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‘I’m going to shoot an elementary school’: Texas governor reveals teen gunman Salvador Ramos’s chilling Facebook post

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 25/05/2022 Anthony France,Daniel Keane and Michael Howie

A teenage gunman who killed at 19 children at a Texas school posted messages on Facebook announcing his bloody intentions minutes before carrying out the massacre, it has been revealed.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, used an AR-15 in Tuesday’s attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

About 30 minutes before the shooting, Ramos made the first of three social media posts. According to the governor, the teenager posted that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman.

The third message, posted about 15 minutes before Ramos began massacring the pupils, read: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

Seventeen people were also injured in the attack.

Mr Abbott says Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history.

 (Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard (Getty Images)

“Evil swept across Uvalde yesterday,” he said.

The deat toll also included two adults, including a teacher. The attacker was killed by a Border Patrol agent who rushed towards the school with a tactical support team.

The assault in the heavily Latino town was the deadliest shooting at a US school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children.

Outside the town civic centre, where families were told to await news about their loved ones, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing. “No! Please, no!" one man yelled as he embraced another man.

“My heart is broken today," said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We're a small community, and we're going to need your prayers to get through this."

The first victims of the shooting were identified on Tuesday night. Among those killed were:

• Uziyah Garcia, 9, who was named as a victim of the shooting by his aunt Nikki Cross

• Makenna Elrod, 10, was confirmed dead by a family friend late on Tuesday night

The child victims: Makenna Elrod (top left),  Xavier Lopez (top middle), Ellie Garcia (top right), Uziyah Garcia (bottom middle) Eliahana Torres (bottom right) (ES Composite) © Provided by Evening Standard The child victims: Makenna Elrod (top left), Xavier Lopez (top middle), Ellie Garcia (top right), Uziyah Garcia (bottom middle) Eliahana Torres (bottom right) (ES Composite)

• Rojelio Torres, also 10, was named as one of those killed

• Xavier Javier Lopez, 10, also died in the shooting, his cousin Lisa Garza confirmed

• Amerie Jo Garza, 10, was among the dead

• Irma Garcia was the second adult to die in the shooting, her nephew John confirmed

• Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, also died in the shooting

• Nevaeh Bravo, a student at the school whose age is not yet known, was killed

• Eliahana Torres, 10, was also confirmed dead on Facebook

Mrs Mireles died while trying to protect her students, her aunt Lydia Martinez Delgado said. She was remembered as a loving mother and wife. Her profile on the school’s website said she had worked as a teacher for 17 years and described her as having one daughter who had recently graduated.

“She was adventurous. I would definitely say those wonderful things about her. She is definitely going to be very missed,” said 34-year-old relative Amber Ybarra, of San Antonio.

Lisa Garza, 54, of Arlington, Texas, mourned the death of her cousin, Xavier Javier Lopez, who had been eagerly awaiting a summer of swimming.

"He was just a loving 10-year-old little boy, just enjoying life, not knowing that this tragedy was going to happen today," she told the Associated Press.

Nine-year-old Uziyah Garcia, a student in fourth-grade, was named as a victim of the shooting by his aunt Nikki Cross. Ten-year-olds Rojelio Torres, Amerie Jo Garza and Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez also died in the attack, The New York Post reported.

Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, was still outside the school as the sun set, seeking word on his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Elijah Cruz Torres.

He drove to the scene after receiving a terrifying call from his daughter shortly after the first reports of the shooting. He said other relatives were at the hospital and the civic centre.

Waiting, he said, was the heaviest moment of his life.

“I hope she is alive," Mr Cruz said.

The attack came just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that added to a yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores. And the prospects for any reform of the nation's gun regulations seemed as dim, if not dimmer, than in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook deaths.

But President Joe Biden appeared ready for a fight, calling for new gun restrictions in an address to the nation hours after the attack.

"As a nation we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God's name are we going to do what has to be done?" Mr Biden asked. "Why are we willing to live with this carnage?"

Many of the wounded were rushed to Uvalde Memorial Hospital, where staff members in scrubs and devastated victims' relatives could be seen weeping as they walked out of the complex.

Officials did not immediately reveal a motive, but they identified the assailant as 18-year-old Ramos, a resident of the community about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Law enforcement officials said he acted alone.

The attack came as Robb Elementary was counting down to the last days of the school year with a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be "Footloose and Fancy," with students wearing nice outfits and shoes.

Salvador Ramos (Instagram) © Provided by Evening Standard Salvador Ramos (Instagram)

The school has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades. The vast majority of the students are Latino.

Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, according to state Senator Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman "suggested the kids should watch out."

Before heading to the school, Ramos killed his grandmother with two military-style rifles he purchased on his birthday, Gutierrez said.

"That was the first thing he did on his 18th birthday," he said. Other officials said later that the grandmother had survived, and was being treated, through her condition was not known.

Investigators believe Ramos posted photos on Instagram of two guns he used in the shooting, and they were examining whether he made statements online alluding to the attack in the hours before the assault, a law enforcement official said.

Law enforcement officers were serving multiple search warrants Tuesday night and gathering telephone and other records, the official said. Investigators were also attempting to contact Ramos' relatives and were tracing the firearms.

The tragedy in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, and it added to a grim tally in the state, which has been the site of some of the deadliest shootings in the US. over the past five years.

In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in the Houston area. A year before that, a gunman at a Texas church killed more than two dozen people during a Sunday service in the small town of Sutherland Springs. In 2019, another gunman at a Walmart in El Paso killed 23 people in a racist attack targeting Hispanics.

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