We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School. William Luther

Joe Biden says 'we have to act' on gun laws as gunman kills 19 children at elementary school

Two adults and the gunman were also killed during the incident at Robb Elementary in Uvalde County.

LAST UPDATE | 25 May 2022

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden called for Americans to stand up against the country’s powerful pro-gun lobby after a gunman shot dead 19 young children and two adults at an elementary school in Texas.

“When, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby,” he said in an address from the White House.

“It’s time to turn this pain into action for every parent, for every citizen of this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it’s time to act.”

The attack in Uvalde – a small community about an hour from the Mexican border – is the latest in a spree of deadly shootings in the US, where horror at the cycle of gun violence has failed to spur action to end it.

In his address to the nation on return from a trip to Asia, Biden said “I am sick and tired of it. We have to act.”

Horror in the classroom

Earlier, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, addressing a news conference, said the 18-year-old gunman was believed to have shot his grandmother before heading to Robb Elementary School at around noon, abandoning his vehicle and entering with a handgun, and possibly also a rifle.

embedded267098227 PA PA

The governor said the suspect, a local resident was also dead, adding that “it is believed that responding officers killed him.” Local police later confirmed this in a press conference.

“He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly,” Abbott said.

Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez later told CNN that three adults had died in the attack, one of those believed to be the gunman.


Footage from the scene showed small groups of children weaving through parked cars and yellow buses, some holding hands as they fled under police escort from the school, which teaches students aged around seven to 10 years old.

It is the deadliest such incident since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in which 20 children and six staff were killed.

Earlier, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District had said an active shooter was reported at the school, which has an enrolment of just under 600 students.

A heavy police presence surrounds the school, with officers in heavy vests diverting traffic and FBI agents coming and going from the building.


The district said the city’s civic centre was being used as a reunification centre.

Latest mass shooting

The shooting in Texas comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 black shoppers and workers in what officials have described as a hate crime.

Uvalde is home to about 16,000 people and is the seat of government for Uvalde County. The town is about 75 miles from the border with Mexico.

Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighbourhood of modest homes.

Political reaction

This shooting has thrown the contentious debate around gun culture in the US into sharp focus yet again.

Reacting to the news, US Vice President Kamala Harris said “I would normally say in a moment like this… we would all say naturally that our hearts break. But our hearts keep getting broken. And yet it keeps happening. Enough is enough. Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said “words are inadequate to describe the agony and outrage at the cold-blooded massacre of little schoolchildren and a teacher at Robb Elementary School today”.

“This monstrous shooting stole the futures of precious children, who will never experience the joys of graduating from school, chasing the career of their dreams, falling in love, even starting a family of their own.”

Former President Barack Obama, who held office when the Sandy Hook shooting happened, expressed his anger at the US gun lobby, which he said had “paralysed” the country.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that “thoughts and prayers were not enough”.

In a tweet, Clinton said that US legislators needed to be “willing to stop the scourge of gun violence in America that is murdering our children”.

Former President Bill Clinton, also released a statement, echoing Kamala Harris’ words, “enough is enough” and calling on elected leaders to take action on gun control.

While on a visit to Ireland, Congressman Richard Neal, Chair of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee expressed his dismay at the lack of political movement on gun ownership in the US.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin also tweeted his condolences, describing the shooting as “an appalling and shocking tragedy”.

Pope Francis issued a statement today saying: “I pray for the children, for the adults killed and for their families. It is time to say enough to indiscriminate arms trafficking”.

Republican Senator for Texas, Ted Cruz, said that it was a “dark day” and that Texas was praying for those who had died and others who were injured in the shooting.

“We’ve seen too many of these shootings. No parent should have to bear the pain of burying their child. We need to come together, as one nation, and support Uvalde as they try to heal from this devastating loss,” said Cruz.

Democratic candidate for Governor in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, tweeted her support for the families of those killed in the shooting, saying “we weep with you in your grief and ask for God’s solace for your unfathomable pain”.

Biden ordered that US flags be lowered to half-mast at the White House last night, with Abbott also ordering that Texas flags are lowered to half-mast across the entire state.

Additional reporting by Laura Byrne and AFP

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel