Another devastating shooting attack in the USA: At least 18 children and three adults were killed in a shooting spree at an elementary school in the state of Texas. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday after the attack in the small town of Uvalde near San Antonio. The shooter is also dead.

According to initial findings, the attacker was an 18-year-old young man who had been killed by officials. According to the police, they assume that the shooter acted alone. There are several injured, children as well as adults. The police did not initially release concrete figures or other details.

US President Joe Biden was shocked by the killing spree. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter that Biden had been briefed on the “terrible news” and would be kept updated on the new findings. Biden immediately ordered flags on all public buildings in the United States to be flown at half-mast up to and including Saturday in view of the devastating attack. Biden later commented on the massacre.

Shooting sprees, including in schools, occur with sad regularity in the United States. A massacre at an elementary school ten years ago was particularly shocking: In December 2012, a 20-year-old with severe mental health problems in Newtown, Connecticut, first shot his mother. He then went to his elementary school, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and killed 20 school children and six teachers there. He then killed himself. At the time, the act caused a shock across the country and also caused horror beyond the borders of the USA.

Just over a week ago, a gunman with an assault rifle opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people and injuring three others. He was arrested at the scene of the crime. According to investigators, the act was racially motivated – 11 of the 13 victims were black.

Last year, the FBI counted 61 gun shootings in the United States. The FBI announced on Monday in Washington that this was more than 50 percent more than in the previous year. The number has doubled since 2017. In 2021, 103 people were killed and 140 injured in rampages. 60 of the 61 shooters were said to be men. The FBI uses a strict definition for the count: it only includes cases in which a perpetrator shoots at people in public in order to kill them. Classic criminal cases involving armed violence or shootings among gang members are ignored.