Texas shooting latest news: Police ‘waited outside despite pleas for action’

Texas elementary school shooting: Live from Uvalde, Texas

Onlookers have said they urged police to move into the primary school as officers stood by while a gunman was carrying out his rampage, which killed 19 students and two teachers.

The father of 10-year-old victim Jacklyn Cazares said he even suggested to go in himself with other bystanders as he was frustrated police were not doing it themselves.

Details are starting to emerge of the attack and the 20-year-old shooter behind it.

The teenage gunman, identified as Salvador Ramos, barricaded himself inside a classroom before killing the fourth-grade students at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.

The suspect, with no known criminal history or history of mental illness, was shot dead by an officer on the scene after around 60 minutes.

Facebook has confirmed that he sent a direct message online around 10 minutes before the attack warning that he was going to shoot up an elementary school.

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Who are the victims?

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in the school shooting on Tuesday.

Zoe Tidman26 May 2022 08:18

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ICYMI: Texas teen arrested with pistol at school day after mass shooting

Texas police arrested a boy in posession of an AK-47-style pistol and a toy AR-15-style rifle at school on Wednesday, the day after a mass shooting in the state left 21 dead at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Josh Marcus reports.

Police were called on Wednesday morning in the town of Richardson, a Dallas suburb, on reports that a male was seen walking towards Berkner High School holding what looked like a rifle.

Zoe Tidman26 May 2022 08:03

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‘Second amendment not absolute’

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that “the Second Amendment is not absolute” as he called for new gun control measures in the wake of this week’s massacre at a Texas elementary school.

When the amendment was approved, “you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s always been limitations,” said the president while speaking at the White House before signing an executive order on policing on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

US President Joe Biden signs an executive order enacting further police reform in the East Room of the White House on 25 May 2022 in Washington, DC

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He that he would visit Texas with first lady Jill Biden in the coming days to “hopefully bring some little comfort to the community.”

“As a nation, I think we must all be there for them,” the president added. “And we must ask, when in God’s name will we do what’s needed to be done.”

Namita Singh26 May 2022 06:55

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States divided on gun controls law

After Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Democratic governors and lawmakers across the country issued impassioned pleas for Congress and their own legislatures to pass gun restrictions.

But aside from a few Democratic-controlled states, the majority have taken no action on gun control in recent years or have moved aggressively to expand gun rights.

That’s because they are either controlled politically by Republicans who oppose gun restrictions or are politically divided, leading to a stalemate.

“Here I am in a position where I can do something, I can introduce legislation, and yet to know that it almost certainly is not going to go anywhere is a feeling of helplessness,” said state senator Greg Leding, a Democrat in the GOP-controlled Arkansas Legislature. He has pushed unsuccessfully for red flag laws that would allow authorities to remove firearms from those determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

Republicans, including Texas governor Greg Abbott, have mostly called for amping up the efforts to address mental health and increase protections at school.

Read more in this report:

Namita Singh26 May 2022 06:52

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Schumer sets in motion firearms background check bills

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has quickly set in motion a pair of firearms background check bills in response to the elementary school shooting in Texas.

“Please, please, please damn it — put yourselves in the shoes of these parents just for once,” said Mr Schumer as he implored his Republican colleagues to cast aside the powerful gun lobby.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks to reporters at the US Capitol 24 May 2022 in Washington

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“If the slaughter of schoolchildren can’t convince Republicans to buck the NRA, what can we do?”

Earlier on Tuesday night, president Joe Biden told the nation it was time to “turn this pain into action” and change gun laws.

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” he said, hoarsely and visibly emotional. “Where in God’s name is our backbone, to have the courage to deal with this and stand up to the [gun] lobbies?”

Namita Singh26 May 2022 06:44

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Majority of Americans support tighter gun control laws, finds a poll

While most Americans support tighter gun laws, fewer are confident that politicians will take action, found a Reuter-Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

In the poll conducted one day after a Texas gunman killed 21 people at an elementary school, about 84 per cent of respondents said they supported background checks for all firearms sales.

Gun-control advocates hold a vigil outside of the National Rifle Association (NRA) headquarters following the recent mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on 25 May 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia

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About 70 per cent of 940 participants said they backed “red flag” laws that would allow authorities to confiscate guns from people found to be a threat to public safety. Another 72 per cent supported raising the age to buy a gun from 18 to 21.

However, only 35 per cent of the respondents felt that Congress will act to strengthen gun laws this year, while 49 per cent said they were “not confident” this would happen.

A majority of participants, about 65 per cent, believed that mass shooting incidents happened frequently because of the easy availability of firearms.

Namita Singh26 May 2022 06:13

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Texas school shooting aches Newtown parents

Michele Gay was devastated by the massacre at a Texas elementary school and its aching parallels to the 2012 attack in Connecticut when she lost her daughter at Sandy Hook.

Like the Newtown gunman, the attacker in Texas was a young man who shot an older family member he lived with before opening fire with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle inside a nearby elementary school, slaughtering small and defenseless children.

It was all the more saddening in light of the work she has invested in the years since to promote school safety.

“This one has been particularly devastating for me, for my family, for our community, Sandy Hook. We’re just literally transported back in time,” said Ms Gay, co-founder of the nonprofit Safe and Sound Schools. “I’ve got to dig deep. I’m not going to lie.”

In the decade since 20 children and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, some of their loved ones who channeled grief into advocacy have claimed success, gradually, in areas including gun safety, attitudes around gun violence, and mental health awareness. The attack in Uvalde has tested their resolve like no other.

As details of Tuesday’s shooting emerged, Matt Vogl was texting with Jennifer Hensel, whose daughter Avielle was killed in Newtown, and others involved in an advocacy effort named in the girl’s honor, the Avielle Initiative, which promotes efforts to make mental health care more widely available through technology.

“We were all just crying and texting. It’s brutal because it triggers some of the darkest memories we have,” said Mr Vogl, executive director at the National Mental Health Innovation Center in Colorado, where the program is based.

The effort was launched after the Newtown attack by Hensel and her husband, Jeremy Richman, who died by suicide in 2019.

“If I can’t stay optimistic I need to quit and find something else to do. On days like today it’s all you got. The vast majority of people don’t go into schools and shoot them up,” he said.

‘I’ve got to dig deep’: Texas shooting tests Newtown parents

Some relatives of the victims of the 2012 attack on the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, who channeled grief into advocacy have claimed success, gradually, in areas including gun safety, attitudes around gun violence, and mental health awareness

Namita Singh26 May 2022 05:56

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Could Facebook have known about the direct-message threats by gunman?

Could Facebook have known about ominous direct-message threats made by a gunman who Texas authorities say massacred 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school? Could it have warned the authorities?

While Texas governor Greg Abbott called the online messages sent minutes before the attack “posts” Facebook stepped up to clarify they were one-to-one direct messages.

Facebook parent company Meta has said it monitors people’s private messages for some kinds of harmful content, such as links to malware or images of child sexual exploitation.

But copied images can be detected using unique identifiers — a kind of digital signature — which makes them relatively easy for computer systems to flag. Trying to interpret a string of threatening words — which can resemble a joke, satire or song lyrics — is a far more difficult task for artificial intelligence systems.

Read more on how Facebook moderation works in this report:

Namita Singh26 May 2022 05:38

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Uvalde struggles to make sense of school shooting

Frank Salazar pointed down the road at the low-slung buildings of Robb Elementary School, just two blocks from his home, struggling to make sense of the massacre that unfolded there less than 24 hours earlier, stunning his Texas town.

“This community is extremely tight, but there are many people who choose to mourn quietly, alone, and in a small town like this we’re going to respect that,” said Mr Salazar, who went to Robb Elementary as a child.

Like almost everyone else in the town of about 16,000, he knows somebody directly affected by the killing.

Community members pray together at a vigil for the 21 victims in the mass shooting at Rob Elementary School on 25 May 2022 in Uvalde, Texas

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Two friends had younger siblings who died, he said, speaking in a matter-of-fact tone, his eyes bloodshot and wide open.

Jorge Roque, who lives close to Robb Elementary, grimaced and choked back tears as he pushed his straw cowboy hat back on his head, trying to make sense of it all.

He said his two granddaughters survived the shooting at the school of second, third and fourth graders who typically range in age from seven to ten. One of them is in fourth grade, the same year as the children who were killed, he said.

“Half of her class – it’s the one that got shot,” Mr Roque said.

Families stand together at a vigil for the 21 people killed at Rob Elementary School on 25 May 2022 in Uvalde

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During the afternoon, a makeshift memorial of toys and flowers slowly grew outside Robb Elementary, now encircled with yellow crime-scene tape.

Two women, barred from entering the grounds, handed a sombre-looking officer a pair of giant teddy bears to place with the other offerings at the front of the school. One of the women was weeping.

Namita Singh26 May 2022 05:37

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National Rifle Association to go ahead with annual meeting

The largest promoter of the free availability of military-style weapons in the United States will continue with plans to host its’ annual convention in Houston, Texas this weekend, less than 300 miles away from the elementary school where a gunman murdered 19 children and two adults on Thursday.

In a statement posted on his “Truth Social” app, Mr Trump announced that he would keep his “longtime commitment” to speak at the convention, where he said he’d deliver “an important address to America”.

“America needs real solutions and real leadership in this moment, not politicians and partisanship,” said the twice-impeached ex-president. He added that in “the meantime,” he would “continue to pray for the victims, their families, and for our entire nation”.

My colleague Andrew Feinberg reports:

Namita Singh26 May 2022 05:16

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