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Texas gunman warned of Uvalde school shooting in private Facebook message

The man who gunned down 19 children and two teachers in the Texas elementary school massacre wrote “I’m going to shoot an elementary school” in a Facebook message 15 minutes before he barricaded himself inside a classroom and fired indiscriminately, officials said Wednesday.

The shooter, identified as Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, gave “no meaningful forewarning” of the violence he intended to unleash except for the Facebook message and two others that came before it, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference.

The other two messages said: “I’m going to shoot my grandmother” and “I shot my grandmother.”

Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said the warnings were sent in private one-to-one text messages that were found after the shooting. Facebook is cooperating with law enforcement, he said in a tweet.

After Ramos shot his grandmother in the face, he drove to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, crashed his car nearby and carried a rifle inside, Abbott said during a news conference that devolved into chaos.

Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for Texas governor, interrupted the news conference, telling Abbott the shooting was “totally predictable” and that he was “doing nothing.”

O’Rourke was met by several expletives from the stage, with someone calling him a “sick son of a b—-” as he was escorted out by police.

Abbott blamed the shooting on mental health challenges, not easy access to automatic weapons and other guns.

All victims were in one classroom

Those who were killed and hurt in the shooting were in one classroom, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson Lt. Chris Olivarez told CNN. Abbott said two classrooms were adjoined.

The shooter “was able to make entry into a classroom, barricaded himself inside that classroom, and again, just began shooting, numerous children and teachers who were in that classroom, having no regard for human life,” Olivarez said Wednesday on NBC’s “TODAY” show.

He “just began shooting anyone that was in his way,” he added.

Olivarez, a father, called Ramos a “complete, evil person.”

Officers who were first to the scene heard the gunfire and attempted to get in but were met with a barrage of bullets, he said. Some of them were hit.

Unable to immediately put a stop to the carnage in the classroom, officers worked to evacuate students and staff from other parts of the building.

Abbott said Wednesday that one of the children killed was the daughter of a deputy sheriff.

Off-duty border patrol agent involved in killing gunman, sources say

An off-duty U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Tactical Unit agent and two law enforcement officers entered the school while the gunman was still firing, two law enforcement sources said.

They were able to kill the shooter as he continued to fire from behind a barricade, the sources said. A CBP agent was wounded but not fatally.

Many agents live in Uvalde and have connections with the school. Both on- and off-duty border patrol personnel arrived at the scene to transfer students to safety, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said.

Seventeen more people were injured, Abbott said Wednesday. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

University Hospital in San Antonio said that a 66-year-old woman and a 10-year-old girl listed in critical condition Tuesday were in serious condition Wednesday. A 10-year-old girl remains in good condition, and a 9-year-old girl previously listed in fair condition is now in good condition. The children’s families are with them, according to the hospital.

Uvalde Memorial Hospital received 14 patients, 11 of whom were described as children ages 8 to 10, CEO Tom Nordwick said Tuesday evening. Four have been released, and two, a male and a female, were dead on arrival, Nordwick said.

Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston said that two adults listed in critical condition Tuesday were in serious condition Wednesday.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the patients, families and the community of Uvalde,” the facility said in a tweet.

The bodies of those killed have been removed from the school, Olivarez said Wednesday. All of their families have been notified.

Motive remains unclear

The gunman shot his grandmother, who was hospitalized in critical condition, before he drove toward the school.

The shooter legally owned two AR-15 style long rifles, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 and a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7. He left one behind and brought the other into the school.

He also was wearing at least a tactical vest, but it’s unclear if he was wearing body armor, Olivarez told MSNBC. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is working with investigators, who are trying to obtain video from inside the school.

The shooter had no adult criminal history and investigators are having trouble finding any trace of friends, Olivarez added. He purchased the rifles shortly after his birthday, officials said.

He had attended high school in the close-knit community, about 85 miles west of San Antonio. Abbott said investigators believe the shooter was a high school dropout.

Juan Alvarez, 62, who has been in a relationship with the shooter’s mother for about a year and lives with her, said Ramos left the home about two months ago after he and his mom had an intense argument after she disconnected the Wi-Fi. The two would often fight, he said.

“He was kind of a weird one. I never got along with him. I never socialized with him. He doesn’t talk to nobody,” Alvarez said. “When you try to talk to him he’d just sit there and walk away.”

An overwhelming number of school shooters — 80 percent — display warning signs ahead of their attacks, such as discussing them online or in-person, according to Jillian Peterson, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Hamline University.

“The most common is they tell their classmates,” said Peterson, who has studied hundreds of mass shooters. “We’ve studied school shootings where 50 students knew the perpetrator was thinking about it.”

“We tend to think of these perpetrators as monsters, these outside, evil, awful people, who do these horrific things, and of course, what they’re doing is monstrous. But we don’t think of them as insiders — that they are our classmates, our neighbors, our friends, our kids,” Peterson said. “It’s hard to imagine that the person sitting in front of you does this.”

The shooter’s grandfather told ABC News he had no idea his grandson had purchased rifles or that they were in his house.

Because the grandfather, 72-year-old Rolando Reyes, is a felon, he cannot live in a house with firearms, according to the news outlet. If he had known, Reyes would have turned his grandson in, he told ABC News.

Third grader, 5 fourth graders, 2 teachers among victims

Eva Mireles, who taught fourth grade, had been an educator for 17 years, according to her profile at Robb Elementary. Mireles was “trying to protect her students” from the gunman, a relative told The New York Times.

Mireles’ co-teacher, Irma Garcia, was killed, according to her son, Christian Garcia. Irma Garcia taught at the school for 23 years, according to her school profile.

Five fourth graders were also among the dead, relatives confirmed to news outlets.

The uncle of Alithia Ramirez, a fourth grade student, confirmed her death to NBC News.

Uziyah Garcia was identified by his aunt, Nikki Cross, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

Xavier Lopez, 10, had been at an awards ceremony with his mother hours before the shooting, KSAT reported.

The father of Amerie Jo Garza identified her to NBC News as one of the victims. She was about to finish fourth grade, according to KSAT.

Amerie Jo was shot dialing 911 in an effort to help her classmates, her grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola, told The Daily Beast.

Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, a third grade student was killed, family members told KHOU of Houston.

Christopher Salazar confirmed to The Washington Post his nephew, Jose Flores Jr., 10, was also killed. He was a fourth grader at Robb Elementary School who loved to play baseball, according to Salazar.

Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10, was confirmed dead, her grandfather, Adolfo Cruz, told ABC News. It was not clear if she was a fourth grade student, too.

“I’m going to miss you baby Jose, i still can’t believe this happened my heart is broken just hearing them tell us your gone,” Salazar wrote in a Facebook post.

The other children who were killed were not immediately identified.

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