UVALDE, Texas. – Gripped with grief and worry, families in Uvalde, Texas are struggling to make sense of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.
Overnight, distraught families paced the grounds at the town’s civic center, waiting for hours to identify their children.
The attack unfolded Tuesday morning shortly after 11:30 a.m.
According to law enforcement, the suspect, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother in the head before taking her car and crashing it outside the school.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott released more details about the shooting during a news conference on Wednesday.
“The first thing that happened was the gunman shot his grandmother in the face,” Abbot said. “She then contacted police. He had an accident just outside of the elementary school and he ran into the school. Officers with the Consolidated Independent School District approached the gunman and engaged with the gunman at that time.”
The suspect had AR-15 style rifles. He would barricade himself inside a classroom, killing 21 people before police killed him.
“The Gunman then entered a back door and went down two short hallways, and then into a classroom on the left-hand side,” Abbot said. “The gunman entered into the classroom and that classroom is connected internally to another classroom. Border Patrol, Consolidated IST officers, police, sheriff’s and DPS officers converged on that classroom and a Border Patrol officer killed the gunman.”
Adolfo Hernandez said his nephew was across the hall from the classroom where it happened and witnessed the shooting.
“My nephew was telling us they were hearing commotion at the backdoor, after they started hearing the commotion they heard gun shots,” Hernandez said. “He saw a teacher get hit and a student get hit in the face, and after that they pushed him to the corner of the room.”
Two officers were injured in that shootout, but both are expected to survive.
The suspect’s grandmother is also expected to survive. His grandfather, Ronald Reyes, spoke with ABC’s Matt Gutman, who asked if he noticed that his grandson was growing disturbed or that he was becoming upset.
“He was very quiet,” Reyes replied.
The suspect ending up posting just 15 minutes before the shooting on Facebook, saying he was going to shoot an elementary school, but never mentioning what school.
His grandfather also added he had no idea his grandson had weapons.
Authorities say the suspect legally purchased the two rifles six days after his 18th birthday, which was two days before the shooting.
He also purchased body armor.
Investigators are also trying to piece together a motive and combing through social media posts allegedly made by the shooter.
President Joe Biden has ordered all flags on federal land to fly at half-staff in honor of the victims. He also expressed anger over the senseless violence.
“I’d hoped, when I became President, I would not have to do this again,” Biden said. “Another massacre. 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. They’ll live with it for the rest of their lives.”