18 children among 21 killed in shooting at Texas elementary school

The gunman, an 18-year-old local has been shot dead by police

Security was tightened in the locality in the aftermath of the shooting

At least 21 people including 18 children were killed when an 18-year-old gunman sprayed bullets at an elementary shoot in Uvalde County, Texas on Tuesday.

The gunman named Salvador Ramos, who was armed with a handgun and rifle, was shot dead by police, governor Greg Abbott said

The incident which occurred just 85 miles west of San Antonio, has been called the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and occurred four years after a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area.

“He shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher,” said the governor, adding that two officers were shot and wounded but were expected to survive.

The gunman was a resident of the community and entered the school with a handgun, and possibly a rifle, and opened fire, Abbott said.

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police Pete Arredondo said at a news conference that the gunman acted alone. It was not immediately clear how many people, in addition to the dead, were hurt but Arredondo said there were several injuries.

Robb Elementary School has an enrollment of just under 600 students and Arredondo said it serves students in the second, third and fourth grade. He did not say what grades the children that were shot are in.

A heavy police presence surrounded the school Tuesday afternoon, with officers in heavy vests diverting traffic and FBI agents coming and going from the building.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the school shooting on Air Force One as he returns from a five-day trip to Asia and would continue to receive updates. Jean-Pierre said Biden will deliver remarks Tuesday evening at the White House.

The shooting in Texas came less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing 10 black shoppers and workers in what officials have described as a hate crime.

Uvalde is home to about 16,000 people and is the seat of government for Uvalde County. The town is about 75 miles (120 km) from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes. There is a funeral home across the street from the school.

(With inputs from agencies)