UVALDE, Texas (AP) — An official says an 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school barricaded himself inside a classroom, “shooting anyone that was in his way.”
Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told NBC’s “Today” that police and others responding to Tuesday’s attack broke windows at the school in an effort to allow students and teachers inside to escape.
Olivarez told CNN that all victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School. Eventually law enforcement officers broke into the classroom and killed him.
Police: Guns used in Uvalde shooting were bought legally
Law enforcement officials said the shooter bought his guns legally days before the attack and soon after his 18th birthday.
He bought one AR-style rifle from a federally-licensed gun dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to a state police briefing given to Sen. John Whitmire. The next day, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition, and bought a second rifle on May 20.
Officers recovered one of the rifles from the suspect’s truck and the other was found in the school, according to the briefing. It says the suspect dropped a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance, and that he was wearing a body-armor style vest but that it had no hardened plates inside.
Instagram reviewing Uvalde suspect’s account
Instagram has confirmed it’s working with law enforcement to review an account that appears to belong to the gunman.
A series of posts appeared on Instagram and TikTok in the days leading up to Tuesday’s shooting. One selfie appears to show the shooter in front of a mirror. Another photo shows a gun magazine in hand. And on Friday, the same day law enforcement officials believe Salvador Ramos bought a second rifle, a picture of two AR-style semi-automatic rifles appeared.
Another Instagram user with many more followers was tagged in that post. That user has since removed her profile, but first she shared parts of what appears to be a chilling exchange with Ramos, asking her to share his gun pictures with her more than 10,000 followers.
“I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns,” she responded, adding, “It’s just scary.”
A response sent from the suspect’s account on Tuesday morning just said: “I’m about to.”
Schools increase security after Uvalde shooting
Schools around the country increased security as a precaution after the killings in Uvalde.
In Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting killed 20 first graders and six educators, state police said they were sending extra troopers to schools Wednesday, although no specific threats had been received.
“This assault on the most innocent of our citizens is deeply disturbing and heartbreaking,” Connecticut state police Col. Stavros Mellekas said in a statement. “At this time, our focus will be on protecting all school populations here in our state.”
Schools in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Virginia, Maryland and Florida also were among those increasing security and offering counseling.
“Last night, I hugged my two kids a little tighter,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said in a statement. “This morning, I gave them an extra kiss before sending them off to school. … How many more must die in our schools, in our supermarkets and in our streets before the U.S. Congress acts to help address this carnage?”
Uvalde native Matthew McConaughey urges America to control mass shooting ‘epidemic’
Actor Matthew McConaughey, who was born in Uvalde, Texas, responded by calling on Americans to act now to control an “epidemic” of mass shootings.
“Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us,” McConaughey posted on his Instagram account. “We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo.”
The actor doesn’t describe any specific laws or policies he wants adopted. He doesn’t mention gun control.
“As Americans, Texans, mothers and fathers, it’s time we re-evaluate,” he wrote. “We have to rearrange our values and find a common ground.”
“This is an epidemic we can control, and whichever side of the aisle we may stand on, we all know we can do better. We must do better. Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured.”
Will Congress act on guns after Sandy Hook, Buffalo, Uvalde?
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has quickly set in motion a pair of firearms background check bills in response to the school massacre in Texas. But the Democrat acknowledged Wednesday the refusal for years of Congress to pass any legislation aiming to curb a national epidemic of gun violence.
The failure of a firearms background check bill after 20 kindergartners were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School almost a decade ago signaled the end of gun violence legislation in Washington.
If the new deaths don’t convince Congress to act, Schumer said on the Senate floor, “what can we do?”
Texas GOP members to attend NRA convention in Houston
The National Rifle Association holds its annual convention in Houston, Texas, starting on Friday. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says some people want the city to cancel the meeting, but he says they can’t break the contract.
The greater question, Turner says, is why Texas politicians still plan to speak there after the shooting in Uvalde. Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz have been scheduled to address a leadership forum sponsored by the NRA’s lobbying arm.
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.