The gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, wrote a message on Facebook saying he was going to shoot his grandmother and another one confirming he had done so, Abbott said at a news conference. His grandmother, whom Ramos shot in the face shortly before attacking the school, survived and called police.
Ramos fled the home he shared with his grandmother and crashed his car near Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. He entered the school through a back door carrying an AR-15 assault-style rifle and wearing tactical gear.
He barricaded himself in a fourth-grade classroom, authorities said, and killed students and teachers before he was fatally shot by a US Border Patrol officer, Abbott said. An additional 17 people suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Abbott also claimed the gunman posted on social media that he was going to shoot up an elementary school about 15 minutes before his rampage.
He said the posts were made on Facebook, but spokespeople for Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms, said they were private messages discovered after the shooting.
The company declined to say who received the messages or which of Meta’s platforms, such as Messenger or Instagram, was used to send them.
The online messages were the only advance warning, Abbott said, adding that Ramos, a high school dropout, did not appear to have any criminal record or history of mental health problems.
Ramos purchased two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition in March, according to authorities.
The attack, which came 10 days after an avowed white supremacist shot 13 people at a supermarket in a mostly black neighbourhood of Buffalo, has reignited a national debate over US gun laws.
In a sign of the charged political atmosphere, Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging Abbott in a November election, interrupted the news conference to confront Abbott for loosening, rather than restricting, the state’s gun laws.
Texas has some of the country’s most permissive firearm laws.
In a prime-time address on Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden called for new gun control measures.
But new legislation appeared unlikely to pass in Washington. Virtually all Republicans in Congress oppose new gun restrictions and there was no sign the massacre would alter that position.
Local News Matters
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