Texas gunman warned of shooting grandma and school in private Facebook messages – NBC Chicago

The gunman who slaughtered 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school had warned in private messages online minutes before the attack that he had shot his grandmother and was going to shoot at a school, the governor said Wednesday.

The 18-year-old gunman then barricaded himself in a classroom and fired indiscriminately, using an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle in the bloodshed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde which s ended with officers storming the classroom and killing him. He had legally purchased two of these rifles days prior, shortly after his birthday, authorities said.

Investigators have shed no light on the motive for the attack, which also left 17 people injured. Gov. Greg Abbott said the shooter, a resident of the small town about 85 miles west of San Antonio, had no known criminal or mental health history.

But about 30 minutes before the bloodbath, the shooter sent three private Facebook messages to another user: first saying he was going to shoot his grandmother, then that he had shot the woman, and finally that he was going to shoot at an elementary school. , according to Abbott. It was unclear whether he specified which school.

A spokesperson for Meta said the private text messages were “discovered after the terrible tragedy”. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone is cooperating with investigators.

Amid calls in the United States for tougher gun restrictions, Abbott instead spoke repeatedly about mental health issues among Texas youth and pointed to laws in New York, Chicago and California to argue that stricter gun laws do not prevent violence.

Former Congressman and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke confronted Gov. Greg Abbott at a news conference Wednesday about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, calling the shooting “totally predictable. when you choose to do nothing”.

Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Abbott for governor this year, interrupted the governor’s press conference, calling the Republican’s response to the tragedy “predictable.”

As details of the latest mass murder to rock the United States emerged, grief engulfed Uvalde, a population of 16,000.

Among the dead were a 10-year-old girl, Eliahna Garcia, who loved to sing, dance and play basketball; fellow fourth grader Xavier Javier Lopez, who was looking forward to a summer of swimming; and a teacher, Eva Mireles, with 17 years of experience whose husband is an officer with the school district police department.

“I just don’t know how people can sell this kind of gun to an 18-year-old,” Eliahna’s aunt Siria Arizmendi said angrily through tears. “What is he going to use it for if not for this purpose?”

Texas Department of Public Safety Lt. Christopher Olivarez told NBC’s “TODAY” show that the shooter “was able to get into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom, and again he just started shooting, many children and teachers who were in that classroom, with no regard for human life.”

He “just started shooting anyone who got in his way,” he added.

Abbott said two classrooms were contiguous.

The father of an 8-year-old boy who survived a deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas spoke about the experience with NBC’s Kerry Sanders.

Police and others responding to the attack also smashed the windows of the school to allow students and teachers to escape. Law enforcement eventually burst into the classroom and killed the shooter, identified as Salvador Ramos, in a final exchange of gunfire, authorities said.

The attack in the predominantly Latino town was the deadliest school shooting in the United States since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012.

The bloodshed was the latest in a seemingly endless series of massacres at churches, schools, stores and other sites across the US Just 10 days earlier, 10 black people were gunned down in a racist rampage in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.

In a somber address to the nation hours after the attack in Texas, President Joe Biden pleaded for Americans to “stand up to the gun lobby” and enact tougher restrictions, saying, “When in in God’s name are we going to do what needs to be over?”

But the prospects for national gun regulatory reform looked bleak. Repeated attempts over the years to expand background checks and enact other restrictions have been met with Republican opposition in Congress.

Texas, which has some of the most gun-friendly laws in the country, has seen some of the deadliest shootings in the United States in the past five years. The shooting took place days before the start of the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston, with the governor and the two US senators from Texas due to speak.

In 2021, Texas passed a set of gun laws that declared the state a “Second Amendment sanctuary state” and relaxed restrictions on carrying handguns in public, among other changes. NBCLX storyteller Clark Fouraker explains.

On social media in the days and hours leading up to the massacre, the shooter seemed to hint that something was about to happen.

On the day he bought his second gun last week, an Instagram account that investigators said apparently belonged to him bore a photo of two AR-type rifles. This post tagged another Instagram user, one with over 10,000 followers, asking her to share the photo.

“I barely know you and you tag me in a photo with guns,” replied the Instagram user, who has since deleted his profile. “It’s just scary.”

On the morning of the attack, the account linked to the shooter replied, “I’m about to do it.”

Instagram confirmed to The Associated Press that it was working with law enforcement to review the account, but declined to answer questions about the posts. Investigators are also looking at an account on TikTok, possibly belonging to the shooter, with a profile that reads: “Kids Are Scared IRL”, an acronym meaning “in real life”. The profile is not dated.

Investigators don’t yet know why Ramos targeted the school, said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“We don’t see a pattern or a catalyst right now,” he said.

Officers found one of the guns in the shooter’s truck and the other in the school, according to the briefing given to lawmakers. He was wearing a tactical vest, but there were no reinforced armor plates inside, lawmakers said. He also dropped a backpack containing several magazines full of ammunition near the entrance to the school.

One of the firearms was purchased from a federally licensed dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to State Senator John Whitmire, who was briefed by investigators. The shooter bought 375 rounds the next day, then bought the second gun last Friday.

On Tuesday morning, the 18-year-old shot and injured his grandmother at her home, then left, as she called 911.

He then crashed his truck through a railing on school grounds, and an officer from the Uvalde School District exchanged gunfire with him and was injured, Considine said. Ramos went inside and exchanged more gunfire with two arriving police officers from Uvalde, who were still outside, Public Safety Department spokesman Travis Considine said. These officers were also injured.

Dillon Silva, whose nephew was in a nearby classroom, said students were watching the Disney film “Moana” when they heard several loud noises and a bullet shattered a window. Moments later, their teacher saw the attacker walk through the door.

“Oh, my God, he has a gun! the professor shouted twice, according to Silva. “The teacher didn’t even have time to lock the door,” he said.

The two co-teachers killed along with 19 children in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas are being hailed as heroes for trying to protect their students from the gunman in their final moments. NBCLX storyteller Clark Fouraker shares what we know about longtime educators Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia.

On Wednesday morning, volunteers were seen arriving at the city’s civic center with Bibles and therapy dogs. Three children and an adult remained in a hospital in San Antonio, where two of them – a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl – were listed in serious condition.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary, with nearly 600 students in second, third, and fourth grades, is a one-story brick structure in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

The tight-knit community, built around a shaded central plaza, includes many Hispanic families who have lived there for generations. It sits amidst fields of cabbage, onions, carrots and other vegetables. But many of the most stable jobs are provided by companies that produce building materials.

The attack came as the school counted down to the final days of the school year with a series of themed days. Tuesday was to be “Footloose and Fancy”, with students wearing beautiful outfits.

NBC Chicago

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