The Texas school shooter’s father said he was “sorry” for the massacre in which his son killed 21 people, including 19 young children, saying the boy “should have killed me” instead.
Salvador Ramos Sr, 42, said he “never expected” his youngest child – who was also named Salvador – to go on a killing spree, describing him as “a good person” who ” stuck to itself”.
But he admitted to having had a distant and difficult relationship with Salvador Jr – who was shot by police – and that his own mother believes the 18-year-old would have shot her if he could have because he always said that I didn’t like him.’
“I don’t want them calling him a freak…they don’t know shit, man,” he said. “They don’t know anything he went through.”
Salvador Ramos Jr, 18, shot and killed 21 people, including 19 young children, in the latest US mass shooting in Texas on Tuesday
Ramos had bought himself two rifles for his 18th birthday days before the murders, although his family insisted he was not a violent person.
Ramos Sr spoke to the Daily Beast two days after his son burst into Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, South 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 – on the mother’s side of the family – in the face during an argument.
He spent more than an hour locked inside the school with the terrified youngsters and their dead classmates, before a Border Patrol unit burst in and shot him dead.
Ramos Sr portrayed his son as a quiet boy who was not naturally prone to violence, but grew angry as he grew older.
He backed up an account given by one of Ramos Jr’s colleagues that he had recently bought a pair of boxing gloves and would carry them to a nearby park, asking people to fight him during filming.
“I said, ‘Mijo, one day someone is going to kick your ass,’ the father recalled. “I started to see different changes in him like that.”
Ramos, who lives outside Uvalde where he works digging holes around electricity poles for inspection, admits he hasn’t seen his son much in recent years.
He blamed the distance on his own mother suffering from cancer, meaning he isolated himself with her because of Covid. He said Ramos Jr became frustrated with the restrictions a month ago and stopped talking to him.
Adriana Reyes, Ramos’ mother (left), said she was ‘surprised’ he carried out the murders after shooting grandmother Celia Gomez (right) in the face
Friends say Ramos’ descent into violence began earlier than his family knew, and included cutting himself as a teenager (pictured during the rampage)
But this image is undermined 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 on a member of his family.
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 have told how he sometimes posts videos of himself fighting with her on social media and that he recently moved 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 “kept to himself and didn’t have many friends”, but insisted he “wasn’t a violent person”.
Adriana denied rumors that her relationship with her son was bad, saying she bought him a card and a present – a Snoopy stuffed toy – for his birthday.
But the family insisted they had no idea he had also bought himself two high-powered assault rifles at the same time, nor did he know he was posting photos of them online with threatening messages.
Those who were friends with Ramos say his descent into violence began longer ago than his family knew, including a friend who said he stopped hanging out with Ramos in his early teens when he started to cut himself.
Around the same time, he started dressing in dark clothes and military boots and used his BB gun to target random people, a local said.
Ramos burst into the school armed with a gun, opened fire on a fourth-grade class, then locked himself in a classroom before being shot dead by police
Shortly before the school shooting, Ramos 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 driving in and shooting ‘everyone in his way’
According to Ramos’ neighbor Ruben Flores, 41, the gunman and his mother were reportedly screaming matches, with police being called to the home multiple times.
Classmate Nadia Reyes claimed, “He would call his mom ab***h and say she wanted to kick him out… He would yell and talk to his mom very aggressively.”
Jeremiah Munoz, a former local high school student who played Xbox games with Ramos, also told the New York Times that he often heard him arguing with his mother through the microphone – and his mother yelled at him, saying he needed to go to school and he was doing nothing with his life.
Munoz said Ramos often left his mother’s house and stayed with his grandmother for several days after a big fight – and over the past year he has spent more and more time with his grandmother .
In his early childhood, friends claim he was nicknamed “pelon”, meaning bald in Spanish, for his incredibly short hair. But in an apparent attempt to put those days behind him, he began to grow it.
He was later called “emo” or “alternative” at school, where he fought several times before increasingly skipping school.
During the last months of his life, Ramos worked at Wendy’s and barely attended school. He wasn’t ready to graduate this year, a fact he seemed to despise.
A neighbor told the local news channel Lots of news that he saw Ramos arguing with his grandmother on Tuesday, saying he was “angry that he didn’t graduate”.
He said the grandmother then shouted: ‘He shot me, he shot me’, before Ramos ‘zoomed down the street’ and smashed his van before embarking on his killing spree – which happened just a day after his classmates graduated.