The 18-year-old gunman behind the Tuesday shooting at a Texas elementary school sent disturbing messages to a female stranger before carrying out the massacre.
“I’m about to,” Salvador Ramos messaged the user behind the Instagram handle @epnupues before heading to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where he would kill at least 19 children and two adults and wound several others, the New York Post reported.
Instagram took down what is believed to be Ramos’ handle @sal8dor_ after Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott identified him as the gunman behind the shooting.
Ramos used firearms he bought in May after turning 18 to carry out the school shooting. Before heading to the school, he had “shot and critically wounded” his grandmother, according to the Washington Post.
Before Instagram took down his Instagram account, Ramos’ handle @sal8dor_ featured a single grid post consisting of three images: a mirror selfie of Ramos wearing a sweatshirt, a close-up of his face and a picture of someone with a gun magazine on their lap, the New York Post reported.
Ramos had also published a picture of two rifles lying side by side on his Instagram Stories, tagging a user named @epnupues and messaging her, “got a lil secret.”
The message’s recipient @epnupues told the New York Post that Ramos was a stranger to her when he sent her the message and that she did not even live in Texas.
When @epnupues asked Ramos why he had sent her the picture of the rifles, Ramos replied on May 12, “You gonna repost my gun pics.”
“what your guns gotta do with me,” the girl asked Friday.
“Just wanted to tag you,” he answered.
“I’m about to,” @salv8dor_ later messaged the girl at around 5:43 a.m. Tuesday. When the girl asked him “about to what,” the boy answered, “I’ll tell you before 11.”
“I got a lil secret I wanna tell u,” he wrote to her, not telling her what the secret was. “Ima air out,” was Ramos’ last message to @epnupues at around 9:16 a.m.
Robb Elementary School was put on lockdown two and a half hours after Ramos’ last message to @epnupues after gunshots were heard. Around thirty minutes after the school was put on lockdown, officials confirmed there was an active shooter in the area, the outlet reported.
Ramos’ friends and relatives described him as a lonely 18-year-old with a troubled home life who suffered from bullying over a speech impediment he had during his childhood, the Washington Post reported.
Ramos’ childhood friend Santos Valdez Jr, who knew him from elementary school and was friends with him until Ramos’ behavior took a turn for the worse, told the Washington Post that one time, Ramos came to a park where they used to play basketball with cuts all over his face.
When questioned, Ramos said a cat scratched his face.
“Then he told me the truth, that he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over,” Valdez told the Washington Post. “I was like, ‘You’re crazy, bro, why would you do that?’”
Valdez told the outlet that Ramos had said to him that he did so for fun. The 18-year-old also told the outlet that Ramos and another boy used to drive around with a BB gun and fire at people at night and hurl eggs on people’s vehicles.
“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,” a former co-worker told The Daily Beast.
“At the park, there’d be videos of him trying to fight people with boxing gloves. He’d take them around with him,” the co-worker said.
For Ramos home was no sanctuary. Neighbors told the Washington Post that Ramos’ mother used drugs and she and he would have fights with each other often. Eventually, Ramos moved to his grandmother’s house.