Robb Elementary School Gunman Salvador Ramos Bought Two Rifles on His 18th Birthday, Texas Officials Say
Category: News & PoliticsVia: jbb • one month ago • 169 comments
By: Roger Sollenberger, Rachel Olding, William Bredderman (The Daily Beast)
'DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?'
Just hours before the shooting, Salvador Ramos appeared to send cryptic Instagram messages about sharing a "lil secret."
Breaking News Editor
Updated May. 25, 2022 8:55AM ET / Published May. 24, 2022 8:44PM ET
UVALDE, Texas—The 18-year-old gunman who opened fire at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 kids and two adults, bought two assault rifles on his birthday and appeared to send some ominous Instagram messages just hours before the massacre.
Although Salvador Ramos was described as "quiet" by numerous people who knew him, a young woman who worked with him at Wendy's until March detected an aggressive streak. Several former friends said he had stopped showing up at school and was not going to graduate with the senior class this year.
"He would be very rude towards the girls sometimes, and one of the cooks, threatening them by asking, 'Do you know who I am?' And he would also send inappropriate texts to the ladies," said the former co-worker, who did not want her name used.
"At the park, there'd be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He'd take them around with him."
Newsy reported that a neighbor said Ramos, who lived with his grandparents, was angry that he didn't graduate and got into an argument with his grandmother. She was screaming "He shot me! He shot me!" the neighbor recounted to Newsy.
Former friend Santos Valdez Jr., told TheWashington Postthat the two had been close friends until Ramos' behavior started to "deteriorate." He said Ramos, who was often bullied over a speech impediment that included a stutter and lisp, once cut up his own face with a knife "just for fun." Valdez said he first said he was scratched by a cat and then admitted he had done it himself. "Then he told me the truth, that he'd cut up his face with knives over and over," Valdez told the Post, adding that he had messaged over Instagram two hours before the massacre. Ramos didn't open or read Valdez's final message.
Another friend told the paper that he used to egg people's vehicles and shoot random strangers with a BB gun from a car.
On Tuesday morning, authorities say, Ramos shot his grandmother then crashed his car near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Police pursued him as he ran into the school wearing a tactical-style vest and carrying a rifle, Texas DPS spokesperson Lt. Chris Olivarez said.
"As soon as he made entry into the school he started shooting children, teachers, whoever was in his way, he was shooting everybody," Olivarez said. Ramos was unemployed and had no criminal history, he said.
The suspect's truck crashed in a ditch.
Hours before the shooting, an Instagram account that appears to have belonged to Ramos sent direct messages to a teenager in Los Angeles, telling her he wanted to share a "lil secret," according to screenshots shared by the recipient, who said she barely knew Ramos but had been randomly tagged by him in photos of guns before.
He said he'd text the person in an hour and she'd have to respond, but she said she might not be awake. The last thing he wrote was, "Ima air out."
The same Instagram account was deleted shortly after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott identified him as the shooter. It featured photos and stories of semiautomatic firearms—as well as selfies of someone who strongly resembled a photo of the killer shared by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A TikTok account with the same handle and profile picture, also taken offline on Tuesday, featured only a clip of a mobile game and the line "Kids be scared IRL." Both accounts used the bio line TheBiggestOpp.
The Instagram account posted an image three days ago of two rifles, including what appeared to be a Daniel Defense AR-15 with a high-capacity magazine. Another image from April 28 showed someone holding a magazine.
Former high school classmate Nadia Reyes recalled to the Post that he had posted an Instagram story showing himself screaming at his mother—who has not commented publicly—and calling her a bitch as she tried to kick him out the house. "He posted videos on his Instagram where the cops were there," Reyes told the Post. "He'd be screaming and talking to his mom really aggressively."
Days before the shooting, Ramos texted an old classmate photos of a firearm and a bag of ammo, CNN reported. "He would message me here and there, and four days ago he sent me a picture of the AR he was using… and a backpack full of 5.56 rounds, probably like seven mags," the unidentified friend said, "I was like, 'Bro, why do you have this?' and he was like, 'Don't worry about it.'"
"He proceeded to text me, 'I look very different now. You wouldn't recognize me,'" the friend added.
He said Ramos was sometimes bullied for his clothing or his family's finances, and "he just, like, slowly dropped out" of school.
Texas State Sen. Roland Gutierrez told CNN that Ramos, who only turned 18 days ago, purchased two assault rifles on his 18th birthday. It's not clear if they were used in Tuesday's massacre.
The Daily Dot reported that an Instagram friend of Ramos' shared a screenshot with the news outlet that Ramos had sent showing a receipt for a gun he bought from Daniel Defense, a gun manufacturer.
John Morales, who lives next door to Ramos' paternal grandmother, told The Daily Beast that the teen used to play the first-person shooter game Call of Duty with Morales' 15-year-old son. But he said he had not seen Ramos around the neighborhood for quite some time.
Nayeli, an 18-year-old who declined to give her last name, told The Daily Beast late Tuesday that she and Ramos had been students together, but she didn't know him well. "I had a math class with him," she said, adding, "He was pretty quiet in class."
The Wendy's co-worker said Ramos did not seem to socialize much outside his clique of friends—a group she described as "emo" or "alternative."
A woman cries and hugs a young girl while on the phone outside the Willie de Leon Civic Center where grief counseling will be offered in Uvalde, Texas.
Allison Dinner/AFP via Getty
Janie Aviles, a great-grandmother who lives next door to Ramos' paternal grandmother, said Ramos would sometimes help her clean outside her house. "But that was when he was little," Aviles said, holding her hand at chest height. "He hasn't done that recently."
Aviles' son, Gillardo Galindo, a produce packer at Cargill, told The Daily Beast that he would see Ramos approximately "every two months," but said Ramos hadn't been around much recently.
He said that some of his coworkers at Cargill had family affected by the shooting. "When they heard about all this, they had some cousins, you know, or family at the school. They took off when they learned the kids had been shot."