Monday, June 24, 2024
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Gunman sent warning minutes before rampage

CNA – The Texas gunman who murdered 19 children and two teachers warned in an online message that he was going to shoot up an elementary school minutes before his rampage, Governor Greg Abbott said on Wednesday, as harrowing details about the attack emerged a day after the massacre.

The gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, also sent a message saying he was going to shoot his grandmother and another one confirming he had done so, Abbott said at a news conference. Ramos’ grandmother, whom he shot in the face shortly before attacking the school, survived and called police.

Ramos fled the home they shared and crashed his car near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. A school police officer approached him outside the building, according to officials, but no gunfire was exchanged. Authorities did not offer further details on that engagement.

Ramos then entered the school through a back door carrying an AR-15 style rifle and made his way to a fourth-grade classroom, where all of the victims were killed, authorities said.

Police surrounded the building, breaking windows to help children and staff escape. Members of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit also responded and entered the building to confront the shooter, a United States (US) Customs and Border Protection official told media, requesting anonymity to discuss internal information.

Texas Troopers light a candle at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. PHOTOS: AP

Ramos was shot and killed by law enforcement. One agent was hit in the leg and grazed in the head, the official said.

The online messages were the only advance warning, Abbott said.

He said Ramos, a high school dropout, did not appear to have any criminal record or history of mental health problems. Investigators have not publicly identified a motive.

Abbott said the posts were made on Facebook, but spokespeople for Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, said they were private one-to-one messages discovered after the shooting. The company declined to say who received the messages or which of Meta’s platforms, such as Messenger or Instagram, was used to send them. Ramos legally purchased two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition just days before the shooting, according to authorities.