“It feels like a black cloud is hanging over the city,” resident Adolfo Hernandez, whose nephew was in this establishment plunged into terror and chaos by an 18-year-old shooter, told AFP. , shot dead by the police.

“Things like that never happen here. So when you hear something like that, you want to pinch yourself and wake up from this horrible nightmare,” he added, describing a “heartbroken, devastated” city. .

The streets around the bereaved school were cordoned off on Wednesday by the police, who established a security perimeter. There was no car traffic, very few pedestrians and, apart from the presence of many media and dozens of police, a gloomy calm reigned, noted AFP journalists.

The day before, at midday, horror fell on this small town of 16,000 inhabitants when a shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, committed one of the worst killings in recent years in the States. -United.

The high school student, who first targeted his grandmother, seriously injured and hospitalized, then went to Robb Elementary School, near which he crashed his car before entering and giving free course in his killing spree in a single class, according to the press.

He killed 19 young students, aged ten or less, and two teachers, before being shot dead by the police.

More than a dozen children were also injured, according to information sent by Texas hospitals, by the young man of American nationality who wore a paramilitary outfit.

He had recently bought himself two assault rifles on his 18th birthday, as police have not confirmed that these weapons were used in the killings.

– “Nightmare” –

President Joe Biden, who was returning from a tour of Asia when the shooting occurred, delivered an emotional address from the White House, calling for “turning pain into action”.

“When, for the love of God, are we going to face the gun lobby?” he said Tuesday evening, saying he was “sick and tired” in the face of the litany of school shootings.

The Robb Elementary School neighborhood is inhabited by a modest middle class of Americans who live in small, simple, wooden, one-story houses with a small garden where you can sometimes see a swing or a barbecue. .

Robb School will remain closed until the summer holidays, by order of the school authorities.

More than 500 children, nearly 90% of Hispanic origin, studied at this establishment during the 2020-2021 school year, according to state data.

– Another school shooting –

American schools are regularly hit by these tragedies, such as that of Sandy Hook elementary school, which occurred in 2012 in Connecticut, where a 20-year-old mentally retarded man killed 26 people, including twenty children aged 6 and 7, before committing suicide.

“It only happens in this country, and nowhere else. In no other country do children go to school thinking they might get shot,” the state’s Democratic senator said on Tuesday. from the northeastern United States, Chris Murphy, who “begged” his elected colleagues to act.

America was also particularly marked by a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which killed 17 people, the majority of them teenagers, in 2018.

This new killing is sure to reignite criticism of the proliferation of firearms in the United States, a debate that is almost empty given the absence of hope of a passage by Congress of an ambitious national law. On the question.