U.S. President Joe Biden was aboard Air Force One Tuesday afternoon when officials said a gunman acted alone in fatally shooting at least 14 students and a teacher at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
Biden has ordered the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff until sunset on May 28 at all public buildings and grounds, military posts, and naval vessels across the country and its territories “as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence.”
“I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations,” Biden’s proclamation stated.
“I hoped when I became president I would not have to do this, again,” Biden said at a press conference late Tuesday, decrying the death of “beautiful, innocent” second, third, and fourth graders in “another massacre.”
Their parents “will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them,” he said.
“As a nation, we have to ask, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?'”
“We have to act,” he said and suggested reinstating the assault weapons ban and other “common sense gun laws.”
Biden spoke with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shortly before landing in Washington “to offer any and all assistance he needs in the wake of the horrific shooting,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote on Twitter.
President Biden just spoke with Governor Abbott to offer any and all assistance he needs in the wake of the horrific shooting in Uvalde, TX. pic.twitter.com/u3yMHFtcJJ
— Kate Bedingfield (@WHCommsDir) May 24, 2022
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley-Dillon and other senior members of Biden’s team briefed the president on the shooting aboard Air Force One, AP reported.
Robb Elementary School is currently attended by students in the second, third, and fourth grades.
Texas’ governor said at a briefing in Abilene that the shooter was 18-year-old Salvador Ramos who drove to the school and opened fire with a handgun. He may also have had a rifle.
“He shot and killed—horrifically, incomprehensibly—14 students, and killed a teacher,” Abbott said.
Abbott said Ramos is dead, likely killed by responding officers. Two officers were wounded during the confrontation but were expected to survive, he said.
Officials are investigating the shooting.