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CHICAGO (CBS) — A total of 18 students and two adults were killed when a gunman opened fire at an elementary school in Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter is also dead, and is believed to have been killed by responding law enforcement officers.
The massacre happened at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, which is approximately an hour and a half west of San Antonio. The school teaches 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students, according to Uvalde CISD Police Chief Pedro Arredondo.
Abbott said the shooter was an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde. He said it’s believed the suspect, who he named as Salvador Ramos, abandoned his vehicle, then entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle.
Retired FBI agent Phil Andrew is a survivor of one of the earliest massacres that began at a school. He survived being shot by Laurie Dann, who broke into his family’s house in 1988 after opening fire at Hubbard Woods Elementary School in Winnetka.
Andrew told CBS 2’s Jim Williams and Marie Saavedra Tuesday that such carnage is often preventable. In this case, police were already after the shooter in Uvalde after he shot his own grandmother, Andrew noted.
“What we’ve learned is that these are many times highly predictable, highly preventable situations. In all likelihood, this individual gave indications to someone in the community – and in fact, this particular suspect shot his grandmother, and police were in pursuit. There was as BOL – ‘be on the lookout’ – for him as they were in pursuit,” he said. “We understand that he crashed his car near the perimeter fence of this school and jumped the fence with a handgun and a rifle – and then engaged in the school.”
It was not clear late Tuesday afternoon how the shooter got access to the school.
“This was around the noon hour. It could have been at a transitional time. The children could have been moving in and out for lunch or recess. But it had tragic consequences – with significant loss of life and injury. It ends with him being engaged by a responding officer, and now we’re in the aftermath of a long investigation,” Andrew said. “It’s going to take some time to figure out exactly what’s happened.”
Investigators will now conduct witness interviews, get accounts from pursuing law enforcement officers, and pull any kind of electronic and digital records – whether from social media or from cameras.
“That’s where we’re going to get some insight into this person’s intent, and whether they even specifically targeted this school, or it became a target of opportunity after they were evading law enforcement,” Andrew said.
Andrew was 20 and was home from college when Dann took his family hostage and shot him on May 20, 1988. This came just after Dann had shot six children at Hubbard Woods Elementary School, killing 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin.
At the time, Andrew didn’t know what Dann had done at the school. While holding the family hostage, she told them she had been raped, and she had shot her attacker.
After recovering from his injuries, Andrew went on to have a successful career in the FBI. He told us in 2018 that he was troubled that school shootings not only persist, but have become commonplace.
This year will also mark 10 years since 20 children – all of them 6 or 7 years old – and six educators were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Gunman Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself as police converged on the school. Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot his mother before driving to the school, and then killed himself after the rampage.