Texas gunman left home after fight with mom about Wi-Fi, mother's boyfriend says

·4 min read

UVALDE, Texas — The man who opened fire in a Texas elementary school Tuesday, massacring 19 children and two adults, was a loner who kept to himself and avoided any kind of conversation, according to the boyfriend of the gunman’s mother.

The shooter, identified by multiple law enforcement sources as Salvador Rolando Ramos, indiscriminately opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, about 80 miles from San Antonio. He was killed by an off-duty agent with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol Tactical Unit and two law enforcement officers, law enforcement sources said.

Juan Alvarez, 62, who has been in a relationship with Ramos’ mother for about a year and lives with her, said Ramos had a tumultuous relationship with his mother, which often included fights.

Alvarez said Ramos left his mother’s home two months ago to live with his grandmother after he got into an intense argument with his mother after he disconnected the Wi-Fi.

Juan Alvarez, 62, at the home he shares with Ramos’ mother in Uvalde, Texas. (Deon Hampton / NBC News)
Juan Alvarez, 62, at the home he shares with Ramos’ mother in Uvalde, Texas. (Deon Hampton / NBC News)

He added that Ramos would shut down and leave whenever he tried to initiate a conversation.

“He was kind of a weird one. I never got along with him. I never socialized with him. He doesn’t talk to nobody,” he said. “When you try to talk to him he’d just sit there and walk away.”

Alvarez said that Ramos had been acting aloof for a while but that he was "shocked" to learn that he was the gunman in Tuesday's shooting.

“It’s wrong, man, it’s pretty bad. I feel sorry for the kids that died,” Alvarez said.

Ramos’ mother, Adriana Reyes, also said she didn’t see the shooting coming.

Reyes was in San Antonio on Wednesday visiting her mother, who was hospitalized in critical condition after she was shot before Ramos went to the school.

“I’m very upset about everything,” Reyes, 39, said by phone. “A lot of stuff has happened, but right now, I don’t feel good.”

Rolando Reyes, Ramos’ grandfather, who lived in the home with Ramos and his grandmother, said he didn’t know his grandson had guns in the house, according to an interview conducted in Spanish with The Associated Press.

The FBI was investigating the home Wednesday while Reyes waited outside, the AP reported.

Reyes said that he spoke to his grandson daily and that he “didn’t expect this” from Ramos, the AP reported.

But Becky Flores, 54, who lives next door to Ramos’ mother and was Ramos’ Head Start teacher, described frequent tumult at the home.

Flores said there were many disturbances, one of them two months ago, when eight police officers arrived the day Ramos left to stay with his grandmother.

But, she said, none of it hinted at the violence that unfolded Tuesday.

“I don’t know what made him do this,” Flores said.

A woman who identified herself as the gunman's aunt told NBC News that “misconceptions” have been spread about him.

"Nobody knew him. Nobody was there with him. I lived with him in the home, like, nobody knew what he was going through, like nobody," said Shelby, who didn't provide her last name. "Everybody has their own perspective of everything going on, but no one knows what everybody holds. Everybody holds things inside. People go through things nobody understands."

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that the gunman had no known mental health history.

Abbott said “there was no meaningful forewarning of this crime” other than three messages on Facebook.

The first, posted 30 minutes before the gunman reached the school, was about intending to shoot his grandmother, Abbott said. The second said he had shot his grandmother. The third was about intending to shoot an elementary school. The final post was made less than 15 minutes after the gunman arrived at the school.

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, Facebook's parent company, said the messages were private one-to-one text messages that were found after the shooting.

Some who knew Ramos said his behavior had become increasingly concerning.

Salvador Ramos’ mother’s home in Uvalde, Texas. (Deon Hampton / NBC News)
Salvador Ramos’ mother’s home in Uvalde, Texas. (Deon Hampton / NBC News)

Santos Valdez Jr., 18, told The Washington Post that the two had been friends since elementary school until Ramos' behavior changed.

Valdez told the newspaper that Ramos would sometimes drive around with another friend, shooting at random people with his BB gun and egging people’s cars.

Ramos once met him at a park where they often played basketball with cuts all over his face, initially blaming the injuries on a cat, Valdez said, according to The Post.

“Then he told me the truth, that he’d cut up his face with knives over and over and over," Valdez told the newspaper. “I was like, ‘You’re crazy, bro, why would you do that?’”

Valdez said Ramos replied that he did it for fun, The Post reported.

Hampton reported from Uvalde and Ali from Chicago.

CORRECTION (May 26, 2022, 4:57 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated who disconnected the Wi-Fi. It was the gunman, not his mother.