People gather as they mourn during a vigil for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022.
The U.S. teenage gunman who killed at least 19 children and two adults warned in a private message on a social network shortly ahead of time that he was about to shoot up an elementary school, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Wednesday.
Abbott described Salvador Ramos as an 18-year-old high school dropout. The governor blamed mental health issues for Ramos’ assault Tuesday on the Robb Elementary School in the small city of Uvalde, Texas, which ended when a U.S. Border Patrol agent shot Ramos dead.
But Abbott said officials had not discovered any mental health care concerns officially registered about Ramos, although news outlets reported that on occasion Ramos had randomly fired a BB gun at people on the streets of Uvalde and thrown eggs at cars. Acquaintances said he was angry because he had not completed enough classes to graduate this week with his classmates.
Abbott said that 30 minutes before Ramos stormed into the school, he posted a message on Facebook saying, “I’m going to shoot my grandmother,” with whom he lived, and went on to fire a shot at her face. The woman, Celia Martinez, 66, survived the attack, was hospitalized, and is reported in serious condition.
Moments later, he said in another message, “I shot my grandmother.”
Then, in a third message, Ramos warned, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school,” Abbott recounted.
Andy Stone, the spokesman for Facebook’s parent company Meta, clarified the text messages were sent to one person but did not disclose which of Meta’s platforms the gunman used.
After Ramos crashed his car in a ditch near the school, police officers employed by the school district “engaged with the gunman.” There are conflicting reports about whether gunfire was exchanged. Ramos then carried an assault weapon into the school and killed all his victims in the same fourth-grade classroom, a law enforcement official told CNN.
Abbott said 17 others were injured in the attack, but none had life-threatening injuries. A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said the injured include “multiple children” who survived gunfire in their classroom.