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- BBC News World
At a school in the town of Uvalde, Texas, at least 19 children and two teachers were killed on Tuesday after an 18-year-old man walked in with a gun and started shooting.
The person is identified as Salvador Ramos, an American citizen and resident of this city of 15,000 inhabitants located approximately 135 kilometers from San Antonio.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot believes Ramos apparently died after confronting police at the school. Two of the officers were hit by bullets, but Abbot said their condition is stable.
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The victims were 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, ages 7 to 10. Two teachers also died in the shooting at this school that welcomes about 500 students, mostly of Hispanic descent.
The motive for the crime is still unclear, but police say there is every reason to believe that Ramos acted alone.
The young man was driving a van that crashed into a ditch a few yards from Robb Elementary School, where he entered a classroom and began firing. A U.S. Border Patrol agent who was nearby when the shooting began entered the school and shot and killed the gunman, who was behind a barricade, the Associated Press reported.
Two guns for his 18th birthday
The attacker, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, exited the wrecked vehicle with a rifle, which he then used to open fire at the building, Public Security Sergeant Erick Estrada told CNN of Texas.
According to investigators, the subject was armed with a handgun, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity magazines.
The attacker had recently turned 18 and had no criminal record, authorities confirm.
Ramos bought two AR rifles and 375 rounds a few days after his 18th birthday, according to a report sent to Senator Whitmire by state police.
One of the guns was found at the crime scene, along with seven magazines of 30 bullets each, and the other in his car wreck outside the school, according to reports.
A shy young man who is being bullied
The US media released details about the attacker’s life and personality, described by some of his classmates as a loner who was the victim of bullying at school.
A student who was friends with Ramos in eighth grade tells The Washington Post that he was a shy teenager who was constantly bullied by classmates for stuttering and lisping, among other things.
He says the boy, with whom he used to play video games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty, is showing strange changes in his personality and is starting to exhibit unusual behavior such as cutting his face.
He also adds that his former boyfriend wore black and military boots and went out of school for a long time so he didn’t seem to have any intention of graduating.
A 41-year-old neighbor of Ramos told US broadcaster CBS, BBC affiliate CBS, that Ramos “had a difficult life” and that his mother was a drug addict and “never showed any love for him.”
He also reports that since he was 14 or 15, his behavior has changed, it’s hard to have a conversation with him, and he seems to have become “an outcast at school.”
The young man is said to have interacted with people he met online on social media. A young woman he didn’t know personally was tagged in an Instagram post with a photo of the two guns for “offensive.”
Before leaving the house, the suspect also allegedly shot his grandmother in the face, who was taken to hospital in critical condition.
Abbott said Ramos was a resident of Uvalde and a student at a nearby high school.
The attacker’s official address was his grandmother’s home, according to documents received by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
According to Governor Abbott, Ramos posted three messages on his Facebook profile before the shooting.
In the first, about 30 minutes earlier, he had written, “I’m going to shoot my grandma.”
He confirms it in the second message.
In the third message, about 15 minutes before he starts his attack on the school, he announces that he is going to shoot at an elementary school.