Mother of 18-year-old Texas school shooter says he ‘wasn’t a violent person’

‘He kept to himself; he didn’t have many friends,’ Adriana Reyes says of her son, rejecting reports of a violent history; Biden urges new limitations on guns

Salvador Raimondo Ramos, 18, the gunman behind the mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers. (Twitter/Screenshot)
Salvador Raimondo Ramos, 18, the gunman behind the mass shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers. (Twitter/Screenshot)

The mother of Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old who killed 19 children and two teachers in a mass shooting in a Texas elementary school, has rejected claims that her son was a violent person.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Adriana Reyes said she was “surprised” by her son’s actions. She sent her condolences to the mourning families.

“I pray for those families. I’m praying for all of those innocent children, yes I am. They [the children] had no part in this,” she told the London-based daily, speaking from the hospital where her mother — her son’s first victim — was being treated.

Ramos, who was staying with his grandparents at the time of the shooting, shot his grandmother in the face before heading to the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday, a day before.

“I had a card and a Snoopy stuffed animal to give to him,” his mother recollected, describing the “good” relationship with her son and rejecting reports that suggested a toxic relationship between them as a possible reason for Ramos’s decision to move in with his grandparents.

She added, “My son wasn’t a violent person,” describing him as a loner who had experienced social difficulties throughout his life. “He kept to himself; he didn’t have many friends,” she said.

On Wednesday, Ramos’s grandfather said in an interview with ABC News that the 18-year-old and his mother didn’t live together because they had “problems.”

He added that he would have reported his grandson had he known about the two rifles he purchased.

“I didn’t know he had weapons. If I’d known, I would have reported it,” he said, describing Ramos as a “very quiet” young man.

“Sometimes I’d take him to work with me. Not all the time, but sometimes. This past year he didn’t go to school. He didn’t graduate. You would try to tell him but kids nowadays they think they know everything… He was very quiet, he didn’t talk very much,” Ramos’s grandfather added.

Ramos was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the attack after slaughtering 19 children, all in the same fourth-grade classroom, and two teachers.

It was the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and the deadliest shooting at a US grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago. The incident came just 10 days after a gunman in body armor killed 10 Black shoppers and workers at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, in what authorities say was a racist attack.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 75 miles (120 kilometers) from the border with Mexico. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades, is in a mostly residential neighborhood of modest homes.

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

Ramos had hinted on social media that an attack could be coming, according to state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who said he had been briefed by state police. He noted that the gunman “suggested the kids should watch out.”

Esmeralda Bravo, center, holds a photo of her granddaughter, Nevaeh, one of the Robb Elementary School shooting victims, as she is comforted by Nevaeh’s cousin, Anayeli, during a prayer vigil in Uvalde, Texas, May 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

The rifle used in the attack was identified as a “DDM4 Rifle,” modeled after the M4 carbine, the US military’s go-to rifle.

US President Joe Biden said Wednesday that “the Second Amendment is not absolute” as he called for new limitations on guns in the wake of the school massacre.

When the amendment was approved, he said, “You couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s always been limitations.”

Biden was speaking at the White House before signing an executive order on policing on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death.

He said that he would visit Texas with first lady Jill Biden in the coming days to “hopefully bring some little comfort to the community.”

“As a nation, I think we must all be there for them,” he said. “And we must ask, when in God’s name will we do what’s needed to be done.”

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