Morning of horror: The Texas shooter’s path

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 26 2022 05:57 AM

This undated screenshot from the Instagram account of Salvador Ramos, shows Ramos, who is the suspected gunman of the May 24, 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos allegedly killed at least 19 young children and two teachers at the elementary school, prompting President Joe Biden to denounce the US gun lobby and vow to end the nation's cycle of mass shootings. Social media via AFP
This undated screenshot from the Instagram account of Salvador Ramos, shows Ramos, who is the suspected gunman of the May 24, 2022 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos allegedly killed at least 19 young children and two teachers at the elementary school, prompting President Joe Biden to denounce the US gun lobby and vow to end the nation's cycle of mass shootings. Social media via AFP

WASHINGTON—The day after his 18th birthday, Salvador Ramos, a troubled teenager from small town Texas, bought his first assault rifle. A week later he walked into a local elementary school where he shot and killed 19 small children and two of their teachers.

Authorities are still trying to piece together what drove Ramos to commit America's worst school massacre in a decade, but here is what is known so far about the shooting:

- How the shooter attacked -

Described as a long-bullied youth with a history of self-harm, Ramos turned 18 on May 16 -- and bought a first rifle the very next day, followed three days later by a second and 375 rounds of ammunition.

At some point on Tuesday morning, Ramos shot his 66-year-old grandmother at her home, where he stayed at times. She was airlifted in critical condition to a hospital in nearby San Antonio.

From his grandmother's home, Ramos drove his grey Ford pickup truck to the area of Robb Elementary School, where more than 500 students in grades two to four -- aged around seven to 10 years old -- had just three days of class left before summer vacation.

Ramos crashed his truck into a wide culvert behind the school, attracting the attention of people in the neighborhood.

Women working at a nearby funeral home told The Washington Post that when they approached Ramos to see if he needed assistance, he began shooting at them.

Clad in black and wearing a tactical vest, and carrying an assault rifle, he then ran to the school.

The shooting began around 11:30 am. 

Ramos managed to gain entry to a fourth-grade classroom, barricaded himself inside, and starting shooting at the children and teachers trapped inside.

The shooter displayed "no regard for human life," according to Lt. Chris Olivarez, spokesperson for the Texas Department for Public Safety. "Just a complete tragedy, an evil person."

All of the victims were killed in the same classroom.

Their identities have been gradually revealed as shattered families share their pain online: from Xavier Lopez, a 10-year-old boy who loved to dance, to Ellie Garcia, "the happiest ever" in her father's words, and Amerie Jo Garza, a young girl with a brilliant smile who had just celebrated her 10th birthday.

- How he was stopped -

As a crowd grew nearby, police arrived on the scene in response to a report of a crashed vehicle, according to Olivarez.

Hearing shots coming from the school, they ran inside and themselves came under gunfire. Two officers were wounded.

Some police on the scene started to break windows and evacuate children and teachers from the premises.

More law enforcement descended on the scene, including US Border Patrol Agents, who have a station office in the city.

"Upon entering the building, agents and other law enforcement officers faced gunfire from the subject, who was barricaded inside," said Department of Homeland Affairs spokesperson Marsha Espinosa. 

Espinosa said law enforcement officers "put themselves between the shooter and children on the scene to draw the shooter's attention away from potential victims," said Espinosa.

It was more than 30 minutes after Ramos entered the school that he was finally shot and killed, reportedly by one of the Border Patrol agents.

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