Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told the “Today Show” and CNN on Wednesday that the child victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. At least 19 students were killed in the incident, which also left the suspect and another adult dead, officials have said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday identified the gunman as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who attended a high school in the city.
Ramos “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” Olivarez said. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.”
“It’s a small classroom, you can have anywhere from 25 to 30 students in there, plus there were two teachers in there. … So don’t have exact number of how many students were in that classroom, but it could vary … It was a classroom setting, a typical classroom setting where you have mass groups of children inside that classroom altogether, with nowhere to go,” Olivarez added.
There are still many unanswered questions, Olivarez said.
“That’s why we’re working with FBI right now to kind of look back to see if there were any indicators, any red flags, looking at social media. What we know about the shooter is that he is a resident here in Uvalde, he did attend one of the local high schools, he lived with his grandparents, was unemployed, no friends, no girlfriend that we can identify at this time, no criminal history, no gang affiliation as well,” he said.
Dillon Silva, whose nephew was in a nearby classroom, said students were watching a movie when a bullet shattered a window. Moments later, their teacher saw the armed assailant walk past the door.
“Oh, my God, he has a gun!” the teacher shouted twice, according to Silva. “The teacher didn’t even have time to lock the door,” he said, reported The Associated Press.
Ramos legally bought two AR-style rifles just days before the attack, soon after his 18th birthday, state senators briefed by law enforcement said.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden responded to the incident and pushed for gun control laws. In a Twitter post, the president noted that gun-control measures won’t “prevent every tragedy” but still wants them passed.
“We know common sense gun laws can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy. But we know they work and have a positive impact. When we passed the assault weapons ban—mass shootings went down. When the law expired—mass shootings tripled,” Biden wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.