Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains have deployed to Uvalde, Texas, following Tuesday’s (May 24) mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in which at least 19 children and two teachers were killed.
“As a father of four young children, my heart is heavy to hear about this tragic mass shooting at an elementary school,” said Josh Holland, international director of the BG-RRT. “We are sending our crisis-trained chaplains to comfort people, listen and cry with them, pray with them and share God’s love with those who have been impacted by this horrific tragedy.”
According to AP News, the attack began around 11:30 a.m. after the 18-year-old suspect—a former student of the school—gained entrance to the school and barricaded himself in a classroom.
“[The suspect had] no regard for human life,” Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said. “ … Just began shooting anyone that was in his way.”
The suspect began his rampage by shooting his grandmother, crashing his car, then entering the school wearing tactical gear and carrying a rifle, authorities said. His grandmother survived but is in critical condition.
As law enforcement attempted to enter the building, they were met with a barrage of gunfire. They resorted to breaking windows to evacuate as many children and staffers as they could. The suspect was eventually fatally shot on the scene.
“My heart is broken,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
The massacre marks the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.
May 26 was set to be the last day of school before the summer break. The school district said it is canceling all school activities following the shooting.
While crisis-trained chaplains will be out in the community offering spiritual and emotional care to those affected by this tragedy, a BG-RRT Mobile Ministry Center will also be on-site as a quiet place where people can talk with chaplains.
“Join me in praying for these devastated families and their community,” Franklin Graham posted on Facebook. “May God help, comfort, and sustain them as only He can.”
Family members cry while awaiting news about their loved ones at the SSGT Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School.
Photo: Jintak Han/ZUMA Press Wire/Alamy