President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrived in Uvalde, Texas, on Sunday with plans to meet with families of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday.
The Bidens laid a bouquet of white flowers outside of the elementary school, where a memorial has been set up for the victims, stopping at the site to pay their respects.
The president and first lady paused, looking at each photo of the 21 victims, before heading to attend mass at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with members of the grieving community. At one point, the president was seen embracing Mandy Gutierrez, the principal of Robb Elementary School.
Some onlookers called for change, saying that “our children don’t deserve this,” as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrived at the memorial, as reported by CNN.
Twenty-one people, including 19 children and two teachers, died in the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday. Law enforcement killed the gunman, identified as an 18-year-old who officials say legally purchased two AR-15-style rifles days after his birthday.
Biden’s visit has been met with mixed reactions, as some community members are concerned that the visit could be politicized as lawmakers weigh possible gun safety legislation. The president has not made any public comments since touching down in Texas.
“He hopes to convey empathy and understanding of what an impossibly horrible moment this is for them,” one adviser traveling with the president told the outlet. “He hopes to offer some small piece of comfort, if that is possible.”
This will be Biden’s second trip to a city in mourning this month after he visited Buffalo, New York, to meet with the families of the 10 people killed at a supermarket.
Biden is scheduled to meet with victims’ families and first responders before leaving to head back to Delaware on Sunday.