As the investigation into the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, continues, more information about the alleged gunman, Salvador Ramos, has come to light.
Family and classmates of Salvador Ramos have revealed that the18-year-old teen had a history of disturbing behavior, including violent threats and a tendency to torture animals.
On May 24, Salvador Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother before driving his SUV to Robb Elementary school. After crashing his car, he stormed the school grounds armed with a handgun and a semi-automatic rifle, attacking students and staff. By the end of this tragedy, 19 children and 2 teachers were killed in the massacre making this the deadliest mass shooting since the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, in 2012.
Salvador Ramos, a history of violence
In an interview with the Daily Beast, Jaime Arellano, a classmate of Salvador Ramos, explained how the suspected gunmen would often boast about acts of violence against animals.
“He would go to the park and try to pick on people and he loved hurting animals.”
Salvador Ramos also used Yubo, a Paris-based social media app. According to CNN, he was an active member of the platform, where he interacted with numerous teens. It is reported that other Yubo users knew him as the “school shooter” long before the Robb Elementary attacks, as he would discuss his plans to carry out a mass shooting. However, users claimed they were under the impression he was joking.
According to the New York Post, Salvador Ramos would also interact with many teenage girls on the site. If they were slow to respond to them, he would send abusive messages, threatening violence against them.
In an interview with ABC news, one Yubo user discussed videos Ramos would post of himself torturing cats.
“(Ramos would) put cats in plastic bags, suspend them inside, throw them at the ground and throw them at people’s houses.”
The user claimed that Ramos would brag about his actions, telling others on the platform that this was a regular activity for him.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Santos Valdez Jr, a former friend and one-time classmate of Ramos, described the reasons he stopped associating with the disturbed 18-year-old.
Valdez told reporters that once he saw Ramos arrive at a park with lacerations across his face. In the beginning, Ramos claimed that he had been scratched by a cat. However, he would eventually explain to Valdez that that the cuts were self-inflicted.
“Then he told me the truth, that he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over. I was like, ‘you’re crazy, bro, why would you do that?”
Marca reported that Keanna Baxter, one of Ramos’ friends, described his violent behavior. Ramos had dated one of Baxter’s former friends, but the relationship ended due to his volatile nature.
“He would get super violent. And then he would lose his temper, she would literally be scared for her life, basically. He would send her these really nasty messages, where he’d go from super sweet to screaming at her back to super sweet.”
“He would try and fight women. He would try and fight anyone who told him no. If he didn’t get his way, he’d go crazy. He was especially violent towards women.”
According to Marca, Ramos also had a tendency to stalk young women. For a period of time, he harassed 17-year-old Crystal Foutz, sending her threats on Instagram.
“Another friend of mine, when she worked with (Salvador Ramos), there was an incident between a girlfriend and a boyfriend. (Salvador Ramos) tried to fight the girlfriend.”
An account from the family of Salvador Ramos
While many of Ramos' peers agree that his behavior has always been unsettling, his parents believe that, while he was violent, he was also troubled and misunderstood.
Adriana Reyes, Ramos' mother, told the Independent that he was not as inhumane as he has been depicted by media sources. However, she did acknowledge that he had anger issues.
“I had an uneasy feeling sometimes, like ‘what are you up to’ He can be aggressive… if he really got mad.”
According to the Independent, his father Salvador Ramos Sr. apologized to the town of Uvalde, but also reinforced the notion that his son was misunderstood.
“I don’t want them calling him a monster… they don’t know noting, man. They don’t know anything he was going through.”
David Trevin Jr, a relative of Ramos’ grandmother by marriage, had a different perspective of the suspect's behavior.
"The shooter was known for hurting cats. He liked hurting animals. I’m told he killed the cats and carried around the bag of bodies for s—ts and giggles"
“The video shows he was not right in the head. He’s not all there. The video raises all sorts of red flags.”
The disturbing online history of Salvador Ramos has sparked discussion among netizens about mental health. While Ramos was clearly troubled, harassing several people online and in person, no measures were taken to provide him with the support he required. According to a study by the National Library of Medicine, animal cruelty often correlates with psychiatric conditions such as anti-social personality disorder (APD).