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Texas school shooter's mum says he was not 'a violent person'

"I had a good relationship with him. He kept to himself; he didn't have many friends"

Texas school shooter Salvador Ramos and his mother Adriana Reyes

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

The mother of the Texas teen killer who shot dead 19 children and two teachers has said she was “surprised” her son Salvador Ramos had been behind the horrific massacre as he “wasn't a violent person”.

Adriana Reyes acknowledged that son was a loner who “kept to himself and didn't have many friends” but rejected claims that she did not have a good relationship with him.

However, she did not address claims she was a drug addict and that her son had left to and go to live with his grandmother Celia Gonzalez who he later shot before he embarked on his murderous rampage at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

Ramos (18) from Uvalde, has been identified as the shooter. He was described as a bullied loner who slowly dropped out of school due to teasing about his lisp, habit of wearing eyeliner, his clothes and his family's poverty.

Adriana Reyes and her son Salvador Ramos

Speaking from the bedside of Gonzalez (66) who is recovering from being blasted in the face by her grandson, Reyes told the Daily Mail: “My son wasn't a violent person. I'm surprised by what he did.

“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 added about her son: “I had a good relationship with him. He kept to himself; he didn't have many friends.”

Ramos is believed to have gone to live with his grandparents after rowing with his mother about cutting the WiFi at their home.

The boy's grandfather Rolando Reyes told how the family were kept in the dark about the two lethal weapons he bought.

Ramos had bought two AR-15 assault rifles, bragged about them on social media and suggested he would commit an atrocity before the deadly attack.

Rolando told ABC News: “I didn't know he had weapons. If I'd have known, I would have reported it.”

The shooter's grandfather also revealed he was quiet and would sometimes go to work with him.

He said: “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."

The teen did not live with his mother because they had “problems”, the grandfather added.

On Tuesday morning, Ramos shot and wounded his grandmother at her home, then left. Neighbours called police when she staggered outside and saw she had been shot in the face, Department of Public Safety spokesperson Travis Considine said.

Ramos then crashed his truck through a railing on the school grounds, and an Uvalde school district officer exchanged fire with him and was wounded, Considine said.

Diego Esquivel, left, and Linda Klaasson comfort each other as they gather to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Ramos went inside and exchanged more gunfire with two arriving Uvalde police officers, who were still outside, Considine added. Those officers were also wounded.

Dillon Silva, whose nephew was in a nearby classroom, said students were watching the Disney movie 'Moana' when they heard several loud pops and a bullet shattered a window. Moments later, their teacher saw the attacker stride past the door.

“Oh, my God, he has a gun!” the teacher shouted twice, according to Silva. “The teacher didn´t even have time to lock the door,” he said.

Lt Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told CNN that all of those killed were in the same fourth-grade classroom.

The killer "barricaded himself by locking the door and just started shooting children and teachers that were inside that classroom," Olivarez said. 'It just shows you the complete evil of the shooter.'"

A woman reacts during a vigil a day after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers

A tactical team forced its way into the classroom where the attacker was holed up and was met with gunfire from Ramos but shot and killed him, according to Olivarez.

Officers found one of the rifles in Ramos´ truck, the other in the school, according to the briefing given to lawmakers. Ramos was wearing a tactical vest, but it had no hardened body-armour plates inside, lawmakers were told.

He also dropped a backpack containing several magazines full of ammunition near the school entrance.

One of the guns was purchased at a federally licensed dealer in the Uvalde area on May 17, according to state Sen. John Whitmire, who was briefed by investigators. Ramos bought 375 rounds of ammunition the next day, then purchased the second rifle last Friday.

In the aftermath, families in Uvalde waited hours for word on their children. At the town civic centre where some gathered on Tuesday night, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wails.

Uvalde County Sheriff Ruben Nolasco embraces Texas Governor Greg Abbott as they attend a vigil a day after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School, at Uvalde County Fairplex Arena, in Uvalde, Texas, U.S. May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello

"No! Please, no!" one man yelled as he embraced another man. On Wednesday morning, volunteers were seen arriving with Bibles and therapy dogs.

Three children and an adult were being treated at a San Antonio hospital, where two of them - a 66-year-old woman and 10-year-old girl - were listed in serious condition.

Uvalde, home to about 16,000 people, is about 120 kilometres from the Mexican border. Robb Elementary, which has nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades, is a single-story brick structure in a mostly residential neighbourhood 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.

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