A picture is emerging of increasingly bizarre behavior by the 18-year-old gunman who murdered 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school. Friends of Salvador Ramos say that he “deteriorated” recently with several strange actions, including repeatedly cutting his own face with a knife.
Associates say Ramos would drive with a friend and shoot random people with a BB gun, and last year posted his “wish list” of automatic rifles.
Relatives and friends recall his being bullied in middle school for a speech impediment. A cousin says he told his grandmother that he did not want to go back to school, that he didn’t feel comfortable.
One parent, talking in front of the elementary school after the shooting, said that his son knows someone “who liked to hit him.”
A childhood friend says Ramos was mocked for posting a picture of himself wearing black eyeliner. A classmate told reporters he recently uploaded a video of him yelling at his mom while the police were present.
Officials confirmed Wednesday that Ramos legally purchased his weapons just days after recently turning 18.
His mother is described by a neighbor as having “drug issues” and in the process of being evicted. Reports say Ramos moved into his grandparent’s residence across town a few months ago. Police say he shot his grandmother before driving to the elementary school.
She is listed in critical condition, and if she recovers investigators hope she will shed light on what led to the tragic shooting. Neighbors say she found out about his plans and tried to stop him before she was shot. A backpack filled with ammunition was later found outside the house.
Authorities say Ramos, after shooting his grandmother, crashed his vehicle into a ditch close to the school. From there, wearing a tactical vest and carrying a rifle, he was engaged by law enforcement officers before entering the school.
Two officers were injured but are now out of the hospital. The suspect then barricaded himself in a classroom, and all 19 children and the two teachers killed were in that room.
Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety says Ramos had no criminal history or gang affiliation. The lieutenant said there are so many more questions than answers at this point, both for the initial shooting of his grandmother and the rampage at Robb Elementary School.