Salvador Ramos had a troubled family background; arguments with his mother Adriana Martinez provoked him to stay at his grandparents’ home in Uvalde, Texas, before he shot his grandmother in the head.
That’s according to an account from his grandfather, Rolando Reyes, to ABC News. Daily Mail gave the mother’s name as Adriana Reyes and the grandmother as Celia Gonzalez, so there are conflicting accounts about the exact names.
The police response is causing controversy; the father of one murder victim said parents even considered rushing in themselves. You can read a detailed minute-by-minute timeline on the mass shooting, including 911 calls and police response, here.
The grandmother, called Celia Martinez by El Pais, 66, who is still alive, was the first victim. Ramos then crashed his car outside Robb Elementary School and slew 19 children and two fourth-grade teachers inside a classroom. It is one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings in history.
The mother told Daily Mail that she did not believe her son was a violent person and said the mass shooting surprised her.
Published reports are beginning to paint a picture of the North Dakota-born gunman’s background.
“As soon as he made entry into the school he started shooting children, teachers, whoever was in his way, he was shooting everybody,” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lt. Chris Olivarez said to Daily Beast, which reported that Ramos bought two rifles on his 18th birthday.
Accounts emerged of Ramos being bullied. The Washington Post reported that he spoke with a lisp and endured gay slurs for wearing eyeliner. Another report on CNN said he was taunted because of his clothes and family’s finances. However, The New York Times reported that at least one classmate thought Ramos provoked other students.
As for his parents, the father’s name has not been released. El Pais, which named his mother, said the father was not in Ramos’s life.
Here’s what you need to know about the gunman’s family”
The Gunman’s Mother Said She Is ‘Praying for All of Those Innocent Children
According to Daily Mail, the suspect’s mother said: “My son wasn’t a violent person. I’m surprised by what he did.”
She added: “I pray for those families. I’m praying for all of those innocent children, yes I am. They (the children) had no part in this.”
She disputed accounts that they had a rocky relationship, telling Daily Mail, “I had a good relationship with him. He kept to himself; he didn’t have many friends.”
Juan Alvarez, 62, the mother’s boyfriend, told NBC that who Ramos “had a tumultuous relationship with his mother that often included fights.”
He said Ramos went to live with his grandparents two months ago “after he got into an intense argument with his mother after he disconnected the Wi-Fi.”
“He was kind of a weird one. I never got along with him. I never socialized with him. He doesn’t talk to nobody,” he said to NBC News. “When you try to talk to him he’d just sit there and walk away.”
Ramos Argued With His Grandmother About a Phone Bill on the Morning of the Shootings
A reporter, John Mone, spoke to a man who knew the suspect’s grandmother. He described a scene in which Ramos was “angry that he did not graduate, and he got into an argument with the grandmother and she was screaming, ‘He shot me, He shot me.’” He then “zoomed down the street.” There was a crash. The suspect got out with two weapons and started firing. It was the first inkling of a possible motive. The Post reported that Ramos shot the students the day after his classmates graduated.
The suspect’s grandfather, Rolando Reyes, spoke to ABC News. He revealed he is a felon so can’t have firearms in the house and claimed he did not know Ramos had purchased guns.
He told ABC that the suspect “had a minor argument with his grandmother” about paying a phone bill, but it wasn’t that unusual.
According to Reyes, Ramos slept on a mattress in a front room at his grandparents’ house after an argument with his mother. The grandfather said he did not believe the suspect was violent before the mass shooting, according to ABC. He told the network that he tried to get him to go to school but Ramos would just shrug. He told ABC he believes the grandmother will survive.
“I’m very sorry for my friend Rolando,” Adolfo Cruz, 69, told El Pais, which reported that Cruz has known Ramos’s family for more than 60 years.
“He is a firm guy,” said Cruz of Ramos’s grandfather. Cruz’s granddaughter, Elija Cruz Torres, 10, is among the dead. “I don’t blame my friend at all. I don’t hold a grudge against him,” Cruz told El Pais.
Ramos, Who Was Born in North Dakota, Had a Difficult Relationship With His Mother
Additional details were emerging about the shooter’s family life. According to Daily Mail, police knew him previously due to violent arguments with a “drug-addicted mother.” He was born in North Dakota, a state representative told CNN.
According to El Pais, a Spanish-language publication, his mother, Adriana Martinez, lived in “another part of town.’
A neighbor said his father was not part of his life, so his grandparents took care of him.
The New York Times quoted Ramos’s friend as saying he could hear a fractious relationship between Ramos and Ramos’s mother, who “would scream at him, telling him that he needed to go to school and that he was doing nothing with his life… Ramos would yell back, calling her expletives.”
One video from the scene emerged on Facebook showing what some believe is the gunman entering the school. “What my girls just sent me this is at Robb. Prayers for the kids and staff,” wrote Elsa G. Ruiz, who shared the video on Facebook.
Ramos entered the school with a handgun and possibly a rifle, the governor said. AP later reported that he used an AR-style rifle to slaughter the children and teachers.
“Mr. Ramos, the shooter, he himself is deceased, and it is believed that responding officers killed him. Two responding officers were struck by rounds but have no serious injuries,” Abbott said on May 24, 2022. He said the gunman was a U.S. citizen.
The state representative said on CNN that Ramos bought the firearms on his birthday, legally, from a dealer. “That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday,” he said, according to the AP.
Ramos ‘Slowly Dropped Out’ of School After Being Taunted Over His Clothes & Family’s Poverty
A friend of Ramos spoke to CNN and described a gun-interested teenager who was “taunted” at school.
“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 friend told CNN. “I was like, ‘bro, why do you have this?’ and he was like, ‘Don’t worry about it.’”
The friend added: “He proceeded to text me, ‘I look very different now. You wouldn’t recognize me.’”
According to what the friend told CNN, Ramos “was taunted by others for the clothes he wore and his family’s financial situation,” and, the friend said, he “slowly dropped out…he barely came to school.”
The New York Times quoted former classmate Jeremiah Munoz, who said he played Fortnite and Call of Duty with Ramos. He told The Times that students bullied Ramos, “deriding his clothes or making crude references to his mother or sister,” as the Times put it.
But the newspaper also quoted classmate Charlie Marsh, who told the newspaper that, although other students called Ramos names, “including a homophobic slur,” she believed he was the provocateur.