Houston, May 26 (IANS): The 19 children and two teachers killed earlier this week during the mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, have been identified, authorities said.
On Tuesday, they were shot and killed inside a fourth grade classroom at Robb Elementary School, just two days before the summer break, Xinhua news agency quoted Chris Olivarez, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, as saying to reporters on Wednesday.
Another 17 people were injured in the shooting and their injuries are not life-threatening, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a news conference on Wednesday.
The gunman, a local high school student identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, shared his plan on Facebook minutes before the attack.
He was killed by a Border Patrol officer on the scene, Abbott said.
Local media reported that Ramos legally purchased two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition from a federally authorised dealer in the Uvalde area last week for his 18th birthday.
"It's the first thing he did when he turned 18," Texas State Senator Ronald Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, told CNN on Wednesday.
"(He) had no problem accessing those weapons."
A personal background examination revealed a bullied loner with few if any friends and no criminal or known mental health history, said the CNN report.
Abbott, who is seeking re-election this year, placed the blame for the Uvalde school shooting on mental health issues.
"Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it," the Governor said at the news conference, doubling down concerns about an 18-year-old's ability to purchase firearms.
"This is totally predictable," Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke yelled at the Governor and interrupted the press conference.
O'Rourke, who was led away by officers, said Abbott did nothing to solve the problem of easy access to guns that is plaguing communities across Texas and the nation.
The Governor "has refused to champion red flag laws... He's refused to support safe-storage laws so young people cannot get their hands on their parents' weapons", O'Rourke said.
"Why are we letting this happen in this country? Why is this happening in this state? Year after year, city after city."
The Uvalde tragedy is the deadliest shooting at a school since the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut in 2012 that left 26 people dead, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old.
The shooting once again demonstrates that gun violence, a deep-rooted problem in the US, is worsening, local analysts say.
"By doing nothing to prevent gun violence, (our) nation chooses this pain," an editorial published by the San Antonio Express-News said.
As of Tuesday, over 31,300 people had died or been injured due to gun-related incidents in the US this year, according to a database run by the nonprofit research group Gun Violence Archive.
Including the Uvalde tragedy, there have been at least 40 shootings in schools, colleges and universities in the US so far this year, resulting in at least 31 deaths and more than 50 injuries.