By Charlotte Cuthbertson and Zachary Stieber
UVALDE, Texas—The man who killed 19 children in an elementary school on May 24 posted thrice to Facebook before arriving at the facility, Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday.
About 30 minutes before Salvador Ramos, 18, entered Robb Elementary School and opened fire, he wrote on social media, “I’m going to shoot my grandmother.”
Another post, minutes later, “I shot my grandmother.”
A third, around 15 minutes before the massacre began, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
Apart from the posts, there was “no meaningful forewarning” of the mass shooting, Abbott, a Republican, told reporters during a briefing.
The posts were located by the FBI, which is assisting local and state authorities with the investigation.
A search online turned up no criminal history, and authorities have so far found no indication of prior criminal incidents.
Ramos was a dropout who had attended Uvalde’s high school. It’s unclear if he attended Robb Elementary School.
After Ramos shot his grandmother, 66, at her home where he lived, his mother called the police. She also ran for help for her mother, who was airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio where she is alive but in critical condition.
Ramos then took his grandmother’s car and drove about 2.9 miles before crashing. He exited the vehicle with a backpack and one of the semi-automatic rifles that he legally purchased from a local sporting goods store in March. He moved onto the west side of the campus. As he was approaching, a school resource officer engaged with the man. No gunfire was exchanged, and Ramos was able to make it into the school.
He turned right, then left, before reaching two adjoining classrooms and opening fire.
A tactical team of law enforcement officers, including Border Patrol SWAT agents and an Uvalde deputy, breached the classroom door and killed Ramos.
Besides the shooter and 19 kids, two teachers were killed.
Other individuals were left wounded.
The motive remains unclear, officials said.
Texas leaders largely framed the problem as a mental health one, as opposed to one regarding access to firearms.
Any person who conducts such an attack has mental health issues, Abbott said. “We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it,” he said.
“There are ‘real gun laws’ in New York. There are ‘real gun laws’ in Chicago. There are ‘real gun laws’ in California. I hate to say this, but there are more people that were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas. And we need to realize that, people who may think we just need to implement tougher gun laws, it’ll solve it—Chicago, and LA, and New York disproves that thesis,” he added later. “Our job is to come up with real solutions that we can implement.”
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican, said the state legislature would, when it reconvenes, discuss legislation to tackle mental health issues.
Still, Abbott said laws that were passed in 2019 and were aimed at preventing school shootings would be closely examined to make sure there were no shortcomings in the language or in implementation.