At least 19 children and two teachers were killed in a massacre at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday. The children killed were so disfigured that the parents had to provide DNA samples for identification. The perpetrator apparently announced his act to a girl from Frankfurt.

After the massacre at an elementary school in the US state of Texas, the entire country is in shock. At least 19 children were killed after an 18-year-old opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, near San Antonio, during class time on Tuesday. The gunman raged until security forces shot him, according to media reports.

It is one of the deadliest school massacres in US history. Only the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut killed more people.

According to a CNN report, the perpetrator announced his act shortly beforehand. Accordingly, he wrote to a 15-year-old from Frankfurt on Facebook that he had just shot his grandmother in the head. Afterwards he wrote: “Now I’m going to shoot up an elementary school”.

According to the report, the girl and the perpetrator met on May 9 on the Internet via a social network and have been in contact since then. According to investigators, he dropped the news that he was about to “shoot up” a school only about 15 minutes before he arrived at the Robb Elementary School.

Texas Gov. Greg Abott said at a press conference in Uvalde, “The reality is, as horrible as what happened, it could have been worse.” He also thanked emergency services for their quick action. “They showed incredible courage by running into the gunfire just to save lives,” he said of the emergency services. “It is a fact that their quick response on the ground has enabled them to respond to and eliminate the gunman. They were able to save lives.” Unfortunately, there weren’t enough lives.

Over time, more and more depressing details come to light. Such as the fact that the students aged between seven and ten were only two days away from their long-awaited vacation. In order to celebrate the week of the award ceremony, the motto “Footloose and Fancy” (literally: “unbound and chic”, also translatable with “free and unbound”) was planned for May 24th, as the British news portal “The Telegraph reported. The primary school children would have dressed extra smartly for the day and combined them with “funny and unusual” shoes.

A visit to the zoo and a talent show were also planned as program items. In addition, the students received their certificates on Tuesday. But these activities should not happen again. Because around 11:30 a.m. the perpetrator stormed into the elementary school in the US state of Texas and opened the bloodbath in a single classroom.

More than twelve hours after the crime, relatives were still unclear about the whereabouts of individual students. According to the New York Times, parents had to provide DNA samples to determine their relationship to the victims. Many children were taken to nearby hospitals with serious injuries. Some of the victims were so disfigured that their identity could only be fully clarified with DNA samples.

According to investigators, the shooter entered the primary school in the small town on Tuesday afternoon (local time) and shot himself. At least two adults were also killed in the incident. On Wednesday it was still unclear whether the shooter was also counted among the adult fatalities.

Little was initially known about the background to the crime in Uvalde. The investigators kept a low profile. According to media reports, the shooter bought the weapon used in the crime about a week ago, shortly after his 18th birthday. According to CNN, former schoolmates assigned the shooter an Instagram profile on which a photo of two rifles had been posted a few days ago. The behavior of the shooter has recently changed, the Washington Post quoted a childhood friend as saying. He lived with his mother and sometimes with his grandmother and has recently been behaving aggressively.

US President Joe Biden, who has just returned from a multi-day trip to Asia, addressed the nation. Accompanied by his wife Jill, he delivered an emotional speech at the White House shortly after landing. “As a nation, we have to ask ourselves when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby,” he said. The idea that an 18-year-old boy could walk into a gun store and buy two assault rifles is just wrong.

Erick Estrada from the Department of Public Safety in Texas described the first findings on the course of events in an interview with the broadcaster CNN. The suspect initially shot the woman in his grandmother’s apartment. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to CNN.

The shooter then drove a car to the school and caused an accident there, Estrada said. The young man then got out of the car and was wearing a protective vest and entered the school with a backpack and a gun. There he opened fire. The 18-year-old was then asked by the school’s security staff. Estrada emphasized that this is preliminary information.

The elementary school was cordoned off after the attack and surrounded by emergency vehicles. Television images showed stretchers being rolled out of the building. Parents wandered around looking for their children. A woman, whose niece is still missing, was waiting in the car in front of a nearby hospital. “We don’t know where she is,” she told local broadcaster Kens5. “It’s not typical of my niece not to speak up. Your phone is off.”

According to the Department of Homeland Security, a US border control officer was shot and wounded. Accordingly, forces from the border guard stationed in Uvalde were called to help. When they arrived at the school, they were shot at by the perpetrator, who had holed up inside the building. “Riding their own lives, border control officers at the scene got themselves among the gunmen and children to divert the gunman’s attention from potential victims and save lives,” a ministry spokeswoman said on Twitter.

Another massacre in the USA leaves bewilderment and the question of the motive for looking for victims in an elementary school of all places. Shooting sprees, including in schools, occur with sad regularity in the United States. President Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on all U.S. public buildings through Saturday.

Former US President Barack Obama (60) expressed his condolences to the affected families on Twitter and criticized the opposition Republicans: “Our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way to prevent these tragedies.” The massacre immediately fueled the ongoing debate about lax US gun ownership rules. Biden’s Democrats lack the necessary votes in the US Senate for far-reaching changes in the law. Many Republicans oppose tighter regulations, and the US gun lobby is very powerful.

Almost ten years ago, the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut had caused particular shocks in the USA: In December 2012, a 20-year-old shot around, killing 20 school children and six teachers. And just over a week ago, a gunman with an assault rifle opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and injuring three others. According to investigators, the act was racially motivated – eleven of the 13 victims were black.

More on the Texas elementary school shooting:

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