A visibly angry President Biden addressed the nation in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX, on May 24. Today's violence marks the deadliest mass elementary-school shooting since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, in 2012. President Biden was vice president at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting, and taking the podium at the White House today, he said he'd hoped never to have to give this kind of address as president.
"It's time to turn this pain into action."
To viewers watching his broadcast, including lawmakers, Biden made the urgent plea for immediate gun reform across the US. "Don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage," he said. "Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in god's name is our backbone? . . . It's time to turn this pain into action for every parent, for every citizen, in this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it's time to act."
"There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary," the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District tweeted at 10:17 a.m. "Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared. The rest of the district is under a Secure Status." Several updates later, it tweeted, "Robb Elementary students have been transported to the Civic Center for reunification. Parents are encouraged to pick up their children at this time."
The suspected 18-year-old gunman was killed by police officers responding to the scene on Tuesday. "It is believed that he abandoned his vehicle, then entered into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a handgun, and he may have also had a rifle," Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news briefing on Tuesday. "He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher." In addition to those fatally injured, many other survivors were wounded and are being treated at nearby hospitals. Law-enforcement officials have not identified a motive for the Uvalde shooting at this time.
The gunman reportedly shot his grandmother before going to the school on Tuesday, law enforcement officials told CNN. "This young man shot his grandmother and fled that scene from that incident," State Sen. Roland Gutierrez said. According to recent updates, the suspect's grandmother has been airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio, where she "is still holding on."
President Biden asked Americans to honor the family members of those lost. "I ask the nation to pray for them. Give the parents and siblings the strength in the darkness they feel right now. As a nation, we have to ask, 'When in god's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in god's name will we do what we know in our gut needs to be done?'"
The shooting comes just days after a string of shootings across the US. On May 14, an 18-year-old gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY, during a racially motivated killing spree. That same day, a 68-year-old gunman attacked a Taiwanese Church in Laguna Woods, CA, killing one person and wounding five others in what is being investigated as a hate crime. Not far from Uvalde, a 25-year-old man was killed and four people were injured at a night club in Amarillo, TX, and two people were killed and three others were critically injured in Houston on May 15.
Biden concluded the speech saying, "May god bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day."