Once again, the US is in shock after a school massacre. A Texas elementary school shooting killed 19 children and at least two adults. The alleged perpetrator is also dead. Who was he, where did the weapons come from, what was the motive for the outrageous act. Much of this cannot yet be answered.
In Uvalde, a US community near the border with Mexico that is predominantly inhabited by Latinos, an 18-year-old shot students and teachers at Robb Elementary School, a primary school. According to previous knowledge, at least 19 children and two adults died, according to the local authorities. The attacker himself was shot dead by police officers.
What is known about the course of events?
The perpetrator first shot his grandmother in her house in the morning and critically injured her. There are conflicting accounts of her condition, but she appears to have survived. He then drove his car from the crime scene. Before elementary school he was involved in a self-inflicted accident with the vehicle, in which he crashed the car. The gunman ran into the school around 11:30 a.m. and started shooting, Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez said. Accordingly, the 18-year-old opened fire in several classrooms. According to Chris Olivares of the Texas Department of Public Safety, "He started shooting kids, teachers, anyone who got in his way. He shot people in front of him." Police officers had tried to prevent him from entering the school. They eventually shot the attacker.
What do you know about the perpetrator?
Police give his name as Salvador Rolando Ramos. The Washington Post describes the young man as a "lonely 18-year-old who was bullied because of a childhood speech impediment." Former friends told the newspaper that Ramos was bullied in middle and high school because he stuttered and lisped heavily. There were multiple fights. Ramos also failed to build long-term friendships.
It was also said that he first lived with his mother and later with his grandmother. However, family life was increasingly impaired by the mother's drug addiction and Ramos' increasing violence. There have been several police operations due to domestic violence. Recently, Ramos had been going to school less and less, so his high school graduation had become less and less likely. A classmate reported that Ramos would sometimes drive around at night with another friend, shooting at people with an airgun and throwing eggs at cars.
Was the crime foreseeable?
It's hard to put it that way, but it was clear that Ramos was developing an interest in guns. A friend reported that about a year ago, Ramos posted photos of automatic rifles that "he had on his wish list" on social media. Four days ago, the perpetrator then posted pictures of two guns, which he described as "my gun pics". Local media also report posts on social media in which Ramos said children should be careful. However, friends and acquaintances were shocked when the crime became known. No one had believed him capable of such an outburst of violence.
How was the perpetrator armed?
The Texas Department of Public Safety said he was armed with a rifle and was wearing a body armor. According to initial findings, he only bought the rifle in May, a few days after his 18th birthday on May 16th. Local media reports that Ramos bought two different guns on May 17 and May 20, as well as 375 rounds of 5.56 ammo on May 18. He left one of the guns he bought in the car that was involved in the accident.
Why did the perpetrator choose this school?
The school is near the house where Ramos lived with his mother. It is unclear whether he visited the facility himself as a child. The day before the massacre, seniors from Uvalde High School attended Robb Elementary School. Traditionally, the school leavers in their graduation robes high-five the elementary school students.
Ramos was a student at Uvalde High School until he actually dropped out. There was an exchange on social media about the visit. According to this, an acquaintance wrote to Ramos about two hours before the shooting, but he did not answer and probably did not even read the messages.