Grief, horror and outrage spread through the small Texas town of Uvalde on Tuesday after a mass shooting that left 19 elementary school students and at least two adults dead.
Some frantically tried to check on loved ones and friends, while others prayed.
“It’s a small town, so no one is going to be unaffected. There won’t be anybody that doesn’t know — either directly or indirectly — either family or friends that are going to be affected by this,” Uvalde County Commissioner John Yeackle said.
Another county commissioner, Ronald Garza, said some parents and grandparents gathered at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center still don’t know the whereabouts of their children and are waiting for news.
“This is just a very sad time for them,” he said. “They’re scared. They’re kind of in a state of shock. Their eyes are red. Some have been crying. It’s just sad they’re having to go through this.”
Garza described the shooting as “something that you just don’t expect in our small community” and asked the public to pray for Uvalde and “pray for peace, for understanding.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, had a handgun and possibly a rifle when he entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, a working-class city of about 16,000 people about 80 miles west of San Antonio.
Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother before he arrived at the elementary school, according to a law enforcement source.
Leaders said the community will rise to the occasion.
“We’re resilient people. We might have our differences, but when there’s a need, there’s a crisis in our community, we’ve always been able to unite,” Garza said. “Were a very family-oriented town. Church is at the center of our community. And we just didn’t expect this to happen.”
But it will be tough.
“Everybody’s heartbroken and stunned,” Yeackle said.