On May 24th, a gunman entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas with an AR-15 and a handgun. He then proceeded to kill 21 children and adults, while also critically injuring even more, making this the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and the local community in Uvalde.
The victims of this mass shooting include a 4th-grade teacher named Eva Mireles, who had worked as an educator for 17 years.
Among the students killed during this incident was a little boy named Uziyah Garcia, who was 8 years old. Amerie Jo Garza, a 10-year-old 4th grader also lost her life. Also among the murdered students were Eliahana Cruz Torres, Rojelio Torres, and Xavier Lopez, all 10-year-old 4th-grade students.
It has been reported that all of the victims were located in one 4th grade classroom.
The attack happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which is a very small and mostly Hispanic community of about 16,000 people. The town is about 85 miles to the west of San Antonio and is most famously known as the hometown of the actor Matthew McConaughey.
Robb Elementary School taught students between 2nd and 4th grade and has a total number of about 600 children in attendance. The school had two days left until their summer break started on May 26th.
On May 24th, the 18-year-old gunman, who was a senior at Uvalde High School, entered the elementary school on his own with an AR-15 and a handgun that he had just purchased after his birthday. He barricaded himself into one classroom, locked the door, and began shooting.
He shot and killed 21 people, while critically injuring many as well. It has been alleged by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, that the gunman shot and wounded his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary School that day as well.
During the mass shooting, local law enforcement asked for backup, which caused a Border Patrol tactical unit to respond to the scene. One of these agents reportedly shot and killed the gunman.
Law enforcement found one firearm in the gunman’s truck and the other inside the elementary school. There was also a backpack filled with several magazines of ammunition near the school entrance that he dropped as well.
14 people were taken to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, 11 of whom were children. According to the hospital CEO, 2 of these children had already passed away upon arrival. Several of these critically injured patients then had to be transferred to trauma centers in San Antonio for more intensive treatment.
The local hospitals and other organizations put out a call on Tuesday night for any willing blood donors to respond to this crisis. An emergency blood drive is currently scheduled for Wednesday, May 25th from 9 AM to 2 PM in Uvalde at the Herby Ham Activity Center.
Many residents of San Antonio have lined up to donate blood at the South Texas Blood and Tissue Center as well. So far, the center has sent 25 units of blood, which included 15 units via helicopter that was available at the site of the shooting and nearby hospitals, and 10 more units sent to a Uvalde hospital later in the day. They have stated that they will continue to support the victims and local hospitals as needed.
The Uvalde Consolidated School District Superintendent stated on Tuesday that the local high school’s graduation is postponed for the time being. He also stated that the school year for the district is done, and any other events taking place would be canceled.
The local civic center is starting grief counseling for the students and their families starting Wednesday, May 25th.
U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for the tragedy at the White House and other government buildings.
What Can You Do to Help?
The largest hospital that transfuses blood in the San Antonio area, University Health System, is asking members of the community to donate blood to local hospitals and centers. If you are in the area and are available to donate blood, it is an excellent way to provide direct aid to the victims and their families.
Another way to help victims is by supporting verified fundraisers. Here are some options that go directly to the victims and their families:
- For Garcia Family
- Please help us put our Xavier to rest
- Robb Elementary School Shooting
- Texas Elementary School Shooting Victims Fund
There is also a need for volunteer attorneys who are licensed to practice law in the state of Texas, according to The San Antonio Legal Services Association’s Facebook page. These volunteers are needed to assist the shooting victims and their families with any unmet legal needs they have. SALSA has also stated that they are going to respond with pro bono assistance as they are called to do so by community partners and/or civil leaders over the next few weeks and months.
For attorneys licensed in the state of Texas, they are asking for an email sent to UvaldeResponse@sa-lsa.org with your availability through June 2022 and your specific area of practice.
Keeping Our Schools Safe
There is no greater and more important task than keeping our children safe. Children in the United States face violent emergencies at school frequently, and this must be combatted with appropriate safety measures.
Some important questions to be asking about your school right now include:
- Are we able to communicate effectively during an emergency?
- Do we have appropriate emergency procedures in place?
- How can we make our schools more secure during a violent event?
- How can we prevent these incidents from occurring in the first place?
If you are unsure of the answers to any of these questions, it is time to seek them out. For more information regarding school and campus safety, check out our resources.
Interested in learning more about technology that could assist in keeping your school safe? Reach out to us today to learn more about panic buttons and emergency communication technology, and how they can streamline your school's safety protocols both internally and externally.