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Officials explain how gunman entered Texas classroom, killing 19 students, 2 teachers

Texas School Shooting
Posted at 8:47 AM, May 25, 2022

All 21 victims killed in Tuesday's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were in the same classroom, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN on Wednesday.

The gunman killed 19 students and two teachers, authorities said. The families of all 21 victims have been notified, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said the incident started at a residence when the 18-year-old suspect shot his grandmother. The suspect then crashed his car and attempted to run into the elementary school. There, he was met by a school resource officer.

The officer "confronted" but did not "engage" the gunman, officials said. Then, local officers followed the gunman into the school. Lt. Chris Olivarez reported that the gunman shot two officers inside the school. The two officers had non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

The gunman barricaded himself in a classroom, shooting at will, officials said.

"It is a small classroom, anywhere from 25 to 30 students in there, two teachers in there," Olivarez told CNN. "So don't have exact number of how many students were in that classroom, but it could vary as I mentioned right now from 25 to 30, could be more. But we do know there was — it was a classroom setting, a typical classroom setting. You have mass groups of children inside that classroom, all together, with nowhere to go."

The DPS spokesperson said officers began evacuating students from nearby classrooms by breaking windows.

Once additional resources arrived, Olivarez said officers shot and killed the suspect.

"The initial group of officers that were on scene... were at a point of disadvantage because the shooter was able to barricade himself inside that classroom," Olivarez said. "There was not sufficient manpower at that time and their primary focus was to preserve any further loss of life, so they started breaking windows around the school, and trying to rescue, evacuate children, and teachers, while that was going on.

"At that point, we had a specialized tactical team arrive, comprised of federal officers, local police officers as well. They made forcible entry into the classroom. One of those officers was met with gunfire, he was shot."

Olivarez told CNN that the officer also had non-life-threatening injuries.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the gunman used an AR-15 rifle in the attack. The San Antonio Express-News reported the suspect purchased 375 rounds of 5.56 ammunition.

Abbott praised officers for preventing the incident from being any worse.

"Law enforcement officials did what they do, they showed amazing courage by running toward gunfire for the singular purpose of trying to save lives," he said.

Officials added the gunman had no known mental health issues and no known motive.