May 25 Texas shooting news

By Travis Caldwell, Seán Federico-O'Murchú, Adrienne Vogt, Aditi Sangal, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 7:04 p.m. ET, May 26, 2022
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4:23 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Uvalde shooter sent chilling messages to a girl he'd met online about his imminent attack

From CNN's Isabelle Chapman and Daniel A. Medina

Minutes before his deadly assault in Uvalde, Texas, the shooter, Salvador Ramos, allegedly sent a series of chilling text messages to a girl he met online, describing how he had just shot his grandmother and was going to “shoot up a(n) elementary school.”

According to screenshots reviewed by CNN and an interview with the teenage girl, who said she had been in contact with the gunman for weeks, Ramos complained about his grandmother being “on the phone with AT&T abojt (sic) my phone.” 

“It’s annoying,” he texted.

Six minutes later, he texted: “I just shot my grandma in her head.”

Seconds later, he said, “Ima go shoot up a(n) elementary school rn (right now).”

It was sent at 6:21 p.m. Central European time (CET), which was 11:21 a.m. Central time (CT) in Texas. It was his last message to the girl.

The 15-year-old girl, who lives in Frankfurt, Germany, said she began chatting with Ramos on a social media app on May 9. Ramos sent the girl selfie videos and discussed a plan to go visit her in Europe, according to videos and text messages. 

In one message, he sent her a screenshot of a Google flight itinerary from nearby San Antonio. “I’m coming over soon,” he wrote.

She said Ramos told her on Monday that he received a package of ammunition.

She said he told her that the bullets would expand when they struck somebody.

At some point, the girl asked what he planned to do. She said he told her it was a surprise and to “just wait for it.”

On Tuesday, at 11:01 a.m. CT, Ramos called and told her he loved her, she said. Then, about 20 minutes later, at 11:21 a.m. CT, he texted her that he had shot his grandmother.

The girl, whose mother gave permission for her to be interviewed, said she spoke daily on FaceTime with Ramos. She said she also communicated with him via a social livestreaming app called Yubo and played games with him on a gaming app named Plato. In their conversations, she said he asked about her life in Germany. “He looked happy and comfortable talking to me,” the girl said. She said he told her that he spent a lot of time alone at home. 

There were other text messages, however, that alarmed her. In one case, she said, he told her that he “threw dead cats at people’s houses.”

She said she got the impression that he kept to himself.

“Every time I talked to him,” she said, “he never had plans with his friends.”

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the amount of time between Ramos' text messages.

3:15 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Uvalde superintendent says 2 teachers killed in shooting were "cornerstone" of the school

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch 

Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell said “our faith has been shaken” after the deadly shooting at Robb Elementary School in the Texas town.

Harrell said the staff at the school were heroes.

“Yesterday we lost two teachers. These two teachers, I would say, are the cornerstone of that campus to some great degree. They are two beautiful souls. They had taught on that campus for many years and they poured their heart and soul into what they did – educating our kids in Uvalde,” he said.

Harrell also spoke about the students who were killed.

“Nineteen students. Nineteen precious students who came to school yesterday to enjoy the day, to the enjoy the awards ceremony. As I look at their pictures, you can tell by their angelic smiles that they were loved and that they loved coming to school,” he said.

“We are hurting. We have been cut deep here in our community,” he added. 

2:43 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Snapchat suspends account associated with Uvalde school shooter

From CNN’s Brian Fung

Snapchat has suspended an account associated with the Uvalde school shooter, a Snap spokesperson told CNN. 

The account may no longer be used or accessed, the spokesperson said.

"We are investigating an account that may have been associated with the suspect and we are in active contact with law enforcement authorities to support their investigation," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Asked whether the account had raised any prior red flags, the company declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

3:27 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

FBI Director Wray says FBI feels the "heartbreak" of the Uvalde community after shooting

From CNN's Tierney Sneed

(Ting Shen/AFP/Getty Images)
(Ting Shen/AFP/Getty Images)

FBI Director Chris Wray said Tuesday that the Bureau was “heartbroken” by Tuesday's massacre at an elementary school in Texas, as he told lawmakers in Senate testimony that the FBI was “committed to doing our part to support our partners in the investigation and the community of Uvalde as we began to try to move forward.” 

“Yesterday, we got the news that we all dread, including those of us in law enforcement. We do this work for the victims — both actual victims and the victims we’re trying to prevent from being victims,” Wray said. “And there's no category of victims that more motivates the men and women of law enforcement — including the men and women of the FBI — than children.” 

 Wray is testifying in a previously scheduled Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the FBI’s budget. He kicked off his opening statement by addressing the shooting, which left 19 children and two adults dead.  

“Parents got calls yesterday that are too devastating to even fathom and a community really, a whole nation was shaken by another horrific mass shooting — this time once again in an elementary school full of young kids just days, days away from finishing their school year and my heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the entire community of Uvalde,” Wray said. “I know that you're experiencing unimaginable pain and trauma, and the entire FBI family feels your heartbreak and stands with you."

3:11 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Gunman shared his plans on Facebook before the shooting, governor says. Company says messages were private


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that prior to the Uvalde elementary school shooting, the gunman shared his plans on Facebook about 30 minutes before reaching the school.

Abbott said in the first message, he wrote: "I'm going to shoot my grandmother."

The gunman later said: "I shot my grandmother" and "I'm going to shoot an elementary school," according to Abbott who described the messages as posts.

A spokesperson for Meta, formerly known as Facebook, said Wednesday the messages written by the shooter were “private one-to-one text messages,” contrary to Abbott’s assertion the gunman made the posts on Facebook.

“The messages Gov. Abbott described were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred. We are closely cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a Twitter post.

CNN is reaching out to Facebook and Abbott’s office for additional clarification.

2:20 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Gunman's grandmother "is in critical condition but she's still alive," Texas official says

The gunman shot his 66-year-old grandmother before heading to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in her car, according to Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The grandmother "reported him to the police department, when she was able to run across the street to a neighbor and get help," McCraw said at a news conference Wednesday. "She was medevaced to San Antonio in critical condition at this point but she's still alive."

The shooter used his grandmother's vehicle "to drive approximately 0.29 miles, which is a block and a half away from Robb Elementary School," McCraw continued.

"He crashed the vehicle at that point in time. He exited with a backpack, took a rifle with him" and went to the west side of the campus, which is a backdoor, he added.

7:04 p.m. ET, May 26, 2022

Official describes the guns and ammunition purchased by the Uvalde school shooter

Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, detailed how the gunman responsible for the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School obtained his guns and ammunition, at a news conference Tuesday.

The 18-year-old, identified as Salvador Ramos by officials, was a dropout of the Uvalde High School and authorities have not found a criminal history so far, McCraw said, adding that the gunman lived with his 66-year-old grandmother.

The official said Ramos purchased a semiautomatic rifle at a local sporting goods store and 375 rounds of ammunition for that rifle. Then, he purchased another semiautomatic rifle at this same local store, McCraw said.

McCraw had said the gunman purchased the ammunition and rifles in March, but according to state Sen. John Whitmire, who received a briefing from law enforcement Tuesday night, Ramos legally purchased two AR platform rifles at a local federal firearms licensee on May 17 and May 20.

He also purchased 375 rounds of ammunition on May 18, Whitmire said, citing law enforcement.

State Sen. Ronald Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde, said the purchases were made for the suspect's 18th birthday.

Update: The post has been updated with CNN's latest reporting about when the gunman purchased the gun and ammunition.

2:41 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Beto O'Rourke interrupts Texas governor's news conference

From CNN's Amanda Musa, Ashley Killough and Brian Rokus

(Veronica G. Cardenas/Reuters)
(Veronica G. Cardenas/Reuters)

Texas Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke interrupted a news conference where Gov. Greg Abbott and other officials were providing updates on the Uvalde elementary school shooting.

He approached the stage where Abbott was speaking. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, among other officials and lawmakers, were in attendance.

“The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing,” O’Rourke told Abbott.

Cruz told O'Rourke to "sit down," and Lt. Gov Dan Patrick added, “you’re out of line.”

O'Rourke could be heard saying, "this is totally predictable," and then was told that he needed to leave while being shouted down by officials on stage.

Abbott didn’t engage and barely looked at O'Rourke, but Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin shouted at O’Rourke: “You’re a sick son of a b**ch that would come to a deal like this.”

O'Rourke was led away by officers.

As he walked out of the room, O'Rourke told Abbott, “This is on you, until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed, just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.”

Abbott then said the outburst was about an "agenda."

"There are family members who are crying as we speak, there are family members whose hearts are broken, there is no words that anybody shouting can come up here and do anything to heal those broken hearts. We all, every Texan, every American has the responsibility. We need to focus not on ourselves and our agendas," he said.

Speaking to reporters after he left the news conference, O’Rourke said of Abbott, “He said he was going to do something. He did nothing. In fact, the only thing he did was make it easier to carry a gun in public.”

“His only interest is the gun lobby. He’s scheduled to speak at the NRA convention this Friday in Houston, Texas, just days after these kids were slaughtered right here in Uvalde, after they were slaughtered at Santa Fe High School, at Sutherland Springs, In Midland-Odessa, in El Paso, Texas. Five of the worst mass hosting in US history, right here in this state in the last five years, he was governor for every single one of them,” O’Rourke continued.

Less than an hour before O’Rourke interrupted the news conference, he sent an email to his supporters where he said the Uvalde shooting is a “direct consequence” of “choices made by Greg Abbott.”

“These massacres are not natural disasters, acts of God, or random. They are totally predictable, direct consequences of the choices made by Greg Abbott and the majority of those in the Texas legislature,” he wrote.

2:24 p.m. ET, May 25, 2022

Texas governor pins blame for shooting on mental health

(Marco Bello/Reuters)
(Marco Bello/Reuters)

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott placed the blame for the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 kids and two teachers on mental health issues.

"Before coming out here, we had a long discussion with law enforcement at all levels ... and I asked the sheriff and others an open-ended question and got the same answer from the sheriff as well as from the mayor of Uvalde. The question was, what is the problem here? And they were straightforward and emphatic. They said ... 'we have a problem with mental health illness in this community.' And then they elaborated on the magnitude of the mental health challenges that they are facing in the community and the need for more mental health support in this region," Abbott said.

Just prior to these remarks, Abbott said the gunman used an AR-15 to carry out the shooting and had no known mental health history.

The governor also said that mental health services and counseling is available for the community affected by the shooting.

When later asked by a reporter about an 18-year-old's ability to purchase firearms, Abbott doubled-down and said it's a "mental health challenge" whenever someone uses a gun to shoot someone else.

"So the ability of an 18-year-old to buy a long gun has been in place in the state of Texas for more than 60 years, and think about during the time over the course of that 60 years, we have not had episodes like this, and why is it that for the majority of those 60 years we did not have school shootings and why is it that we do now?" the governor said.

"What I do know in talking to the leaders here as well as leaders in other locations around the state and that is the one thing that has substantially changed is the status of mental health in our communities. What I do know is this, and that is we as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health. Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it," he said.

Abbott also compared Texas's gun laws with those in cities like Chicago and New York.

"There are, quote, real gun laws in Chicago. There are, quote, real gun laws in New York. There are 'real' gun laws in California. I hate to say this, but there are more people who were shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas," he claimed. "And we need to realize that people who think that 'maybe if we could just implement tougher gun laws, it's going to solve it.' Chicago and LA and New York disprove that thesis. And so if you're looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you're talking about is not a real solution. Our job is to come up with real solutions that we can implement."