Pope condemns arms trade and prays for victims of Texas shooting

‘Heartbroken’ Pope condemns arms trade as he says he will pray for the victims of Texas school shooting and their families

  • The Pope was ‘heartbroken’ over Texas school shooting which left 19 kids dead 
  • He was speaking to crowds in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience
  • He condemned ‘indiscriminate’ arms trade which he held partially responsible
  • ‘Let us all commit to ensuring such tragedies can no longer take place’ he said

Pope Francis on Wednesday said he was ‘heartbroken’ over the school shooting in Texas which left at least 19 children and two teachers dead, and condemned the arms trade.

The crowd in St. Peter’s Square for his weekly general audience applauded his appeal, made a day after the worst school shooting in the United States in nearly a decade. 

‘I am left heartbroken by the massacre in the elementary school in Texas. I pray for the children, for the adults killed and for their families,’ the Argentine pontiff said after his weekly general audience.

‘It is time to say enough to indiscriminate arms trafficking. Let us all commit to ensuring such tragedies can no longer take place.’

The attack in Uvalde, a small community about an hour from the Mexican border, was the deadliest US school shooting in years, and the latest in a spree of bloody gun violence across America.

More than a dozen children were also wounded in the attack at the school, which teaches more than 500, mostly Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students.

Pope Francis said he was ‘heartbroken’ over the school shooting in Texas which left at least 19 children and two teachers dead during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square

The Pope also condemned the arms industry in the USA, which the crowd in St. Peter’s Square applauded

A girl cries, comforted by two adults, outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas, where a teenage gunman killed 19 young children in a shooting at an elementary school

Pope Francis arrived for the weekly general audience at the Vatican, May 25, where he spoke about Tuesday’sTexas school shooting

Speaking from the White House hours after the shooting, a visibly shaken President Joe Biden urged Americans to stand up to the politically powerful gun lobby, which he blamed for blocking enactment of tougher firearms safety laws.

‘Where in God’s name is our backbone?’ an emotional Biden pleaded. 

The president called on elected officials to ‘stand up to the gun lobby’ in an impassioned speech barely two hours after arriving back in the United States following his first trip to Asia while commander-in-chief. 

‘I had hoped, when I became president, I would not have to do this. Again. Another massacre,’ Biden said.

Ted Cruz, Republican senator for Texas, led the response – repeating well-worn arguments that ‘restricting the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens’ to prevent mass shootings ‘doesn’t work’. 

The solution, he said, is to put armed officers on school campuses. Cruz is due to speak an at NRA conference on Friday. 

Pope Francis has often taken on the weapons industry. In 2015 he said people who manufacture weapons or invest in weapons industries are hypocrites if they call themselves Christian. 

President Joe Biden gave a short but impassioned speech less than two hours after returning from a trip to Asia

The pontiff’s words come after nineteen pupils aged between seven and 11 years old were shot dead along with two of their teachers by an 18-year-old gunman who was also killed in the latest school mass shooting to blight America – the deadliest since Sandy Hook almost a decade ago.

Salvador Ramos – a fast food worker described as a lonely child who was bullied for his lisp and for wearing eyeliner – carried out the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, around 11.30am Tuesday after shooting his grandmother at a house elsewhere in the city, reportedly after an argument about failing to graduate. 

Police and officials said Ramos, who had purchased a pair of rifles for his 18th birthday and showed them off on social media, fled the scene of the first shooting in a car armed with a handgun, ‘possibly’ a rifle, and wearing body armour. 

Salvador Ramos, 18, from Uvalde, Texas, drove to the Robb Elementary School after shooting his grandmother to carry out the massacre

Horrified parents and students gathered after the shooting at the Ssgt Willie de Leon Civic Center on Tuesday morning

He ditched the vehicle close to the school, went inside and ‘started shooting children, teachers, whoever was in his way.’ 

Cops rushed to the scene to reports of an armed man who had crashed a car near the school. Also on the scene were Border Patrol agents from a nearby outpost, one of whom got into a firefight with Ramos and shot him dead. 

An agent was wounded in the shoot-out but was able to walk himself out of the school, a local spokesman said. 

Salvador Ramos was a failing high school loner with an ‘aggressive streak’, who was bullied for being poor and mocked for wearing eyeliner according to former classmates and colleagues.

They described the ‘evil’ killer, 18, as an ’emo’ whose his lisp made him a target, according to the Washington Post, with classmates claiming he endured gay slurs. Another said he was mocked for his clothing. 

A former classmate, who asked not to be identified, told CNN he and Ramos were somewhat ‘close’ and used to play Xbox together. The killer was a fan of the shooting and combat game Call of Duty. 

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