Vigils Held in Uvalde and Across Texas for School Shooting Victims: 'Our Hearts Are Broken'

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed during an elementary school shooting in the Texas city of Uvalde earlier this week

People mourn as they attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde
Photo: ALLISON DINNER/AFP via Getty Images

Vigils were held in Uvalde and other Texas cities for the 19 children and two teachers who were killed in the elementary school shooting earlier this week.

On Wednesday evening, locals gathered at the Uvalde County Fairplex to remember those who lost their lives in the tragedy, the Texas Tribune reported.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz and Beto O'Rourke — who is currently running for Abbott's political position — were among those in attendance, per The New York Post.

Many leaders within the Uvalde community spoke during the remembrance event, including Pastor Tony Gruben of the Baptist Temple Church, who told mourners, "Our hearts are broken. We are devastated," according to NBC News.

Mourners gather for prayer at a vigil for the 21 killed at Robb Elemntary School
John Lamparski/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Towards the end of the event, a single violinist performed a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" on stage, the Tribune reported.

For more on the shooting massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

Other vigils, NBC News said, were also held throughout Texas in San Antonio and the state's capital of Austin.

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Ted Cruz, R-Texas, attends a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas
Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock

Uvalde is a small city about 85 miles west of San Antonio. During Tuesday's shooting, the gunman barricaded himself inside an elementary school classroom, according to officials.

All of the victims — those dead and injured — were found in that room. The children killed were in the second, third and fourth grades, police confirmed.

Before entering the school, the killer crashed his car in a nearby ditch. He was then able to enter the building.

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People mourn as they attend a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

Authorities have said that, prior to traveling to the school, the shooter shot his grandmother in the face.

The woman managed to make it to the home of a neighbor, who called 911. She is said to be in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital.

It is believed police killed the suspect. A motive for the murders, if known, has not been released. Police also said at a Tuesday press conference that they believe the shooter acted alone.

RELATED VIDEO: Beto O'Rourke Interrupts Texas Republican Governor's Press Conference on School Shooting: 'It's On You'

A handful of first responders, including a police officer, an EMT and a firefighter, previously recalled the horrific scene outside the school to PEOPLE.

"Fathers smashed windows, and physically pulled their kids out of classrooms," said Ernest "Chip" King, a Uvalde firefighter who was one of the first responders at the scene. "There was a lot of chaos."

A police officer comforts a woman during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School

"I was stabilizing a little girl, she was so tiny," said an EMT who wanted to be identified only by his first name, Rey, who arrived at the scene 20 minutes after the shooting. "There was blood everywhere."

He added: "She had been shot in the chest and the shoulder. We were trying to stop the bleeding. I looked at her and I was like, 'She's just a baby. Who would shoot a baby?' "

The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund") or donate money through Zelle to People can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.

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