Michigan state officials 'heartbroken' for Uvalde shooting victims

Michigan State Police Wednesday stated, 'there are no known threats to our schools at this time.'

Photo of Angela Mulka
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express/AP
A woman cries as she leaves the Uvalde Civic Center, Tuesday May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing multiple children and a teacher and wounding others, Gov. Greg Abbott said, and the gunman was dead.

A woman cries as she leaves the Uvalde Civic Center, Tuesday May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at a Texas elementary school, killing multiple children and a teacher and wounding others, Gov. Greg Abbott said, and the gunman was dead.

Photo provided/William Luther/The San Antonio Express/AP
Kladys Castellón prays during a vigil for the victims of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.

An 18-year-old gunman shot and killed close to two dozen people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on the afternoon of May 24. Uvalde is a town of about 16,000 people about 85 miles West of San Antonio.

As a mark of respect for the victims, an anguished and angry President Joe Biden proclaimed "that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 28, 2022."

This March 2022 photo provided by Manny Renfro shows his grandson, Uziyah Garcia, while on spring break in San Angelo, Texas. The 8-year-old was among those killed in Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.

This March 2022 photo provided by Manny Renfro shows his grandson, Uziyah Garcia, while on spring break in San Angelo, Texas. The 8-year-old was among those killed in Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas.

Photo provided/Manny Renfro/AP

Biden spoke Tuesday night from the White House barely an hour after returning from a five-day trip to Asia that was bracketed by mass shootings in the U.S., according to The Associated Press. He pleaded for action to address gun violence after years of failure — and bitterly blamed firearm manufacturers and their supporters for blocking legislation in Washington.

"When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" Biden said with emotion. "Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?"

Tuesday's shooting marks the 27th school shooting this year.

Under Biden's proclamation, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered the U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and upon all public buildings and grounds statewide to be lowered to half-staff immediately on Tuesday, May 24 through Saturday, May 28.

"My heart breaks for the students, teachers, staff, and families of Robb Elementary School," Whitmer said in a Tuesday press release. "The death of multiple students and the shooting of many others is horrific. Our state is in mourning alongside the parents who had their children taken from them today and the entire community in Uvalde, Texas."

Whitmer also encouraged Michigan residents, businesses, schools, local governments and other organizations to display the flag at half-staff in the release. To lower flags to half-staff, flags should be hoisted first to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. The process is reversed before the flag is lowered for the day.

Authorities said Wednesday the gunman barricaded himself inside a single classroom and "began shooting anyone that was in his way."

Law enforcement officers eventually broke into the classroom and killed the gunman, who used an AR-style rifle. Police and others responding to Tuesday’s attack also went around breaking windows at the school to enable students and teachers to escape, Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said on NBC’s "Today" show.

Olivarez told CNN that all of the victims were in the same fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary.

The killer "barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom," he said. "It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter."

"Michigan stands with Uvalde after the deaths of children and teachers at Robb Elementary School," Michigan Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said in a Tweet. "We must all wrap our arms around this community, and our own children, as we mourn this senseless loss."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel also expressed she was heartbroken in a Tweet on Tuesday, explaining that she will do everything in her power to "end this epidemic of violence."

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson sent out a string of Tweets after the shooting. 

On Wednesday, Michigan State Police stated "there are no known threats to our schools at this time, now serves as a good reminder to keep vigilant."

Additionally, the MSP website offers school safety resources, including emergency operations plans, firearm safety, mental health guidance, Michigan's OK2SAY program and more.

The video below, produced by VOX in 2016, explores America's gun problem.