Warning signs were reportedly mounting in the months before the 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde, Texas, opened fire on a classroom of young children and their teachers four days ago in what would become America’s deadliest school shooting in a decade.
The teenager had used the social media app Yubo to threaten school shootings and rape, as well as to show off a rifle he had bought, CNN reported on Saturday.
And Keanna Baxter, 17, told told the San Antonio Express-News that she’d learned how he could be unpredictable from a friend who had dated him.
“He was overall just aggressive, like violent,” Baxter told the outlet. “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.”
She did not give any details about physical altercations or other evidence of violence. But her friend, she said, had told her he was “scary” and “when 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.”
Salvador Ramos was shot dead by federal agents storming the classroom in which he had barricaded himself and killed 21 people last Tuesday, after he’d entered Robb elementary school in the small southern Texas city armed with an assault rifle.
The victims included 19 children and two teachers shot dead and 17 others injured. He had earlier shot his grandmother and left her in critical condition.
Ramos’s parents have given brief interviews but little insight into the mindset or any behavioral problems of the 18-year-old before the mass shooting.
Another schoolmate, Crystal Foutz, said Ramos had threatened to harm her in comments on Instagram. “It was just harassing. And I never, like, provoked him or anything like that. He was aggressive for no reason … I just blocked him,” she told the San Antonio outlet.
Ramos worked at a Wendy’s burger restaurant in Uvalde, according to the New York Times. The night manager there told the paper that he kept to himself.
The portrait painted by the gunman’s schoolmates includes descriptions of him showing up at a park with cuts on his face that he said he’d made “just for fun” as well as rumors of a video of him holding up a dead cat on the passenger seat of his car.
Texas law enforcement officials have said Ramos asked his sister in September when he could buy a gun in Texas. In March this year, Ramos was chatting on Instagram about wanting to make the purchase.
Two weeks later, he posted on Instagram: “10 more days.”
Someone replied, “Are you gonna shoot up a school or something?”
“No. Stop asking dumb questions,” Ramos said. “You’ll see.”
Ramos legally purchased two military-style assault rifles from a federally licensed gun store earlier this month, one a day after his 18th birthday and one week before he entered Robb elementary school with one weapon, 58 magazines and 1,657 rounds of ammunition.