explore other forms of service instead.

"As a simple kid born in the little town of Uvalde, Texas, it never occurred to me that I would one day be considered for political leadership," McConaughey said at the time. "It's a humbling and inspiring path to ponder. It is also a path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

In his post on Wednesday morning, he called on Americans to "renegotiate our wants from our needs," and find common ground "above this devastating reality that has tragically become our children's issue."

McConaughey urged people not to accept such tragedies as the status quo. But rather than calling for specific policy changes or gun control reform — as Twitter users noted in the comments — he proposed a more introspective approach:

"The true call to action now is for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves: 'What is it that we truly value? How do we repair the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state and neighborhood tomorrow?"

He is among the many celebrities who have taken to social media to share their thoughts and condolences in the wake of Tuesday's shooting.

Pope Francis and a cardinal say it's time for the U.S. to act on guns

Posted May 25, 2022 at 8:55 AM EDT
"I am praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families," Pope Francis said in his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. The pope said it's time for new limits on the sale of guns.
Andrew Medichini
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AP
"I am praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families," Pope Francis said in his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square. The pope said it's time for new limits on the sale of guns.

Pope Francis says that his heart is broken over the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, and that the U.S. must act to prevent the spread of guns.

"I am praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families. It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms," Francis said on Wednesday, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

In the attack, 19 students and two adults died. The 18-year-old gunman, who lived in Uvalde, reportedly bought at least two semi-automatic rifles after his most recent birthday.

People should be working now, the pope said, to ensure a similar tragedy can never happen again. In the U.S., his sentiment was shared by another senior Catholic leader: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago.

"The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai," Cupich said via Twitter. "The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them."

The cardinal noted that research has shown the expired federal ban on certain rifles was effective in preventing the terror of mass shootings.

"As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?" Cupich asked.

There have been 27 school shootings so far this year in the U.S., according to Education Week, which tracks gun violence on K-12 school properties.

Support

How to help Uvalde families following yesterday's elementary school shooting

Posted May 25, 2022 at 8:32 AM EDT
A young girl holds hands with two adults in a circle of people standing outside holding hands.
Jordan Vonderhaar
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Getty Images
Members of the community gather at the City of Uvalde Town Square for a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde, Texas, is reeling from the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after a gunman killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School yesterday.

The emergency department at Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 patients, 11 of whom were children. Many family members — some of whom gave DNA swabs to help investigators identify victims — are still awaiting news of their loved ones.

Onlookers in and beyond Texas may be wondering what support they can offer. The community is looking for blood donations, legal assistance and funds for victims' families. Read on to learn how you can help.

Donate blood in the days and weeks ahead

University Health System — the largest transfuser of blood in the San Antonio area — is encouraging community members to donate blood to hospitals and centers.

"Your donation can help ensure we have supplies immediately available for the victims of this tragic shooting," it tweeted. Many of its online appointments are booked through the end of the month.

South Texas Blood & Tissue said on Tuesday that thanks to donors, it was able to send 15 units of blood to the school and local hospitals immediately after the shooting, and another 10 to an area hospital later in the day upon request.

"We will continue to work with hospitals in the area to make blood available as it’s needed and to rebuild their supply for other patients in need," the organization said.

The blood center is holding an emergency blood drive in Uvalde on today, which it said has already filled up with appointments. It later tweeted that donors were experiencing a 2-hour wait time and that all of its appointments were booked through Saturday. But the center stressed that help would still be needed after beyond that point, added slots to its Memorial Day blood drive and encouraged people to schedule (and keep) appointments for the following week.

"This tragedy highlights the importance of always having blood available on the shelf and before it’s needed," the center said.

Learn more about the blood donation process.

Support verified fundraisers

GoFundMe has established an online hub of verified fundraisers supporting victims and loved ones affected by the shooting, which you can find here.

Those include a fundraiser organized by VictimsFirst (a network of survivors and relatives affected by previous mass shootings) to provide victims' family members with no-strings-attached cash payments.

The group said it started the fund "to make sure that 100% of what is collected goes DIRECTLY to the victim base so the victims’ families and those wounded/injured are protected from fraud and exploitation."

As of Wednesday morning, all three verified fundraisers — the VictimsFirst fund, a campaign raising money for funeral expenses for the family of Xavier Lopez and a fundraiser by Austin-based Los Verdes Supporter Group — had exceeded their financial goals.

Two funeral homes in the area, Rushing-Estes Mortuary Uvalde and Hillcrest Memorial Funeral Home, said in social media posts that they would offer their services to families for free.

The community is seeking volunteer legal services

The San Antonio Legal Services Association is seeking volunteer attorneys who are licensed to practice in the state of Texas, according to a Facebook post.

"Volunteer NOW to assist Uvalde Shooting Victims and Families with Unmet Legal Needs," it wrote. "SALSA will respond with pro bono assistance as called upon to do so by community partners and civil leaders over the coming weeks."

The organization is asking qualified attorneys to email them with their area of practice and availability through the month of June.

Living history

Survivors of Parkland and Columbine shootings share their outrage over Uvalde tragedy

Posted May 25, 2022 at 8:07 AM EDT
 Four young women with their arms around each other, some crying, walk outside next to a brick building.
Kevin Higley
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AP
In this April 20, 1999, file photo, women head to a library near Columbine High School where students and faculty members were evacuated after two gunmen went on a shooting rampage in the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.

The tragedies at their schools happened decades apart, but two survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Columbine High School shootings were united Tuesday in their outrage.

David Hogg — a survivor of the 2018 Parkland, Fla., high school shooting — and Craig Nason, a survivor of the 1999 Columbine massacre in suburban Denver, took to Twitter following news of the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Both shared their disgust of how, even years after shootings at their schools, no changes have been made to address mass gun violence in America.

Craig Nason was a student of Columbine, where 12 students and one teacher were killed by two gunmen. It was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Nason, who now has a college-age son,tweeted, "This is America. There is no end in sight for the steady cadence of mass gun violence we seem unwilling to ever address. A reality my peers could not have imagined on our worst day in April 1999."

This year alone, there have been 27 school shootings in the U.S., according to Education Weekdata.

Read more here.

Politics

In emotional remarks, Biden calls for Congress to take on the gun lobby

Posted May 25, 2022 at 8:02 AM EDT
President Biden rests his hands on the presidential podium while looking downcast, as the First Lady stands behind him.
Anna Moneymaker
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Getty Images
President Joe Biden delivers remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House as first lady Jill Biden watches on Tuesday in Washington, DC.

After the mass shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school, President Biden is again asking Congress to ban the sale of high-powered semi-automatic rifles.

Biden was emotional as he addressed the pain and death inflicted at Robb Elementary School.

"Beautiful innocent, second, third and fourth graders. And how many scores of children witnessed what happened and saw their friends die as if they were on a battlefield for god's sake."
- President Biden

He called for prayers and then angrily called for Congress to take on the gun lobby.

"We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country," he said. "It's time to act."

Democrats don't have the votes in the Senate to overcome an expected Republican filibuster on gun legislation. More details here.

Recap

What we know so far about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Posted May 25, 2022 at 7:56 AM EDT
Four women stand in a hallway, one resting her head on another's shoulder and looking at the camera.
Dario Lopez-Mills
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AP
People react outside the Civic Center following a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday,

A reported 21 people were killed in an attack by a lone gunman at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 students and two adults were among the casualties.

The gunman was killed by police, according to local law enforcement officials.

The attack at Robb Elementary occurred just two days before summer break, according to the school's calendar that listed May 26 as the last day. The school taught students in grades 2 through 4 and around 600 students attended.

Here's what else we know.

Uvalde is a small community

Uvalde, Texas, is a community of around 16,000 people — most of whom are Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census data. The town sits about 85 miles west of San Antonio.

It's the kind of place where "interconnections are thick" and no one would have expected a mass shooting at the local school, Marc Duvoisin, the editor-in-chief of the nearby San Antonio Express-News, told NPR.

Uvalde is also best known as the hometown of Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey.

The shooter was from Uvalde

The 18-year-old gunman attended Uvalde High School — which had its graduation set for this coming Friday. Law enforcement said he acted alone.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez told CNN Tuesday evening, following a briefing from Texas Rangers, that the shooter bought at least two assault rifles shortly after his 18th birthday.

"He had no problem accessing those weapons," Gutierrez said during his interview.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said during a press conference that it's believed that the shooter abandoned his vehicle and entered into the school with a weapon.

He added, the suspect also allegedly shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary.

A Border Patrol agent shot the school gunman

Local officers asked for backup after engaging with the gunman. A Border Patrol tactical unit responded to the scene, and one of its agents shot and killed the suspect, according to a source with the agency.

The school year is over and other events canceled

Graduation for the local high school is postponed for now, according to the Uvalde Consolidated School District Superintendent Hal Harrell. He spoke during a second press conference Tuesday.

Harrell clarified the district's school year is done, following the shooting, and that all other events are canceled.

Grief counseling is going to be provided for students and their families starting Wednesday morning at the local civic center, Harrell said.

Local hospitals respond and call for blood donors

Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 people (11 whom were children) following the shooting at Robb. Two children received by the hospital were dead, according to the hospital's CEO, Tom Nordwick.

Several of the patients had to be transferred to trauma centers in San Antonio for further treatment, Nordwick said.

Early Tuesday evening, local hospitals and other organizations put out a call for blood donors to respond to the tragedy.

University Health in San Antonio tweeted, "If you are looking for ways to help, please consider donating blood. Your donation can help ensure we have supplies immediately available for the victims of this tragic shooting."

The hospital said their donor room has availability through the week.

The Herby Ham Community Center also announced it would hold a blood drive Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., local time.

Biden and politicians respond

Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and other government buildings following news of the tragedy.

Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, took to the Senate floor hours after news of the shooting broke. Newtown, Conn., in Murphy's state, is the location of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting during which 26 people — mostly six and seven year olds — were killed.

Murphy has aggressively called for gun reform following that incident.

Murphy implored, "What are we doing? Days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing?"

He pleaded with his colleagues to act on gun control legislation now.