Police are under pressure after the bloodbath at a Texas elementary school. She is accused of not being at the scene of the crime in time. Meanwhile, Joe Biden travels to the scene of the accident. And Trump is appearing at a meeting of the powerful NRA gun lobby.

Police are under pressure for their actions during the massacre following the bloodbath at a Texas elementary school. Parents accuse the emergency services of having been idle for too long and not intervening in time. Authorities confirmed Thursday that the gunman spent around an hour in the classroom shooting at the schoolchildren and teachers. Only then did the police enter the room and shoot the 18-year-old.

At a press conference in the community of Uvalde, Victor Escalon of the Texas Department of Public Safety gave further details on the course of the crime and spoke of a “complex situation”. The attacker Salvador Ramos entered the elementary school and eventually a classroom near an entrance around 11:40 a.m. (local time) Tuesday, he said. Police were on site within minutes because witnesses saw the armed shooter in front of the school.

When asked why the police didn’t try to enter the classroom directly, Escalon said the officers lacked special equipment. The door was “barricaded”. The police then called for reinforcements and brought school children and teachers to safety. Besides, she would have tried to negotiate with the shooter. He fired most of the shots at the very beginning. “There wasn’t much shooting during the negotiations, other than trying to keep the cops at bay,” Escalon said. After about an hour, special forces arrived and shot the 18-year-old.

authorities under pressure to justify themselves

There had been conflicting information from the police in the past few days about exactly how the crime took place. Initially, it was said that the shooter had already been confronted by a security guard in front of the school. Escalon did not confirm that. Instead, the 18-year-old was able to walk into the school unhindered through an unlocked door. At the press conference on Thursday, the authorities came under pressure to justify themselves. “Why don’t you clarify this and explain to us how it is possible that your officers were in there for an hour (…) but no one was able to get into this room?” asked a journalist.

Recently, more and more critical voices from parents in Uvalde have been raised. They accuse the police of acting too hesitantly. “I told one of the officers myself that if they don’t want to go in, lend me his gun and a vest and I’ll go in and sort it out myself,” Victor Luna told CNN. His son Jayden survived the massacre. The police did their job, Luna said. But she could have done it faster. Other parents made similar comments in US media.

Husband of slain teacher dies of ‘a broken heart’

The massacre at the primary school in Uvalde claimed the lives of 21 people. 19 of them were children. Now there was another victim. Two days after the school massacre, the husband of one of the teachers who was killed died. Joe Garcia died of a heart attack, Ernie Zuniga, a news anchor for local station Kabb Fox San Antonio, wrote on Twitter Thursday. Garcia’s family spoke of a death “of grief”.

A donation website set up by the cousin of the slain teacher Irma Garcia said: Irma’s husband Joe “tragically passed away this morning (05/26/2022) as a result of a medical emergency”. She believes Joe “died of a broken heart” because he “lost the love of his life,” she added. John Martinez, Garcia’s nephew, tweeted that Joe Garcia “died of grief.”

The couple, who were married for 24 years, according to Robb Elementary School’s website, have four children. Both Irma Garcia and her fellow teacher Eva Mireles, who shared classrooms, died in the school massacre.

Debate about stricter gun laws

High-ranking visitors have now been announced for Sunday in Uvalde. US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill want to join the city’s residents in mourning the 21 deaths, the White House said on Thursday. Biden had already announced on Wednesday that he would travel to Uvalde “in the coming days”. After the school massacre, Biden repeatedly called for lax gun laws in the United States to be tightened. “These were elementary school kids, they should lose their first teeth, not their lives,” Biden spokeswoman Karine-Jean Pierre said. Corresponding advances by his Democratic Party have so far failed due to resistance from the opposition Republicans.

This Friday, former US President Donald Trump will appear in Houston (Texas) at the annual meeting of the powerful NRA gun lobby. Republicans are vehemently opposed to tightening gun laws. Trump’s participation in the event has been certain for some time. He confirmed his coming again. “America right now needs real solutions and real leadership, not politicians and partisanship,” he wrote on social media platform Truth Social, which he co-founded.

The leading cause of death in the US

Firearms have replaced car accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States. According to official data from the health authority CDC from 2020, a total of 4368 children and adolescents up to the age of 19 died from firearms. In comparison, there were 4,036 motor vehicle-related deaths – the leading cause of death in this age group to date.

The number of children and young people killed by firearms corresponds to a rate of 5.4 per 100,000. Almost two-thirds of these deaths were homicides. The fact that deaths were replaced by vehicles at the top is probably also due to the fact that road safety measures have improved over the decades. Meanwhile, gun laws have been relaxed. The trend lines cross in 2020 – more recent data are not yet available.

The numbers were published last week in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors noted that the new data is consistent with other evidence that gun violence has increased during the coronavirus pandemic for reasons that are unclear. However, “it cannot be assumed that it will later return to the level before the pandemic”.

Most gun-related deaths are suicides. School shootings, such as in Uvalde, Texas, account for only a small proportion of childhood gun deaths. Boys were six times more likely to die from a gun than girls.

The deaths disproportionately affect black children and youth, who are more than four times as likely to die as white children. For these, vehicles still pose a greater threat. By region, the death rate from guns was highest in the capital, Washington, followed by the state of Louisiana and Alaska.