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.

UVALDE, Texas (KXAN) — Joseph Moreno has lived within view of the Uvalde school shooter’s grandparents’ home for years.

“Very nice people, especially his grandmother,” Moreno told KXAN Wednesday, the day after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot and wounded his grandma and then killed 19 children and two teachers at nearby Robb Elementary School.

Moreno’s daughter is the principal at the school. Both she and his granddaughter were on campus when the shots rang out, he said.

“[My daughter] texted me and said she was OK, and then I asked about my granddaughter, and she said, ‘she’s doing OK, too,'” Moreno said.

Being a small city of roughly 16,000 people, Uvalde residents tend to know one another.

“That’s how our town is,” said Hope Luna, fighting back tears. “We look after one another, for our kids.” 

Luna works at a motel about three minutes away from the elementary school. She told KXAN she had to work Wednesday after her co-workers called out — all of them affected by the tragedy.

“My heart goes out to each and every one of them. I know it’s painful,” she said.

Luna also has a connection to the shooter; her daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend grew up with him.

“He was just a normal kid just like any other, didn’t seem to have any issues [when he was younger],” she said. “He had friends. We don’t really know what triggered him to do this.” 

Moreno told NewsNation he believed the teen had been bullied and moved in with his grandmother after arguing with his mother.

The neighbor said he felt the shooter “was just mad at the world.”