The 18-year-old who massacred 19 children and two adults Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, displayed a pattern of disturbing behaviors before carrying out the mass killing.
Friends and family described gunman Salvador Rolando Ramos as someone from a dysfunctional home who suffered from childhood bullying that scarred him for the rest of his life as he descended a dark spiral of violence and aggressiveness over the years.
“He was the nicest kid, the most shyest kid. He just needed to break out of his shell,” Stephen Garcia, who described himself as Ramos’ best friend in the eighth grade, told The Washington Post.
According to friends and family, schoolmates in middle school and junior high would mock Ramos’ stutter and lisp.
Ramos’ cousin Mia told the Post that she had seen for herself people bullying him for his speech impediment when they had attended middle school together in the town of 15,000 residents, where nearly one-third of people live below the poverty line, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
“He wasn’t very much of a social person after being bullied for the stutter,” said Mia, who asked that her not name be used in the report. “I think he just didn’t feel comfortable anymore at school.”
“He would get bullied hard, like bullied by a lot of people,” Garcia told the Post. “Over social media, over gaming, over everything.”
During his time as Ramos’ friend, Garcia said, he would stick up for him.
But things started to take a turn for the worse after Garcia’s family moved to another part of the state, he said.
Garcia told the Post that Ramos “just started being a different person” who “kept getting worse and worse, and I don’t even know.”
He said this “different” Ramos had dropped out of school, let his hair grow long and began to wear all black and big military boots. Classmates told the Post that Ramos would not attend classes for long periods in high school.
A young woman who worked with Ramos at Wendy’s until March told The Daily Beast that although he appeared “quiet” to several others, she noticed aggressive tendencies in him.
“He would be very rude towards the girls sometimes, and one of the cooks, threatening them by asking, ‘Do you know who I am?’ And he would also send inappropriate texts to the ladies,” the co-worker told the outlet on the condition of anonymity.
“At the park, there’d be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He’d take them around with him,” she said, according to the outlet.
Home was not a safe space for the 18-year-old, according to reports.
Ramos had regular fights with his mother, who suffered from drug issues, according to the Daily Mail. These fights would sometimes escalate to the point where the police were called, 41-year-old neighbor Ruben Flores said.
Portrait of a killer: ‘Bullied’ Texas school gunman’s chilling online profile revealed https://t.co/eYdRN4IP8Z
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) May 25, 2022
Ramos would sometimes leave his home and live with his grandparents, the outlet reported.
“He posted videos on his Instagram where the cops were there and he’d call his mom a b—- and say she wanted to kick him out,” classmate Nadia Reyes told the Post. “He’d be screaming and talking to his mom really aggressively.”
One of the people to know Ramos for a more extended period was childhood friend Santos Valdez Jr., who said he stopped being friends with Ramos after his behavior declined, the Post reported. The duo used to play the videogames “Fortnite” and “Call of Duty” together, according to the outlet.
However, Ramos began to exhibit strange behaviors, such as once coming to a park with cuts on his face.
When Valdez questioned him about the cuts, Ramos first claimed they were scratches from a cat, only to eventually say that “he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over,” Valdez said, according to the Post.
“I was like, ‘You’re crazy, bro, why would you do that?’” he said.
Ramos replied that he did it for fun, Valdez said.
He also said Ramos and another boy would ride around in a car firing BB guns at people at night and egging people’s homes.
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