Senator Chris Murphy Asks Lawmakers 'What Are We Doing?' After Texas Elementary School Shooting

·4 min read
Senator Chris Murphy Asks Lawmakers 'What Are We Doing?' After Texas Elementary School Shooting

A Connecticut lawmaker made an emotional plea on the Senate floor Tuesday in the aftermath of a mass shooting earlier that day at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people — 19 students, a teacher and one other adult — were killed.

"What are we doing? What are we doing?" Sen. Chris Murphy asked during his remarks in Washington, D.C. "Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African-American patrons we have another Sandy Hook on our hands."

After mentioning that "there have been more mass shootings than days in the year," Murphy went on to again ask his peers, "What are we doing?! Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if your answer is that as this slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here... if not to solve a problem as existential as this?"

RELATED: Uvalde School Shooter Shot His Grandmother Before Driving to Robb Elementary School: Officials

"This only happens in this country, and nowhere else," he later added. "Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day."

For more on the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue," Murphy concluded.

Earlier Tuesday, a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde at about 11:30 a.m. local time after abandoning his vehicle.

According to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, the shooter — identified as Uvalde resident Salvador Ramos — is dead. It is believed police killed him.

Police said at a Tuesday press conference they believe the shooter, who according to Abbott had a handgun and possibly a rifle, acted alone. The children killed were in the second, third and fourth grades, police said.

A girl cries, comforted by two adults, outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center where grief counseling will be offered in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. - A teenage gunman killed 18 young children in a shooting at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, in the deadliest US school shooting in years. The attack in Uvalde, Texas -- a small community about an hour from the Mexican border -- is the latest in a spree of deadly shootings in America, where horror at the cycle of gun violence has failed to spur action to end it. (Photo by allison dinner / AFP) (Photo by ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)
A girl cries, comforted by two adults, outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center where grief counseling will be offered in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24, 2022. - A teenage gunman killed 18 young children in a shooting at an elementary school in Texas on Tuesday, in the deadliest US school shooting in years. The attack in Uvalde, Texas -- a small community about an hour from the Mexican border -- is the latest in a spree of deadly shootings in America, where horror at the cycle of gun violence has failed to spur action to end it. (Photo by allison dinner / AFP) (Photo by ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images)

ALLISON DINNER/getty

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University Health San Antonio tweeted there are two patients — a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl — who are in critical condition.

Gov. Abbott said two responding officers were injured and expected to survive, according to ABC News.

Uvalde is a small city of about 16,000 residents, approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio.

Congressman Tony Gonzales, who represents the area, said in a statement, "I am heartbroken for our South Texas community. It is devastating when our innocent children become the victims of senseless violence. We are devastated."

RELATED: President Joe Biden Addresses Shooting at Texas Elementary School: 'I Am Sick and Tired of It'

The Newtown Action Alliance, a gun violence prevention organization launched after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 26 innocent people were killed, issued a statement on Twitter saying, "We are devastated. Our hearts are breaking for Robb Elementary & Uvalde families & community. We are angry. These shootings are preventable but those whose stood with the NRA after Sandy Hook nearly 10 years ago did absolutely nothing to prevent these tragedies. We need change."

March for Our Lives, the gun violence prevention organization founded by survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were murdered, wrote in a tweet: "Our hearts are utterly and completely broken. You can't stop a bullet with thoughts and prayers. To honor those lost and save countless lives, we need action. We're dying while we wait for it."

President Joe Biden also spoke out following the shooting.

"I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this again, another massacre in Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, and fourth graders. How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened, see their friends die, as if they're in a battlefield for God's sake," he said, in part, in his nearly eight-minute address.

"I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don't tell me we can't have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common sense gun laws," he added.

Vice President Kamala Harris issued a statement hours after the shooting while speaking at a pre-planned event Tuesday, saying in part, "While we don't know all the details yet, we do know there are parents who lost children."

"Every time a tragedy like this happens our hearts break. And our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families, and yet it keeps happening," she continued, later adding, "Enough is enough."

The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund") or donate money through Zelle to robbschoolmemorialfund@gmail.comPeople can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.

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