Duchess of Sussex pays her respects to victims of Texas school shooting

The Duchess of Sussex on Thursday made a surprise visit to the Texas town of Uvalde to pay her respects to the victims of the mass shooting at an elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Meghan, 40, wore jeans, a t-shirt and a blue baseball cap as she placed flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the courthouse in Uvalde. She later walked around the memorial, looking at the white crosses bearing the names of the victims of Tuesday’s carnage.

She also quietly dropped by the Herby Ham Activity Centre where a blood drive is taking place, according to volunteers. They said she dropped off two large bags filled with sandwiches, drinks, and desserts for donors. Local hospitals made appeals for blood in the hours after the shooting, and hundreds of donors have been turning out every day since Tuesday.

Meghan wore jeans, a t-shirt and a blue baseball cap to attend the memorialCredit: AP Photo/Jae C.

Hong Meghan viewed the white crosses bearing the names of the victims of the shootingCredit: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The American-born duchess, who lives with husband Harry and their two children in Montecito, California, has previously made known her views in favor of stricter gun control laws. In an address to the UN 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, Meghan spoke of the need to “end gun violence”. A spokesperson for the duchess said that she travelled to Texas to offer the Uvalde community condolences while it deals with “unimaginable grief.”

The Duchess’ visit came as authorities revealed on Thursday that the gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, was able to enter the school without any confrontation, contradicting earlier reports that a police officer engaged him outside the building. Ramos crashed his pickup truck outside the school at 11.28am on Tuesday, fired several shots at two bystanders across the street and walked into an unlocked door of the school at 11.40 am, Victor Escalon, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said on Thursday. 

Mr Escalon said officers arrived and entered the school four minutes later, but took cover after Ramos fired multiple rounds at them.  Ramos barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom, where he shot his victims, mostly aged nine and 10, in the deadliest US school shooting in nearly a decade.

An hour elapsed before a US Border Patrol tactical team breached the classroom and killed Ramos, Mr Escalon confirmed, a timeline that has prompted questions about whether law enforcement could have intervened sooner.