Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the gunman who opened fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two teachers, posted on Facebook just before the shooting that he was going to attack a school. The gunman, identified as an 18-year-old man from the area, was killed by law enforcement, police said.
Abbott said the gunman posted three messages on Facebook before the attack: once, about 30 minutes before the school shooting, to say he was going to shoot his grandmother, once to say he had shot his grandmother, and a third time — approximately 15 minutes before the shooting — to say he was going to open fire at an elementary school.
Facebook said the posts “were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred,” and that the company is “closely cooperating with law enforcement.”
Authorities said the gunman shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before the school shooting. She contacted police and the suspect fled, later crashing his car about a block from the school.
District police officers engaged the gunman when he arrived at the school, but the shooter was able to enter a back door, travel down two short hallways and enter a classroom, which was connected internally to another classroom, Abbott said.
The gunman then barricaded himself in the classroom, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department Public Safety
“At that point, [he] just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom, having no regard for human life,” Olivarez said. “Just a complete tragedy. An evil person going into the school and killing children for no reason whatsoever.”
The suspect had a handgun, AR-15 assault weapon and high-capacity magazines, two law enforcement sources confirmed to CBS News’ Pat Milton. Abbott said Wednesday that the shooter used an AR-15 to carry out the shooting.
Olivarez said the officers who first responded to the scene “were at a point of disadvantage” and were not able to make entry.
“There was no way they were able to make entry, especially with the amount of manpower that was on scene,” he said. “So at that point, their primary focus was to evacuate as many children as possible.”
A specialized tactical unit made of local, state and federal law enforcement officers were eventually able to enter the classroom, Olivarez said. Three officers were injured, and all are in good condition, Abbott said.
Abbott on Wednesday heralded the “amazing courage” of law enforcement, for “running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives.”
He noted that one sheriff’s deputy lost a daughter in the shooting.
“Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday,” Abbott said. “Days before yesterday, when these children were in school, some were receiving awards for perfect attendance — these kids will never attend school again.”
Abbott said 17 other people sustained non-life threatening injuries in the shooting.
Abbott on Tuesday identified the gunman as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. On Wednesday, Abbott said the gunman was reportedly a high school dropout with no criminal history and no documented mental health concerns. Abbott said there was “no meaningful forewarning,” other than the Facebook messages.
The attack was the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 first-graders, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Many, including President Biden, invoked Sandy Hook and theto call for stronger gun laws.
“As a nation, we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Mr. Biden saidfrom the White House Tuesday night. “When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”