Matthew McConaughey launches fund for his hometown of Uvalde following school shooting
The shooting was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada said the 18-year-old gunman also shot his grandmother before driving to the elementary school, where he was armed with a rifle and overpowered a school officer. Estrada said the grandmother was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, and Abbott later confirmed the woman had died.
Authorities are still investigating the shooter's motives in the city once best known as the birthplace of Matthew McConaughey. Now the actor, alongside famous faces including Duchess Meghan, Kim Kardashian and Selena Gomez, are speaking up and working to help the victims of the tragic day.
Matthew McConaughey, Camila Alves start fund for Uvalde community
Texas native McConaughey and his wife, Camila Alves McConaughey, spent time in the actor's hometown in early June to visit with the Robb Elementary School victims' families in the aftermath of the mass shooting.
Following their visit, the couple announced the launch of their Just Keep Livin Foundation's Uvalde Relief Fund to help support the reeling community.
"While the spirit of the community is in pain, the unanimous support of families to families and strangers to locals is beautiful, the organization shared in a statement to Instagram.
"After the initial shock, the town has now begun the funerals and the grieving process, which will continue for the surviving children, families and the entire community. The community will need ongoing grief counseling and support on the long road ahead of them. Please join us to help the people of Uvalde, TX," the organization added.
McConaughey also shared a statement hours after the shooting, writing, "Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us."
The actor continued: "The true call to action is now for every American to take a longer and deeper look in the mirror, and ask ourselves, 'What is it that we truly value? How do we repeat the problem? What small sacrifices can we individually take today, to pressure a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?' We cannot exhale once again, make excuses, and accept these tragic realities as the status quo."
"Action must be taken so that no parent has to experience what the parents in Uvalde and the others before them have endured. And to those who dropped their loved ones today not knowing it was goodbye, no words can comprehend or heal your loss, but if prayers can provide comfort, we will keep them coming."
Kim Kardashian asks for temporary release of father whose daughter was killed
Kardashian used her social media platform to request that a father of one of the victims be temporarily released from jail to attend his daughter's funeral.
"This is Eliahana ‘Ellie’ Cruz Torres, 10 years old, and one of the 19 victims of the shooting in Uvalde, TX. Her family are desperately hoping that her father, who is incarcerated for a non violent drug offense, be granted temporary release so that he can attend her funeral," she wrote on Twitter, tagging the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
She continued: "I ask the @officialFBOP to grant Eli Torres temporary release so that he can say his last goodbye to his baby girl. Every parent deserves that right."
Kardashian also spoke out following the tragedy in a Twitter thread on gun control and said, "semi automatic weapons, assault weapons, weapons of war, should not be legally sold or owned by American civilians. They should be banned. Period."
Kardashian continued: "There is no question that mental health, racism, deep-seated hatred all play a role in the motivation for mass shootings in recent years. And at a community level, as parents, teachers, there is a lot that can be done to help teens and young adults that isn’t being done."
"We can’t accept this as normal anymore. It’s not normal for a teenager to kill children. It’s not normal for our kids to be practicing active shooter drills in schools," she wrote. "It’s not normal to be shot while shopping for groceries. I’m not numbed by it. I will never be numbed by it."
Duchess Meghan of Sussex visits memorial site in Uvalde, Texas
Meghan visited Uvalde on May 26 to pay tribute to the 21 lives lost during the tragic shooting. An Archewell spokesperson confirmed Meghan's visit to the memorial to USA TODAY.
The spokesperson said it was important for Meghan, as a mother herself, to make the trip and extend her condolences and support to the Texas community during this difficult time.
Meghan was pictured at the memorial site, outside of Uvalde County Court, looking pensively at a somber line of headstones. In another photo, the 40-year-old was pictured leaving a bouquet of white roses at the base of one of the memorial headstones.
Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, more celebrities react: 'We need change'
Gomez, Taylor Swift, Becky G, Kris Jenner and more celebrities shared their thoughts following the shooting on social media.
"If children aren't safe at school where are they safe?" Gomez, another Texas native, wrote on social media. "Today in my home state of Texas 18 innocent students were killed while simply trying to get an education. A teacher killed doing her job; an invaluable yet sadly under appreciated job."
Swift also took to social media to express she was "filled with rage and grief, and so broken by the murders in Uvalde. By Buffalo, Laguna Woods and so many others."
She added that "as a nation, (we) have become conditioned to unfathomable and unbearable heartbreak."
Mindy Kaling wrote on Twitter: "It happens, and then life goes on. Then it happens again. And the only thing that changes - the literal only thing - is that it happens sooner and sooner."
Kerry Washington expressed that "as a mother, this is tragically unimaginable."
"School should be a SAFE place," she continued. "My heart breaks for the pain and suffering of every family member and loved one connected to today's events in Texas. My prayers are with you."
America Ferrera shared a collage of all the young victims and called it "unbearable."
Comedians react to Uvalde tragedy:Jimmy Kimmel urges lawmakers to pass gun control legislation after Texas school shooting
"Yet so many moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends are having to bear it in this moment," she wrote. "My broken heart is with them. Why are we living in this terror? It doesn’t have to be this way. Please consider a donation to @everytown for gun safety, or any other org working to end the senseless hell we’re living in. Sending love to all your aching hearts today from my own."
Missy Elliot wrote we're "living in some TRYING TIMES… It’s Heavy."
The rapper added: "I am praying for everyone that is struggling MENTALLY/FINANCIALLY/PHYSICALLY that some PEACE be RESTORED! So many in the world is dealing with pain & I don’t have the answers but I send you LOVE virtually."
Becky G said, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH."
"Just last week a targeted mass shooting at a market in Buffalo and now a school shooting in Uvalde," the singer continued. "Communities should be safe in their grocery stores, our CHILDREN should be safe in class! This has to end. Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. We need change."
Migos rapper Offset sent "prayers for the people in Texas."
Grammy-winner Jon Batiste wrote: "We need to make some changes now."
Gabrielle Union tweeted: "It's BEEN enough. We've been at 'enough' for centuries."
"This Is Us" actor Susan Kelechi Watson said her "heart is heavy with news tonight."
"Sending you all love and light this evening," she continued. "Holding space in my heart for all those suffering the unimaginable."
Fellow costar Mandy Moore wrote on Instagram Stories: "There are no words. We must take action. Uvalde, your entire community is in our hearts."
Chrissy Metz also wrote on Instagram Stories that her "entire heart" was with the Uvalde, Texas, community. "When is enough enough? We must take action."
More members of the Kardashian-Jenner family also took to Instagram Stories to share their condolences.
Kylie Jenner wrote the news was "devastating." "Another school shooting," she added. "Breaks my heart for these families."
Khloe Kardashian said she couldn't "comprehend today's tragedy."
"How is this happening? My heart is breaking," she continued. "I pray, I hope, I beg, I plead… please, law makers, government officials, leaders of our country, do something to protect our children."
Kris Jenner wrote she was heartbroken over the "innocent children killed today."
"It is unimaginable, horrific, inexcusable, devastating. Is this the country we want to leave to our children, our grandchildren? A country where kids can't even feel safe at school?" Jenner wrote. "No words can make this better."
"18 elementary children… a small classroom size. Imagine you walk down a hall & an entire class… GONE," country singer Maren Morris wrote. "I’ve already lost track of which shooting happened even a year ago. The victim’s families haven’t and never will. At this rate, this kind of violence only happens HERE."
"At this rate, this kind of violence only happens HERE," she concluded.
Finneas wrote: "Anyone saying 'now isn’t the time to talk about gun control' doesn’t care that kids got (expletive) murdered today."
Quinta Bronson said it's "insane that we just keep living like this. really don't want to" and that she's "tired of gun violence."
Chloe Bailey asked: "when will this end??????? when will it stop??? how do we just keep letting this happen?? 18 babies gone!"
Dan Levy wrote: "18. Children. What will it take to prioritize humanity over politics?"
Contributing: Amy Haneline, N'dea Yancey-Bragg, Trevor Hughes, Chris Kenning, USA TODAY; The Associated Press