'My son was not violent' insists mother of Texas gunman who killed 21 at school

25 May 2022, 20:32 | Updated: 26 May 2022, 11:11

The shooter's mother insisted he was not violent
The shooter's mother insisted he was not violent. Picture: Alamy/Facebook/Getty

By Will Taylor and Sophie Barnett

The mother of a gunman who shot and killed 19 children and two teachers in a primary school shooting in Texas said she did not think of him as a violent person.

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Salvador Ramos, 18, was shot dead by police after he "horrifically and incomprehensibly" killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde on Tuesday afternoon.

Nineteen children and two teachers were among those killed, with six people still fighting for their lives in hospital.

Speaking to MailOnline from San Antonio, Adriana Reyes said: "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 had no part in this."

Her mother, Celia Gonzalez, had been shot by Ramos before he launched his spree. She is receiving care in hospital for a wound to the face, and while she cannot smile she is aware her daughter is there. The prognosis is unknown.

Ms Reyes went on: "I had a good relationship with him. He kept to himself, he didn't have many friends."

Read more: Heroic girl, 10, 'shot dead calling 911' as Texas gunman kills 21 in school massacre

She said she last spoke to him on his birthday on Monday, and had a card and a Snoopy stuffed animal to give to him.

Ramos' grandfather, Rolando Reyes, 72, who he lived with, said his grandson's actions "still haven't sunk in".

Speaking to ABC News, he said he and his wife Celia were not aware their grandson had bought the guns - the morning after Mrs Martinez took him for dinner to Applebee's to celebrate his birthday.

"I didn't know he had weapons. If I'd have known, I would have reported it," Mr Reyes said.

Children were killed at a school in Texas
Children were killed at a school in Texas. Picture: Getty

The 72-year-old has a past felony conviction and therefore it is illegal for him to be in a home with firearms.

The suspect, who classmates said dropped out of school because he was bullied, had been living with his grandparents after having a falling out with his mother.

He slept on a mattress on the floor, his grandfather said.

Read more: Teacher gunned down in Texas school shooting 'sacrificed herself to save pupils'

Mr Reyes said the suspect had a minor argument with his grandmother over the payment of a phone bill, but nothing significant.

He said there were no signs the morning of the shooting that anything unusual was going to happen.

Mr Reyes - who was out at the time of the shooting - was alerted by his neighbour.

Ramon killed 21 people in a spree in Texas
Ramon killed 21 people in a spree in Texas. Picture: Alamy

"The neighbour called me and said she'd been shot," he said. "When I came over here he said he'd taken off. It still hasn't sunk in."

The shooter's grandfather also said he was quiet, but would sometimes go to work with him. He would refuse to go to school, because "kids nowadays, they think they know everything".

"Sometimes I'd take him to work with me. Not all the time, but sometimes," Mr Reyes said.

"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 tragedy has got emotions running high and reignited the US debate about gun control.

President Joe Biden called for new gun measures and, when addressing the loss of life, said: “I hoped when I became president I would not have to do this again.”

In Texas, the Democrats’ candidate for governor interrupted a press conference about the shooting to accost Republican incumbent Greg Abbott.

Beto O’Rourke accused his opponent of failing to act on gun crime as he was told to leave the briefing.