As neighbors and classmates continue to share more information about Salvador Ramos in the aftermath of the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, an all-too-familiar portrait of the killer has begun to emerge.
Ramos, 18, allegedly shot and critically wounded his grandmother in a rage moments before going on a shooting rampage at nearby Robb Elementary School. At the school, he senselessly murdered at least 19 students and two adults and injured several others before he was fatally shot by police. Ramos was reportedly wearing body armor during the shooting spree and was armed with a handgun and a rifle.
The mass killing immediately gripped the nation and caused widespread mourning. Many of the victims were just 10 years old.
What are the details?
Those who knew Ramos described him as a loner who endured a rough home life with a drug-abusing mother. He was reportedly the frequent target of bullying as a teenager due to his lisp and stutter and social awkwardness. But, they said, Ramos responded to his circumstances by violently lashing out at “peers and strangers” and engaging in lawless behavior, often leading to run-ins with local law enforcement.
Speaking with the Washington Post, a childhood friend of Ramos who used to play video games and sports with him said he would often exhibit strange behavior, even cutting up his own face for “fun” on one occasion. That same friend said Ramos would often drive around town with another friend at night, shooting random people with a BB gun and egging people’s cars.
Another former friend told the Post that Ramos was bullied incessantly in middle school and junior high before he eventually stopped going to school. One time, he posted a picture on social media wearing black eyeliner. The post garnered a slew of negative comments. Ramos was not on pace to graduate with his peers this year.
One high school classmate said that in recent months, Ramos posted videos on Instagram “where the cops were there and he’d call his mom a b***h and say she wanted to kick him out.” The classmate added that in the videos, “He’d be screaming and talking to his mom really aggressively.”
He worked at a local Wendy’s restaurant, where co-workers remembered him as a mostly quiet kid with “an aggressive streak,” according to the Daily Beast.
“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 one former co-worker, adding, “At the park, there’d be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He’d take them around with him.”
Here’s what we know about the 18-year-old shooter who officials say killed 19 students, 2 adults…
In the weeks before the massacre, and right after he turned 18, Ramos appears to have purchased two semi-automatic rifles. He reportedly posted photos of the guns online along with cryptic messages.
An unidentified former classmate said that days before the attack, Ramos texted him a photo 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 classmate said, “I was like, ‘Bro, why do you have this?’ and he was like, ‘Don’t worry about it.'”
A since-deleted TikTok account that authorities believe belonged to Ramos featured only a short clip of a mobile game and the line, “Kids be scared IRL.”
Then, on Tuesday, the day of the attack, he posted another photo of the rifles on Instagram and tagged a random girl who lives in California, the New York Post reported.
He then messaged the girl, urging her to repost the image. She responded confusedly.
Early Tuesday morning, Ramos messaged her again, saying, “I’m about to.” The girl asked “about to what” to which he answered, “I’ll tell you before 11.”
“I got a lil secret I wanna tell u,” he wrote in another message, accompanied by a smiley-face emoji covering its mouth. He never shared the secret, but sent one last message at 9:16 a.m., saying, “Ima air out.”
Shortly after, alerts of an active shooter in Uvalde hit the news.
Both the Instagram and the TikTok accounts in question were taken offline on Tuesday.
National news reporter John Mone, of Newsy, paraphrased an alleged eyewitness of the moments prior to the attack. He said the eyewitness, Eduardo Trinidad, claimed that Ramos “got into an argument with the grandmother and she was screaming, ‘He shot me! He shot me!’ and then he got in the car, zoomed down the street, there was some kind of crash.”
“The suspect got out, he had two weapons, and then started engaging gunfire. From that point on, apparently, according to Mr. Trinidad, the suspect walks into the school and unfortunately the rest is history,” Mone said.