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The father of the Texas school shooter has said he is ‘sorry’ for the massacre in which his son killed 21 people including 19 young children, saying the boy ‘should have just killed me’ instead.
Salvador Ramos Sr, 42, said he ‘never expected’ his youngest child – who was also called Salvador – to go on a killing spree, describing him as ‘a good person’ who ‘stuck to himself.’
But he admitted having a distant and difficult relationship with Salvador Jr – who was shot dead by police – and that his own mother believes the 18-year-old would have shot him if he could because ‘he would always say I didn’t love him.’
‘I don’t want them calling him a monster… they don’t know nothing, man,’ he said. ‘They don’t know anything he was going through.’
Salvador Ramos Jr, 18, shot and killed 21 people including 19 young children during America’s latest mass shooting in Texas on Tuesday
Ramos had purchased two rifles for himself as an 18th birthday present just days before the killings, despite his family insisting he wasn’t a violent person
Ramos Sr spoke to the Daily Beast two days after his son burst into Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde, southern Texas, armed with a legally-purchased AR-15 style rifle and opened fire on a fourth-grade class and their teachers.
Before attacking the school, Ramos Jr had shot his 66-year-old grandmother Celia Gonzalez – from his mother’s side of the family – in the face during an argument.
He spent more than an hour holed up inside the school along with the terrified youngsters and their dead classmates, before a Border Patrol unit stormed in and shot him dead.
Ramos Sr painted a picture of his son as a quiet boy who was not naturally inclined to violence, but who grew angrier as he got older.
He backed an account given by one of Ramos Jr’s co-workers that he recently bought a pair of boxing gloves and would carry them around a nearby park, asking people to fight him while filming it.
‘I said, “Mijo, one day somebody’s going to kick your ass,”‘ the father recalled. ‘I started seeing different changes in him like that.’
Ramos, who lives outside of Uvalde where he works digging holes around utility poles for inspection, admits he hadn’t seen his son much in recent years.
He blamed the distance on the fact that his own mother is suffering from cancer, meaning he has been isolating himself with her due to Covid. He said Ramos Jr grew frustrated with the restrictions a month ago, and stopped talking to him.
Adriana Reyes, Ramos’s mother (left), said she was ‘surprised’ he carried out the killings after shooting grandmother Celia Gomez (right) in the face
Friends say Ramos’s descent into violence began earlier than his family knew, and included cutting himself as a teenager (pictured during the rampage)
But that picture is undercut by the fact that Ramos Sr also has a daughter, from whom he is also estranged. She no longer lives at home, having left to join the Navy.
And he has convictions, including one for violent assault of a family member.
Ramos Jr is also known to have had a strained relationship with his mother, Adriana Reyes, who has been described as a drug addict.
Friends told how he sometimes posted videos of himself having blow-up fights with her on social media, and that he had recently moved out to live with the grandmother he ended up shooting.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline earlier this week, Adriana gave a similar account of her son as Ramos Sr.
She described him as a boy who ‘kept to himself and didn’t have many friends’, but insisted he ‘wasn’t a violent person’.
Adriana denied rumours that her relationship with her son was poor, saying she had bought him a card and a present – a stuffed Snoopy toy – for his birthday.
But the family insisted they had no idea he had also bought himself two high-powered assault rifles as a gift to himself at the same time, and also did not know he was posting pictures of them online along with threatening messages.
Those who were friends with Ramos say his descent into violence began longer ago than his family knew, including one friend who said he stopped hanging out with Ramos in their early teens when he began cutting himself.
Around the same time he began dressing in dark clothes and military boots and used his BB gun to target random people, one local claimed.
Ramos stormed into the school armed with a rifle, opened fire on a fourth grade class and then locked himself inside a classroom before being shot dead by police
Shortly before the school shooting, Ramos had shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face inside this house during an argument
Ramos then drove off in his truck which he crashed near the school before going inside and shooting ‘everyone in his path’
According to Ramos’ neighbor Ruben Flores, 41, the shooter and his mother would have screaming matches, with police being called to the home multiple times.
Classmate Nadia Reyes claimed: ‘He’d call his mom a b***h and say she wanted to kick him out… He’d be screaming and talking to his mom really aggressively.’
Jeremiah Munoz, an alumnus from the local high school who used to play Xbox games with Ramos, also told the New York Times he would often hear him arguing with his mother through the microphone – and his mother would scream back at him, telling him he needed to go to school and he was doing nothing with his life.
Munoz said Ramos would often leave his mother’s house and stay with his grandmother for several days after a big fight – and over the past year he has been spending more and more time with his grandmother.
In his early childhood, friends claim, he had been nicknamed ‘pelon’, meaning bald in Spanish, for his incredibly short hair. But in an apparent bid to leave those days behind, he began to grow it long.
He was then branded an ’emo’ or ‘alternative’ at school, where he got into multiple fist fights before increasingly playing truant.
During the last few months of his life, Ramos was working at a Wendy’s and was hardly in attendance at school. He was not set to graduate this year, a fact he seemed to despise.
One neighbor told local news channel Newsy that he witnessed Ramos arguing with his grandmother on Tuesday, claiming he was ‘angry that he did not graduate’.
He said the grandmother then screamed: ‘He shot me, he shot me’, before Ramos ‘zoomed down the street’ and crashed his pick-up truck before embarking on his killing spree – which happened to take place just one day after his classmates had graduated.