Parents have to give DNA swabs in agonising wait to identify victims in Texas shooting

Families went in one by one to give samples

Related video: Joe Biden demands change after Texas mass school shooting

Parents of children at a Texas elementary school where 21 were shot dead have described waiting to give DNA samples to investigators after the attack.

19 children and two adults were killed in the shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, a town with a population of about 16,000 not far from the US-Mexico border.

Families gathered at a nearby civic centre late into Tuesday night to await news of their children who attended the Robb Elementary School, some two miles away, CNN reported.

Some families waited for 12 hours at the centre for updates on the shooting.

Parents were pictured waiting in line to give DNA samples to investigators and told KHOU that they were called in “one by one”.

The civic centre, less than two miles from the elementary school and shooting scene, was also holding a polling station for a runoff election on Tuesday.

It was later transformed into a crisis response centre for relatives with snacks and water being handed out. Children sat on the floor playing with teddy bears as parents sobbed, reports said.

Parents broke into tears as they learnt of their children’s fate with one man heard sobbing as he walked away from the centre saying into his phone “she’s gone”.

Manny Renfro, grandfather of eight-year-old shooting victim Uziyah Garcia, told reporters his grandson was: “The sweetest little boy that I’ve ever known”.

Authorities have identified two teachers: Eva Mireles, 44, and Irma Garcia, 46, among the dead.

People react outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center in Uvalde, Texas

Amerie Jo Garza, Makenna Lee Elrod, Xavier Javier Lopez, Jose Flores, Navaeh Brown, Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez and Ellie Lugo, all aged 10 are among the children who have also been identified.

Salvador Ramos, 18, barricaded himself inside their classroom before opening fire. He was shot dead by police at the scene.

Local enforcement officers reportedly tried to get into the school but were faced by gunfire. A first responder told CNN that it was around thirty minutes before officers “neutralised” the shooter.

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