U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) claimed that Uvalde gunman Salvador Ramos had previously threatened to shoot up a school when he was 14. The now deceased gunman allegedly threatened to carry out a school massacre when he turned 18 and was arrested for it, placing him on law enforcement’s radar.
“The shooter was arrested years ago, four years ago, for having this plan for basically saying, you know, when I’m a senior in 2022, I am going to shoot up a school,” Gonzales claimed on Fox News.
“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,” he continued.
“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,” Gonzales added.
Bill Melugin of Fox News later reported that Uvalde police officials are denying the claim. Two teens were arrested for threatening to carry out a massacre in 2014, but the department says the Uvalde gunman was not one of them. “There were two juveniles arrested on conspiracy charges for a shooting plot several years back, but the Uvalde shooter was not involved in that incident and was not arrested,” Melugin was reportedly told by Uvalde law enforcement.
Uvalde law enforcement officials have previously claimed that Ramos had no criminal record and was not on their radar. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he isn’t sure whether he had a juvenile record, which are often sealed.
“He may have had a juvenile record, but that is yet to be determined,” Abbott said at a press conference earlier this week.
Uvalde Police Chief Daniel Rodriguez reported that a 14-year-old Morales Junior High School student and a 13-year-old former Morales student planned to perform a “mass casualty event against the school,” according to KENS 5 in 2018.
The two students were reportedly inspired by the 1999 Columbine massacre while one described himself as feeling “god-like.”
“The investigation revealed that the students were infatuated with the Columbine High School shootings and identified themselves to the shooters. The investigation uncovered that the students even referred to themselves using the Columbine shooter’s names,” Rodriguez reported in 2018.
The students were reportedly planning the attacks for their senior year of high school, though one of them made the case for moving the attack up to 2018.
In addition to using guns, the pair planned to detonate IEDs at the entrance to the school. “One of the students had numerous writings and drawings which depicted weapons capable of causing mass destruction. He wrote about being ‘God-like’ and killing police and other persons,” Rodriguez reported.
Both students were reportedly evaluated by mental health services in April 2018, when the investigation led officials to the pair, KENS 5 reported. The older one was later released to his mother’s care, though the boys were later re-arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit murder.
Salvador Ramos, who is the same age as the arrested students, would go on to carry out the Uvalde massacre during his senior year of high school.