This story is part of a KXAN series of reports called “Stop Mass Shootings,” providing context and exploring solutions surrounding gun violence in the wake of the deadly Uvalde school shooting. We want our reports to be a resource for Texans, as well as for lawmakers who are convening a month after the events in Uvalde to discuss how the state should move forward. Explore all “Stop Mass Shootings” stories by clicking here.
Editor’s Note: On Thursday, the Department of Public Safety clarified a Uvalde ISD officer was not on campus and was not the first member of law enforcement to confront the shooter.
UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott and public safety leaders released more details about the investigation into Tuesday’s shooting at an elementary school, saying the shooter used Facebook to detail his plans just 30 minutes before the attack.
The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde left at least 19 students and two adults dead. Officials have not yet officially released the names of the victims, but families are coming forward to identify their loved ones.
The shooter, who Abbott identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, is also dead. The governor said responding officers killed him.
Ramos legally purchased two AR-style rifles shortly after his 18th birthday in May, along with 375 rounds of ammunition. Abbott said on Wednesday only one of the rifles was used in the shooting.
Prior to the shooting at Robb Elementary, Abbott said Ramos shot his grandmother, who he lived with.
The governor also said the gunman sent out a series of messages on Facebook, beginning just 30 minutes before Ramos arrived at the elementary school, along the lines of:
- First message: “I’m going to shoot my grandmother”
- Second message: “I shot my grandmother”
- Third message: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school”
A Meta spokesperson tweeted a clarification after the press conference: “The messages Gov. Abbott described were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred. We are closely cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation.”
After the grandmother was shot, Abbott said she was able to get help and contact police.
What happened at the school
Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety Steven McCraw said Ramos drove his grandmother’s vehicle and crashed outside the school. He came out of the car with a backpack and rifle and went to the backdoor of the campus.
McCraw said Wednesday a school district police officer approached him, but the Department of Public Safety clarified Thursday that this was not true and there were no officers on campus. Ramos made it inside the school.
The governor said he walked through two hallways before entering a classroom, which was connected to a second classroom. That’s where the shooting began, McCraw said.
Law enforcement then converged on the classroom, Abbott said, and killed Ramos.
The shooting started around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. The entire district went on lockdown. By 12:15 p.m., Uvalde CISD posted about the active shooter at Robb Elementary School on social media.
Abbott said Ramos had no known criminal or mental health history but investigators are still looking into his background. The governor said during a discussion with law enforcement, city officials and state leaders, they all said, “we have a problem with mental health illness in this community.”
“There is an urgent need for everybody affected to access mental health,” Abbott said.
Leaders alongside Abbott emphasized mental health and the need for families, the community and law enforcement to heal.
“Your mental health is like any other health. It must be treated, it must be diagnosed, it must be talked about, and the legislature, when we reconvene, we will have a long, very robust discussion about mental health like we always have. We will continue to support mental health in this state and especially rural mental health,” Speaker Dade Phelan said.
Abbott provided a number for the District Attorney’s Office Victim Services for those affected by the tragedy: (830) 278-2916.
“I’ve worked for this district for 30 years. I never thought I would be sitting here in front of you doing this today. But please, pray for our teachers, pray for our community and we will move forward,” said Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell.
Abbott said Tuesday Uvalde CISD Police is the primary investigating agency, but state resources are being offered to help.
“All Texans are grieving with the people of Uvalde, and people are rightfully angry about what has happened,” Abbott said Wednesday.
The shooting happened just two days before the last day of the school year, per Uvalde CISD’s calendar.
“My heart is broken today,” Uvalde CISD Superintendent Hal Harrell said Tuesday evening. “We’re a small community, and we need your prayers to get us through this.”
Abbott was joined by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Speaker Dade Phelan and U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, as well as other state and local officials. The press conference took place at 12:30 p.m. at Uvalde High School.