An interim report by a Texas House committee investigating the Uvalde school massacre reveals multiple red flags were known more than a year before 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers in his former fourth-grade classroom at Robb Elementary.
Leading up to the shooting, Ramos had already earned the name "school shooter" by people he gamed with online. He also started wearing all-black clothing and making violent threats - particularly toward women, who he "terrorized with graphic descriptions of violence and rape," according to the Texas Tribune.
While relatives described Ramos as 'shy and quiet' and reluctant to interact with people due to a speech impediment, a former girlfriend interviewed by the FBI said she thought he had been sexually assaulted at an early age by one of his mother's boyfriends, but that his mother did not believe him.
Ramos began falling behind in school, but never received special education despite having been labeled "at-risk." He was bullied throughout the fourth grade due to a stutter, short haircut and clothing - which he often wore several days in a row. In one case, a girl tied his shoelaces together, causing him to fall on his face according to a cousin.
Uvalde High School senior Ariana Diaz told the Tribune that Ramos was a "popular loner," and someone who everyone knew kept to himself. More recently, she says he was in a "dark place" and started wearing all black clothing and combat boots. Those close to him said he was depressed and lonely.
In late 2021, Ramos shared a video online of he and a friend he met online driving around with a dead cat inside a plastic bag, which he "discarded in the street and spit on while his driver laughed." The video also showed Ramos dry firing BB guns at people.
Ramos told his girlfriend at the time that he wouldn't live past the age of 18, either because he would commit suicide or otherwise "wouldn't live long." After she broke up with him in 2021, she told the FBI that Ramos began harassing her and her friends.
In one Instagram exchange, Ramos - who went by the username "TheBiggestOpp," sent a girl a picture of a gun.
In another exchange, a 16-year-old girl who said she met Ramos in February said he replied to a meme she'd posted that referenced a weapon, saying "personally I wouldn’t use a AK-47," rather "a better gun."
He was also into gore and violent sex based on his online history - and would sometimes share images of suicides and beheadings. When playing games online, he would become enraged and threaten others - particularly female players, when he lost.
"He gave me such an odd vibe," 17-year-old Crystal Foutz, an Uvalde High School junior, told the Wall Street Journal, adding "He always seemed scary."
Ramos posted pictures on Instagram of him cutting himself, with blood in a sink, Ms. Vasquez said. Earlier this year, she said, he showed up to school one day with a mask on, and when he took it off, his face had scars and scratches that he said he had inflicted on himself.
A screenshot of an Instagram story on an account linked to him, which since has been taken down, showed an ammunition magazine. A TikTok account with the same handle, “@salv8dor_,” which also has been removed, showed a photo of two rifles. The account included in its description the line, “Kids be scared.” -WSJ
Ramos' mother, Adriana Reyes, said last week that the 18-year-old "was not a monster," but could become "aggressive."
"Sometimes I had an uncomfortable feeling, like ‘what are you doing?’," she told ABC, adding "He could become aggressive if he got really angry. (…). We all have rabies, but some people have more than others."
Nothing was reported
Despite Ramos' disturbing threats and violent postings, nobody reported his online behavior to law enforcement.
Two months prior to the shooting, Ramos posted an Instagram story in which he screamed at his mother while she was in the process of kicking him out of the house, according to the Washington Post. He also told an older cousin that he didn't want to live anymore, but the cousin told authorities that they had a "heart-to-heart" in which she thought she'd gotten through to him.
Instead, Ramos went on a buying spree when he turned 18 on May 16, buying two AR-15 style rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and 60 30-round magazines. Since he had no criminal record, nor had ever been arrested, there was nothing which showed up in a background check to prevent him from acquiring the weapons.
Countdown to the shooting
After he armed up, Ramos began referencing a timeline which foreshadowed his plans.
Ten days before the shooting, he wrote "10 more days," according to a Texas official. Another person replied: "Are you going to shoot up a school or something?" to which Ramos replied: "No, stop asking dumb questions. You’ll see."