Biden departs to console Texas town reeling from school massacre

1. US Biden
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden board Air Force One before departing from New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware on May 29, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
UVALDE, United States — US President Joe Biden departed for Uvalde on Sunday to console residents mourning 19 children and two teachers who were gunned down at an elementary school in the small Texas town.اضافة اعلان

Accounts are emerging of the ordeal faced by survivors of the Tuesday attack, as Biden calls for action to prevent future massacres in a country where efforts to tighten firearms regulations have repeatedly failed.

“We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer. We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of the people and of our children,” Biden said Saturday in a speech at the University of Delaware.

The president and first lady are due to visit the memorial outside Robb Elementary School on their arrival in Uvalde before attending a mass then meeting with relatives of those caught in the shooting and first responders.

As residents gathered in a central square in Uvalde on Saturday to pay homage to the victims, haunting stories told by young students who played dead while a gunman killed their classmates and teachers were underscored by accounts of the slow reaction by police.

Ten-year-old Samuel Salinas was sitting in his fourth-grade classroom when the shooter, later identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, barged in with a chilling announcement: “You’re all going to die.”

Then “he just started shooting,” Salinas told ABC News.

Texas authorities admitted Friday that as many as 19 police officers were in the school hallway for nearly an hour without breaching the room where the shooter was, thinking he had ended his killing. Officials called this delay the “wrong decision.”

Ramos was finally killed by police.

Survivors of the attack have described making desperate, whispered pleas for help in 911 phone calls during his assault. Some played dead to avoid drawing the shooter’s attention.

By mid-morning Saturday, several dozen people had gathered at Uvalde’s courthouse square, which has become a somber place of homage to victims and survivors.

Twenty-one simple white crosses have been erected around a fountain — one for each victim.

The Uvalde shooting was the deadliest school attack since 20 children and six staff were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

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