A U.S. Border Patrol agent was wounded by a gunshot to the head after quickly responding to a mass shooting at an elementary school in south Texas today.
Nineteen students and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, a town of more than 15,000 people 70 miles east of Del Rio. Officials said the 18-year-old shooter, Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother at her residence before leaving, crashing his car into a ditch, and going into the school, which educates children in second through fourth grades.
Ramos was killed at the scene. His grandmother was airlifted to a hospital and was in critical condition. Two officers were wounded, but not seriously, in the incident.
“U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to a law enforcement request for assistance re an active shooter situation inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Upon entering the building, Agents & other law enforcement officers faced gun fire from the subject, who was barricaded inside,” tweeted DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Marsha Espinosa.
“Risking their own lives, these Border Patrol Agents and other officers put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter’s attention away from potential victims and save lives,” Espinosa said. “At least one Border Patrol Agent was wounded by the shooter during the exchange of gunfire. On-and-off duty Border Patrol Agents arrived on the scene to assist with transferring students safely to their families and providing medical support.”
The CBP officer was wearing protective gear and is said to be in stable condition with a non-life-threatening wound. More than 20 CBP officers in the area reportedly responded to the scene to help.
Ramos was born in North Dakota and attended high school in Uvalde. Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez told CNN after a briefing with Texas Rangers that Ramos bought two rifles on his 18th birthday from a federally authorized dealer in Uvalde area. Gutierrez said law enforcement told him that there was a social media trail left by the shooter, including some threats that kids should watch out.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada told CNN that the shooter was equipped with a long rifle, backpack, and body armor, and was engaged by school district officers prior to entering the school, where he went into several classrooms.
“We don’t know if his intention was to come to the school,” Estrada said, noting the proximity of where the shooter crashed his car to the school.
President Biden ordered flags at federal facilities to be flown at half-staff through sundown on Saturday.
“Today, another mass shooting has taken the lives of innocent victims, including elementary school children and their teacher. This act of unspeakable violence has devastated an entire community and shaken our country,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement tonight. “FBI and ATF agents have responded to the scene, and the Justice Department is committed to providing our full support to our law enforcement partners on the ground in Texas and to the Uvalde community.”
“We join our fellow Americans in mourning this terrible loss and in their resolve to end this senseless violence,” Garland added.