Salvador Ramos was named as the 18-year-old high school student and Wendy’s fast-food worker who stormed a classroom at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, gunning down and killing 19 students and two fourth-grade teachers on May 24, 2022. Seventeen others were injured but are expected to survive, officials said.
It was the nation’s deadliest elementary school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. The suspect, who flashed pictures of guns on Instagram, shot his grandmother, 66-year-old Celia Martinez, in the head before entering the school pursued by law enforcement officers, the Associated Press reported. The Uvalde High School student shot children in grades 2 to 4 and two beloved fourth-grade teachers, Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles, before being killed by a border patrol agent who had been working nearby and rushed to help, officials said. The gunman’s grandfather, Rolando Reyes, told ABC News the grandmother was shot in the head but is expected to survive.
“It’s time to die,” Ramos said to the schoolchildren, according to a 9-year-old who escaped by hiding under a table.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at a May 25 press conference that the incident started with Ramos shooting his grandmother in the face. She then called 911, Abbott said, and Ramos fled, driving to the school, where he crashed his truck. Abbott said the gunman then went up to the school. He made his way through a back door, down hallways and into a classroom, where he barricaded himself and shot the victims, Abbott said. He was killed when police stormed the classroom, according to Abbott. Border patrol, police and sheriff’s officials converged on the classroom, and a “Border Patrol officer killed the gunman,” said the governor.
On Friday, though, as questions mounted about a 40-minute delay in police breaching the classrooms to shoot the gunman, Abbott said, “Yes, I was misled,” referring to the police response. Abbott said he was “livid about what happened.” He said the information he gave to the public earlier was a “recitation” of what he was told by others. He said he took hand notes in detail about what he was told. “The information that I was given turned out in part to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that,” Abbott said.
He said the law enforcement leaders who are leading the investigations should “get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty.”
Abbott said Ramos does not appear to have a criminal record as an adult but may have had a juvenile record. He said Ramos appears to be a “high school dropout,” but has no record of documented mental health issues or treatment. Authorities have not said if there is a motive for the shooting. Abbott said the gunman, who wielded an AR-15, had “evil in his heart.” Abbott said there was “no meaningful forewarning of this crime,” with one exception.
The police response is causing great 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.
Numerous 911 calls were made from inside classrooms at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with a student pleading with a dispatcher to “please send the police now.” At 12:16 p.m., a 911 caller revealed that eight-nine students were still alive. Yet police did not breach the classroom to kill active shooter Salvador Ramos until 12:50 p.m., even though 19 officers were inside the school.
That information came from a timeline of events and police response released during a news conference on Friday, May 27, 2022, by Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
McCraw revealed that an incident commander at the scene treated the unfolding situation as a barricaded subject not an active shooter and wanted to wait for a tactical unit to arrive with more equipment before breaching the classroom door where Ramos, 18, was holed up.
“With the benefit hindsight, from where I am sitting here, of course it was not the right decision,” McCraw said as reporters yelled questions at him. “It was the wrong decision, period. There is no excuse for that….We believe there should have been an entry as soon as you can…you don’t have time. You don’t worry about outer perimeters.”
The chief of police made that decision, according to McCraw, who himself was not at the scene. The chief has been identified as Pete Arredondo.
Ramos posted on Facebook during the incident, Abbott said. His first post was about 30 minutes before he went to the elementary school, writing on the social media page, “I’m going to shoot my grandmother,” the governor said. The second post said, “I shot my grandmother,” and the third, less than 15 minutes before Ramos arrived at the school, Abbott said, was, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
However, Meta, which runs Facebook, then clarified that they were not public but “private one-to-one text messages.”
CNN obtained “chilling text messages” Ramos sent to someone in Germany the morning of the mass shooting. Reporter Drew Griffin obtained the messages.
Referring to his grandmother, Ramos wrote, “ima do something to her rn. Omg. She’s on the phone with AT&T about my phone. It’s annoying. I just shot my grandma in her head. Ima go shoot up a elementary school rn.”
Abbott said three police officers were injured during the shootout at the school. A deputy sheriff’s daughter was among the victims, the governor said. “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 Lieutenant Chris Olivarez said to Daily Beast, which reported that Ramos bought two rifles on his 18th birthday. All of the children were murdered in the same classroom, The Associated Press reported.
A Texas congressman said on CNN that Ramos was in the classroom with the kids for an hour before the cops breached and killed him. It’s not clear at what point he killed them.
Olivarez told CNN that Ramos “barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom. It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.” Six people remained in the hospital on May 25, according to ABC News.
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.
Salvador Rolando Ramos also had a TikTok page with a profile that read, “Kids be scared irl (in real life),” according to CNN. It contained only a clip from a Subway Surfers mobile game, the network reported. His Instagram and TikTok accounts carried the name TheBiggestOpp.
By late evening, the Associated Press reported that officials confirmed at least 21 people, 19 of them children, had died in the shooting.
Abbott said in an earlier news conference that “swift action” was taken by law enforcement at the scene of the mass shooting, but it was too late for many children. “The shooter is no longer alive,” Abbott said. “The shooter was Salvador Ramos, an 18-year-old male who resided in Uvalde.” The governor had said 14 students and one teacher were killed, but that number grew as the day went on.
The mass shooting occurred around noon on May 24, 2022. Read more about the victims. Two 10-year-old boys — Uziyah Garcia and Xavier Lopez — were also named as victims, as the casualties mounted and pictures of the young faces emerged, breaking the heart of a nation.
“Why why why… She loved church so much,” another slain child’s father Steven Garcia wrote on his Facebook page. In the video Garcia shared of Ellie Garcia, 10, the girl said, “Hey guys…Jesus, he died for us. When we die, we will be up there for him. In my room, I have three pictures of him.”
Another victim, fourth-grader Amerie Jo Garza, 10, described as a “teacher’s pet” by her grandmother, was shot and killed while trying to call 911, Daily Beast reported.
“My Grand Daughter was shot and killed for trying to call 911, she died a Hero trying to get help for her and her fellow classmates,” Garza’s grandmother told the publication.
An Instagram page with pictures of guns appears to belong to the shooter. Although it has not been publicly authenticated by authorities, it was removed shortly after the shootings. The page followed Uvalde High School students, and people who knew the gunman have posted about it on social media, confirming it was his.
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.
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 photo below was posted on the Instagram page. Another Instagram user also shared it to her story, writing, “Salvador there’s no way u did that that couldn’t have been you.”
Uvalde is now one of the nation’s deadliest elementary school shootings. Twenty children and six staff members were killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut. That suspect, Adam Lanza, also murdered his mother.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Instagram Page @Salv8dor_ Tagged a Teen Who Says She Did Not Know Him, Writing, ‘I Got Lil Secret’
An Instagram page under the username @salv8dor_ was deleted after the gunman’s name was announced by Abbott. The account included two selfies of a teen who appears to be the shooter, along with photos of two rifles. Another photo showed a person holding a gun magazine in his lap. The account followed multiple Instagram users confirmed by Heavy to be Uvalde High School students. And another account shared messages the account holder said the gunman sent her days before the shooting. That account was tagged by the gunman in his lone Instagram post. The person behind the tagged account, a Los Angeles teenager, said in an Instagram story posted after the shooting that she does not live in Texas and does not know the shooter personally.
Multiple classmates told CNN that the Instagram page belonged to the shooter. A person who followed him told The Daily Dot, “All I know is he would always post guns on his story.” Another online friend told Daily Dot they met Ramos on the live-streaming site Yubo. “He was just telling me about some rifle he bought,” they said, “But in America I know how normal that is and I had no idea.”
That site reported that he showed a person a receipt for a gun from Daniel Defense, “a Georgia-based company that sells guns online.” That has not been confirmed by authorities or that company, however.
The Los Angeles teen posted messages she said were from Ramos, who she described as a stranger who had tagged her in a gun post on Instagram for unknown reasons. “I got lil secret. I wanna tell you,” one message said.
“I don’t know him and I don’t even live in Texas,” she wrote in her story. “He’s a stranger. I know nothing about him. He decided to tag me in his gun post. So sorry for the victims and their families. I really don’t know what to say.”
The teen shared message exchanges on Instagram that she believes were with the shooter.
“Be grateful I tagged you,” he wrote in one message she shared. “No it’s just scary…” she wrote back.
“I’m about to,” he wrote in a message but did not elaborate.
“About to what?” she asked.
“I’ll tell you before 11,” he wrote.
The shooting occurred at noon.
“The only reason I responded to him was because I was afraid of him. I wish I stayed awake to at least try to convince him to not commit his crime. I don’t know,” she wrote in her story.
Another person wrote on Instagram, sharing a photo from the page, “Salvador Ramos was his name… I had no idea he was like this and if I had known it…I would not have been following him. I barely knew him… we just had normal conversation… we talked twice…”
President Joe Biden was briefed on the school shooting and planned to speak about it later in the evening, his press secretary said. “His prayers are with the families impacted by this awful event, and he will speak this evening when he arrives back at the White House,” she tweeted.
“There’s a lot we don’t know yet,” Biden said when he spoke. “There’s a lot we do know. Parents who will never see their child again, never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same. To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away.”
The suspect was wearing a tactical vest but not body armor, contrary to earlier reports, according to AP.
2. The Shooter, a Student at Uvalde High School, Worked at Wendy’s & Had an ‘Aggressive Streak,’ Co-Workers Said
Dillon Silva, whose nephew was in a nearby classroom, told the AP that students in that room were watching a movie when the gunman walked past their door and a bullet “shattered a window.”
“Oh, my God, he has a gun!” Silva told the outlet the teacher yelled. “The teacher didn’t even have time to lock the door.”
According to the Daily Beast, Ramos worked at Wendy’s, where a co-worker described him as having an “aggressive streak.”
“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. At the park, there’d be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He’d take them around with him.”
“It is being reported that the subject shot his grandmother right before he went into the school. I have no further information about the connection between those two shootings,” Abbott had said earlier in the news conference.
Gutierrez said 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.
ABC News reported that the gunfire occurred inside the school, debunking early reports that the shooting occurred outside. Abbott said the gunman abandoned his car before entering the school and opening fire.
Authorities are “exploring his connection to the school” and “are working with a name and scouring social media,” ABC News reported.
“A number of the shooting victims are children of Customs and Border Patrol agents,” ABC News reported.
3. Ramos, Who Sent Friends Pictures of a Firearm, ‘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.
Videos emerged of people running out of the school. Videos also captured the heavy law enforcement response to the elementary school shooting.
In a news conference, police chief Pete Arredondo said that it’s believed Ramos acted alone. He said that the first reports came in at about 11:30 a.m., calling it a “mass casualty incident.”
He said the murdered students were in grades 2, 3 and 4. Arredondo is chief for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District.
Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter that Annabelle Guadalupe Rodriguez was among the missing. That’s according to her father. The child was later named among the deceased.
Uvalde is located about 85 miles from San Antonio, Texas.
4. A Border Patrol Agent Is Believed to Have Shot & Killed the Barricaded Shooter, Who Was Born in North Dakota & Had a Troubled Relationship With His Mother, Adriana Martinez (Reyes)
Additional details were emerging about the shooter’s family life. According to Daily Mail, police knew him previously due to violent arguments with an alleged “drug-addicted mother.” Authorities have not confirmed that account. He was born in North Dakota, a state representative told CNN.
His mother is Adriana Martinez, who lives in another area of town, according to El Pais, which reported that Ramos’s father was not in his life.
According to Daily Mail, the suspect’s mother said: “My son wasn’t a violent person. I’m surprised by what he did.” Daily Mail gave her name as Adriana Reyes.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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 her grandparents’ house after an argument with his mother. He did not believe the suspect was violent before the mass shooting, according to ABC, and said he tried to get him to go to school but Ramos would just shrug. He told ABC he believes the grandmother will survive.
Melugin wrote, “Texas DPS says the school shooter shot his grandmother before going to Robb Elementary and shooting indiscriminately. He had a rifle and was wearing body armor. Barricaded and exchanged gunfire with officers. He was eventually killed by a tactical team.”
A border patrol agent, who has not been named, is among the wounded. The exact number of those injured is not yet clear.
He added, “Border Patrol sources tell me an elite BORTAC Border Patrol agent is believed to have shot and killed the gunman at Robb Elementary School today. I’m told he entered with a tactical team while TX LEOs were engaged w/ barricaded shooter. Agent was injured.”
Natasha Bertrand, a CNN reporter, wrote on Twitter, “Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Dept of Public Safety tells @andersoncooper the shooter crashed his car near the school, got out with a gun and wearing body armor, was engaged by law enforcement, but made his way into the school anyway and went classroom to classroom shooting.”
Some news sites initially reported incorrectly that the gunman was Salvador Rojas.
“Update @ 1:06 Shooter is in Police Custody,” the Uvalde Police Department wrote in one of its initial statements. But the governor later revealed Ramos was dead.
“There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus. As soon as more information is gathered it will be shared,” Robb Elementary School wrote on Facebook.
The Police Department wrote at 12:38 p.m. that Robb Elementary students were being transported to the Willie DeLeon Civic Center to reunify with their loved ones. At 12:23 p.m., the scene was still active.
Police confirmed there was a “large Police presence at Robb Elementary 715 Old Carrizo St. We ask the public to avoid the area.” Before the suspect was confirmed deceased, police wrote that there was an “active police scene” and people should “avoid the area.”
University Health tweeted, “Update on the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde: at University Hospital, one patient, a 66-year-old woman, is in critical condition. We do not yet have a condition to report on the child.”
5. A Friend Described How Ramos Once ‘Cut Up His Face With Knives Over & Over & Over’
Santos Valdez Jr., 18, was a friend of Ramos. He told The Washington Post about an incident where Ramos had “scratch marks across his face,” initially saying they were caused by a cat.
“Then he told me the truth, that he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over,” Valdez told the newspaper, adding that Ramos said he cut his face for “fun.”
Law enforcement officials described a harrowing scene in which officers tried to stop the suspect outside the school, but he got inside anyway and then entered classrooms. It’s not yet clear what drew law enforcement’s attention to the shooter.
“Texas DPS spokesperson to CNN: several law enforcement officers engaged suspect outside the school, but he was able to make entry into the school. Shooter went into several classrooms,” wrote Steve Lookner, of Agenda Free TV.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, tweeted, “@ATFHous on scene at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX providing assistance in the investigation of a school shooting. Uvalde Police Department is the point of contact and will release more information as it becomes available.”
A source told Click2Houston that Ramos “legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local federal firearms licensee on two separate dates: May 17, 2022, and May 20, 2022.” One rifle was found in the truck; the other in the school (a Daniel Defense rifle.)
That source told the television station that the suspect bought 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18. His home address was given as the 500 block of Diaz Street in Uvalde.
Click2Houston reported that Ramos “dropped a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition near the entrance of the school.” Seven 30-round magazines were located inside the school. That site reports that, instead of body armor, he was wearing a “plate carrier.”
The Uvalde Police Department wrote on Facebook, “Parents are asked to pick up students at the regular dismissal times at the child’s campus. There will be no bus transportation. Officers will be on site to escort students to the parents cars. Parents please be patient as lines will be long. Source: Uvalde CISD.”