Arizona politicians react to mass shooting at elementary school in Texas
PHOENIX — Arizona politicians reacted Tuesday to a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two adults dead.
Arizona’s two Democratic U.S. senators said they were heartbroken over the tragedy, which was the deadliest shooting at a grade school since Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
“We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly,” Sen. Kyrsten Sinema tweeted. “No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools.”
Sen. Mark Kelly, whose wife, Gabby Giffords, was shot in a mass shooting in Tucson in 2011, felt for the families of the victims.
“Gabby and I are heartbroken for these families who just had their lives forever devastated by gun violence,” Kelly said in a statement. “I know how helpless a person can feel when their family is impacted in this way. I know that every parent whose kid came home from school today in Texas, Arizona and in every community across the country is hugging them a little tighter.
“It infuriates me that Americans have come to expect that their federal government will once again react to the murder of schoolchildren by doing nothing. Politicians in Washington spend countless hours fighting about nothing, but when it comes time to act on an issue that is unique to the United States and demands a response, they find a million reasons not to.”
Kelly added there are reforms that can be passed to reduce gun violence that aligns with the country’s rights and traditions that are supported by Americans across the political spectrum.
“The best thing Washington can do right now is take these steps to make our communities safer,” Kelly said. “After witnessing yet another tragedy, Arizonans are right to expect action from Washington, they should demand it, I know I will.”
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego criticized Sinema’s reaction to the shooting.
Please just stop.. unless you are willing to break the filibuster to actually pass sensible gun control measures you might as well just say “thoughts and prayers” https://t.co/YA5Pp3dqao
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) May 24, 2022
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey ordered flags at half-staff at all state buildings from sunrise to sunset on Saturday.
“This is heartbreaking and soul wrenching,” Ducey tweeted. “Our prayers are with the parents, families, students and staff of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX at this unimaginable time. Thankful for the heroic efforts of medical pros, law enforcement and community members who responded so quickly.”
Democratic U.S. Representatives Raul Grijalva and Ann Kirkpatrick tweeted as the news of the shooting broke, with each calling for change.
“When will enough be enough?” Kirkpatrick tweeted. “Our Country has failed on taking action on gun violence and innocent people pay the price.
“From Buffalo NY to a TX elementary school – we have a responsibility to act. I send my prayers to all families impacted. It’s horrific.”
Grijalva in a statement said the victims had “their futures stolen from them today” and “they were murdered in yet another senseless act of gun violence.”
“The community of Uvalde is shattered and will never be the same again,” Grijalva said. “And like the community of Uvalde, I mourn and grieve for their loss. I give thanks to the swift actions of first responders and ask for healing for the injured and comfort for the families and parents who are experiencing the unimaginable. Uvalde now enters the same tragic catalogue of senseless mass shootings like Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland.
“I recognize that thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Our grief must not go unanswered. We have the opportunity to end Congress’ adopted gun policy of nothing and insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to drop their kids off at school and our children shouldn’t have to learn in fear. Militarizing our schools and other public venues and arming teachers aren’t solutions, but proliferation of more weapons and a reminder of our policy failures to act on gun violence.”
Grijalva added it is “long overdue for elected officials to step up and take meaningful action on American gun violence.”
Arizona mayors also tweeted their reaction to the tragedy.
“Heartbreak on top of so much loss already this month,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego tweeted. “After so many of these incidents, this must be the one that causes change. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero tweeted, “My heart breaks for the children, families, teachers and the entire community of Uvalde, Texas. As a mom, no parent should ever endure the loss of a child to such a horrific mass shooting.”
The 18-year-old gunman is dead, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said. It was the deadliest school shooting in state history.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.