The Uvalde, Texas, gunman gave off so many warning indicators that he was obsessive about violence and notoriety within the months main as much as the assault that teenagers who knew him started calling him “college shooter.”
He was as soon as bullied as a fourth-grader in one of many similar lecture rooms the place he killed 19 kids and two lecturers. And within the planning for the Might 24 bloodbath, he collected articles in regards to the Buffalo, New York, grocery store taking pictures and performed video video games with a younger scholar whereas quizzing him in regards to the college schedule.
A state investigative report that highlighted regulation enforcement’s bungled response to the mass taking pictures at Robb Elementary Faculty has additionally offered essentially the most in-depth account up to now about missed pink flags and potential motivations surrounding 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Regardless of many warning indicators, he nonetheless managed to legally amass greater than $5,000 in weapons, ammunition and equipment within the weeks main as much as the killings.
Simply days earlier than the assault, Ramos spoke out on social media of his plans to do one thing that will “put him everywhere in the information.” He wrote of a need to kill himself, shared on-line movies of beheadings and violent intercourse, and despatched footage of himself driving round with “somebody he met on the web” holding a plastic bag containing a useless cat and pointing BB weapons at folks out the window.
“The attacker turned targeted on reaching notoriety,” in accordance the interim report launched Sunday by an investigative panel of the Texas Home of Representatives. “He believed his TikTok and YouTube channels would achieve success. The small variety of views he acquired led him to inform these with whom he interacted that he was ‘well-known,’ that they have been mere ‘randoms’ by comparability.”
The 77-page report — primarily based on interviews with relations, testimony and information from Ramos’ telephone — lays out an extended path of missed alerts previous to the bloodbath however notes these clues have been identified solely to “personal people” and never reported to authorities. It additionally discovered Ramos had no identified ideological or political beliefs that will have made his rantings extra broadly identified.
The report traces the descent of a shy, quiet boy as soon as thought by a trainer as a “fantastic scholar” with a “optimistic angle” right into a mass assassin who gave loads of indicators on-line and to relations that he was susceptible to violence as he amassed an arsenal of rifles, physique armor and ammunition.
A former girlfriend advised the FBI that she believed Ramos had been sexually assaulted by certainly one of his mom’s boyfriends at an early age, the report stated, however when Ramos advised his mom on the time, she didn’t consider him.
With out assigning a particular motive, the report famous that Ramos talked about painful fourth-grade recollections to an acquaintance weeks earlier than the taking pictures.
Relations advised investigators how Ramos had been bullied as a fourth-grader in one of many similar linked lecture rooms the place he carried out the assault. They stated he confronted ridicule over his stutter, brief hair and for sporting the identical clothes almost every single day.
At one level, the report stated, a fellow scholar tied his shoelaces collectively and Ramos fell on his face, injuring himself. The report famous that Ramos was flagged by college officers as “in danger,” however by no means acquired any particular schooling companies.
Failing grades quickly have been accompanied by frequent absences — greater than 100 a yr starting in 2018. The report famous it was unclear if a faculty useful resource officer ever visited Ramos’ dwelling. Uvalde Excessive Faculty officers involuntarily withdrew him final fall, when he had solely accomplished the ninth grade. That was about the identical time he moved out of his mom’s home and commenced dwelling along with his grandmother, simply blocks from the elementary college.
Months earlier than the taking pictures, Ramos started contacting acquaintances with “imprecise however ominous messages” about doing one thing quickly.
In March 2022, two months earlier than the taking pictures, a scholar on Instagram advised him that “folks at college discuss (expletive) about you and name you college shooter.”
The subsequent month Ramos requested in a direct message on Instagram, “Are you continue to gonna keep in mind me in 50 one thing days?” After the reply — “in all probability not” — Ramos replied, “Hmm alright we’ll see in could.“
Crystal Foutz, who attended college with Ramos, advised The Related Press he was incessantly indignant and gave off “vibes” like he may shoot up the place, although it was taken extra as joke than critical.
“You heard folks joke and say, ‘He appears to be like like a faculty shooter,’” stated Foutz, although she shortly added, “I’ve heard it stated about different folks.”
Ramos took jobs at two fast-food eating places to economize for what he advised acquaintances was “one thing large,” which relations assumed was his personal residence or automotive. As a substitute it was weapons and bullets, which he tried to get two folks to purchase for him whereas he was 17 and unable to acquire legally.
However on Might 16, the gunman turned 18, and commenced buying firearms and ammunition, persuading an uncle to drive him to a gun retailer. He ultimately spent greater than $5,000 on two AR-style rifles, ammunition and different gear. And with no felony historical past and even arrest, Ramos handed all background checks.
He had earlier written on-line “10 extra days,” eliciting hypothesis from readers that he was planning to “shoot up a faculty or one thing” or commit “mass homicide.” A buddy advised him that an acquaintance was “telling everybody u taking pictures up the varsity.”
He additionally hung out taking part in the kids’s videogame Roblox along with his cousin’s son, a scholar on the Robb Elementary, and “elicited from him particulars about his schedule and the way lunch durations labored on the college.”
“I received a lil secret,” Ramos wrote on Snapchat to a German teenager he had befriended days earlier than the Might 24 taking pictures, including that first he was ready for one thing “being delivered” on Monday. His order of 1,740 hollow-point bullets that increase in our bodies upon influence, extra simply killing, arrived later that day.
“None of his on-line conduct was ever reported to regulation enforcement,” the report stated, “and if it was reported by different customers to any social media platform, it doesn’t seem that actions have been taken to limit his entry or to report him to authorities as a risk.”
Shortly earlier than getting into Robb Elementary, the gunman reached out to the German teenager he had befriended earlier, posting a message that he had simply shot his grandmother within the face and was about to “shoot up” an elementary college.
Unsure he was critical, the German teenager replied: “Cool.”
Condon reported from New York. AP reporter Jim Mustian in New York contributed to this report.
Extra on the varsity taking pictures in Uvalde, Texas: