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Gunman kills 19 children, 2 teachers

KUWAIT CITY/UVALDE, Texas, May 25, (Agencies): His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent on Wednesday a cable of condolences to the President of the United States Joe Biden over the shooting incident that took place at one of the elementary schools in the State of Texas, resulting in the killing of many people and the injury of others. His Highness the Amir wished for solace to the families of the victims, and hoped for the swift recovery of those injured in the horrendous shooting.

The Archbishop of San Antonio, Gustavo Garcia Seller, comforts families outside of the Civic Center following a deadly school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, May 24. (AP)

His Highness Deputy Amir and the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent similar cables. Kuwait expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the US over the killing of a number of students and a teacher at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Kuwait offers its sincere condolences and sympathy to the American leadership, government and people, as well as to the families of the victims, read a ministry statement.

The 18-year-old gunman who slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school barricaded himself inside a single classroom and “began shooting anyone that was in his way,” authorities said Wednesday in detailing the latest mass killing to rock the U.S. Law enforcement officers eventually broke into the classroom and killed the gunman, who used an AR-style rifle. Police and others responding to Tuesday’s attack also went around breaking windows at the school to enable students and teachers to escape, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said on NBC’s “Today” show. Olivarez told CNN that all the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary.

The killer “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom,” he said. “It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.” 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. Investigators did not immediately disclose a motive but identified the assailant as Salvador Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio.

Hint on social media
Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, suggesting that “kids should watch out,” according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. Ramos legally brought two AR-style rifles just days before the attack, soon after his 18th birthday, state senators briefed by law enforcement said. One of the guns was purchased at a federally licensed dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to Sen. John Whitmire.

Ramos bought 375 rounds of ammunition the next day, then purchased the second rifle on May 20. On that day, an Instagram account appearing to belong to the gunman shared a photo of two AR-style rifles. Officers found one of the rifles in Ramos’ truck, the other in the school, according to the briefing. Ramos was wearing a tactical vest, but it had no hardened body-armor plates inside, lawmakers were told. He also dropped a backpack containing several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance. The attack in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Families in Uvalde waited hours for word on their children. At the town civic center where some gathered Tuesday night, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wails. “No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man. “My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.” Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside the school as the sun set, seeking word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Eliajha Cruz Torres. He drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying call from his daughter about the first reports of the shooting. Waiting, he said, was the heaviest moment of his life. “I hope she is alive,” Cruz said. On Wednesday morning, volunteers were seen arriving at the community center with Bibles and therapy dogs. The attack was the latest in a seemingly unending string of mass killings at churches, schools, stores and other sites in the United States. Just 10 days earlier, 10 Black people were shot to death in a racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

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