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Biden calls for fresh firearms curbs as 18 kids among 21 killed in Texas school shooting

India Today logo India Today 24-05-2022 India Today Web Desk

An 18-year-old gunman opened fire inside an elementary school in Uvalde county, killing 21 people, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement on Tuesday. Among the dead were 18 students and three adults. President Joe Biden delivered an emotional call for new restrictions on firearms.

"When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" Biden said at the White House shortly after returning from a five-day trip to Asia that was bookended by tragedy.

The suspected shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, was shot dead by police officers at the scene, Abbott said. He was believed to be armed with a handgun and a rifle.

Two police officers were also shot in the exchange but they are expected to survive, the governor said. It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were wounded, but police said there were "several injuries."

An Associated Press (AP) report said it was the deadliest shooting at a US school in nearly a decade, and the deadliest school shooting in Texas history. Federal law enforcement officials said the death toll was expected to rise.

The White House said President Joe Biden has been briefed about the shooting incident and will address the nation later today upon returning from his five-day trip to South Korea and Japan. Biden has ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until sunset daily until May 28 in observance of the tragedy.

A law enforcement official speaking to AP on condition of anonymity said the shooter was shot and killed by a Border Patrol agent who was nearby when the shooting began. The Border Patrol agent apparently rushed into the school without waiting for backup and confronted Ramos.

Earlier in the day, all schools in the Uvalde school district were locked down after reports of a gunman opening fire and barricading himself inside Robb Elementary School, local officials said.

"There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site," the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District said in a statement. "Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared."

There are around 600 students enrolled at Robb Elementary School. Reports of a gunman in or near the campus came in around noon, and law enforcement agencies and emergency services immediately reached the spot.

Uvalde Police Department said on Facebook that people, including parents, should stay away from the campus. The rest of the district is secure, authorities said. Students were transported to a safe location away from the school and reunited with their parents.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital said in a Facebook post that several students were being treated, without giving details about the extent of their injuries and condition. University Health in San Antonio also said it had two patients -- a child and an adult -- from the shooting incident.

(With inputs from AP)

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