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Texas Republican Tony Gonzalez has said Salvador Ramos, the gunman in the Uvalde shooting, was arrested four years ago as a minor after telling people he planned to shoot up a school once he turned 18.
Gonzalez made the claims on FOX News on Friday morning.
‘This wasn’t hearsay. I got this late last night: ‘The shooter was arrested years ago, four years ago, for having this plan for basically saying, for saying, you know, when I’m a senior in 2022, I am going to shoot up a school.’
‘Something fell between the cracks between then and now to allow this to happen. We need to shake out all the facts.
‘We need to figure out what happened. Where the holes and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
‘But if law enforcement, you know, identified him four years ago as a threat, we need to figure out why he wasn’t – you know, how he got removed from that,’ he said.
Gonzales later added: ‘I’m under the impression that him and another person were having a conversation, plotting things out.
‘The police looked into it and arrested him. He went to juvenile, from what I can gather, he went to a correctional facility.’
There are new claims that Salvador Ramos was arrested as a juvenile after telling people he planned to ‘shoot up a school in 2022 when he was a senior’
Texas Republican Tony Gonzalez has said Salvador Ramos, the gunman in the Uvalde shooting, was arrested four years ago as a minor after telling people he planned to shoot up a school once he turned 18
Governor Greg Abbott has not yet commented on the juvenile arrest claims. He is due to give a press briefing at noon EST.
At his press briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott admitted that police did not yet know whether Ramos had a juvenile record.
The teenager legally purchased the two guns he used in Tuesday’s attack within days of turning 18 last week.
He had a difficult relationship with his mother, Adriana, and had gone to live with his grandparents.
On Tuesday morning, he launched the attack by first shooting his grandmother Celia in the face. She survived, stumbled outside to her neighbor’s house then they called 911 together.
Ramos fled in a stolen truck with his two guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.
There are growing questions now about how much authorities knew about him before the incident, and whether it could have been prevented before Tuesday.
Tributes outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Thursday as questions grow over whether the shooting could have been prevented
Ramos had communicated with teenagers from different countries on apps like Yubo, and he also spoke with friends through Facebook messenger.
On Tuesday, he sent a private message to a girl in Germany telling her that he was about to ‘shoot an elementary school.’
There is also increasing anger and frustration over the police response on the ground, and the fact cops retreated when he first opened fire and then waited over an hour for SWAT back up while Ramos remained in a classroom, trapped with the 19 kids and two teachers he killed.
On Thursday night, Department of Safety Lt. Chris Olivarez said police didn’t rush into the classroom where Ramos was because they feared they would get shot.
He was being challenged by Wolf Blitzer over why the first officers who responded to the shooting retreated after Salvador Ramos shot at them with his AR-15 and then waited an hour for tactical SWAT teams to take him out, leaving him alone in a classroom with the 19 fourth graders and two teachers who he slaughtered.
‘Don’t current best practices, Lieutenant, call for officers to disable a shooter as quickly as possible, regardless of how many officers are actually on site?’ Blitzer asked.
He replied: ‘In the active shooter situation, you want to stop the killing, you want to preserve life. But also one thing that, of course, the American people need to understand is that officers are making entry into this building. They do not know where the gunman is. They are hearing gunshots. They are receiving gunshots.’
He then appeared to try to take credit for the gunman being locked in the classroom with the kids for an hour – including some he shot at the start of the rampage who later died in the hospital – claiming it saved other lives.
Police initially said that the gunman barricaded himself inside the classroom and that they had trouble gaining access to the room, and one unnamed law official anonymously spoke out to say SWAT teams had to wait for a different school staff member to bring them a key to the class.
‘At that point, if they proceeded any further not knowing where the suspect was at, they could’ve been shot, they could’ve been killed, and at that point that gunman would have had an opportunity to kill other people inside that school.
‘So they were able to contain that gunman inside that classroom so that he was not able to go to any other portions of the school to commit any other killings,’ Lt. Olivarez said.
Experts have slammed the decision to wait for back up as ‘outdated’ and ‘disgusting’.
‘Waiting an hour is disgusting. If that turns out to be true, then it is a disgusting fact,’ Sean Burke, a retired school resource officer from Massachusetts who now is the president of the School Safety Advocacy Council, told NBC.
‘If you’ve got somebody you think is actively engaged in harming people or attempting to harm people, your obligation as a police officer is to immediately stop that person and neutralize that threat.
‘We don’t expect police officers to commit suicide in doing it.
‘But the expectation is that if someone is about to harm someone, especially children, you’ve got to take immediate action to make that stop,’ Don Alwes, an ex-instructor for the National Tactical Officers Association, added.
Surgeons at the hospital in Uvalde have also suggested that the delay in responding to the shooting may have cost some kids their lives.
It remains unclear exactly how many children were in the classroom when the shooter opened fire, how many were killed immediately and how many were still alive but injured when police arrived.
Uvalde Memorial Hospital received two kids who had died by the time they got to the hospital.
Now, doctors are highlighting the importance of treating gunshot wounds as soon as they happen.
‘You can’t wait until patients go to a trauma center.
‘You have to act quickly,’ Dr. Ronald Stewart, the senior trauma surgeon at the University Hospital in Antonio, said.