Texas school shooting: Houston-area officials express heartbreak over Uvalde tragedy

State and local leaders in the Houston area are expressing heartbreak after a deadly shooting at an Uvalde, Texas, elementary school.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said an 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday killing 14 children, one teacher and injuring others.

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It was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since the shocking attack at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.

As news of the tragedy unfolded, officials released statements in reaction.

Governor Greg Abbott released this statement:

"Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde. Cecilia and I mourn this horrific loss and we urge all Texans to come together to show our unwavering support to all who are suffering. We thank the courageous first responders who worked to finally secure Robb Elementary School. I have instructed the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers to work with local law enforcement to fully investigate this crime. The Texas Division of Emergency Management is charged with providing local officials all resources necessary to respond to this tragedy as the State of Texas works to ensure the community has what it needs to heal."

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement:

"I am heartbroken and troubled to learn about today’s tragic event at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, that took the lives of 14 innocent children and one teacher and left dozens of children injured.

My deepest condolences go to the families, teachers, and classmates enduring this unspeakable tragedy.

In the last two weeks, at least 23 people have lost their lives in mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y., and now Uvalde, Texas. Congress must act, and governors and state legislators must pass reasonable gun control legislation. The voters must demand it from their representatives.

How many more children must lose their lives from senseless gun violence?"

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Houston ISD Superintendent Millard House II released this statement:

"Our hearts ache as we share in the grief and pain of the Uvalde community. Robb Elementary children, teachers, staff, and families experienced what no one should, let alone at a place we trust is safe for our children.

The safety of our students is our foremost priority. The Houston ISD Police Department is evaluating safety measures on our campuses and will adjust accordingly. I want to assure the HISD community that we are taking this very seriously. HISD Police have reached out to the Houston Police Department and there are no active threats currently.

I will hold my children a little tighter when I see them as I'm sure many of you will as well. Let us hold the families of those who have lost loved ones just as tightly in our thoughts and send them the strength to get through this unimaginable pain."

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez wrote on Twitter:

"Absolutely heartbreaking. Praying for the families & loved ones of those killed or injured, the students, faculty/staff, and the entire community of #Uvalde. Thank you to all First Responders for their heroic actions. School always felt like a safe place while I was growing up."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.