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Texas gunman’s grandmother in ‘fair’ condition after being shot, but family say she may never talk again

Sixty-six-year-old woman was shooter’s first victim on 24 May

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Monday 30 May 2022 14:05 BST
‘Do something’: Biden met by protesters on Uvalde school visit
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Texas gunman Salvador Ramos’s grandmother, who was shot in the face before the 18-year-old went on a killing spree at an elementary school in Uvalde last week, is in a stable condition now.

But the family of Celia “Sally” Martinez Gonzales, 66, fear she may never be able to speak again.

Her cousin, Jason Ybarra, said the bullet went into her “jaw just next to her mouth and shattered all her teeth”.

“If the bullet was an inch in another direction, it would have blown her head off. She’s doing fairly well, considering what happened. But she may never be able to talk again,” he told The New York Post.

Ms Gonzales has only been able to communicate by writing. “She had a notebook where she writes what she’s trying to say, but when we can’t make it out, she gets frustrated,” her husband Rolando Reyes said.

Ms Gonzales called police herself after she was shot in the face as her 18-year-old grandson drove towards Robb Elementary School in the family’s truck.

He then barricaded himself in a classroom at Robb Elementary School where he killed 19 students and two faculty members on 24 May. The shooter was eventually killed by Border Patrol agents, but not before responding police ignored the cries of desperate parents asking them to enter the school.

Video footage from inside their house, where the shooter was living with his grandparents, showed visible blood strains on the walls.

“There’s blood all over,” Mr Reyes said, adding that Ramos and his grandmother got into a minor argument about a phone bill.

Ramos sent three Facebook messages prior to the shooting, though authorities haven’t announced to whom. The first read “I’m going to shoot my grandmother,” and was followed by one that read: “I shot my grandmother.”

His final message said: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

According to reports, Ramos’ grandmother had recently taken him to an Applebee’s restaurant to celebrate his birthday. “He was very quiet, he didn’t talk very much,” Mr Reyes told ABC News.

The grandfather added that he was unaware Ramos had recently legally purchased two AR-15-style rifles on his 18th birthday, and said he he would have reported it to the police if he had known.

Adriana Reyes, Ramos’s mother, said her son was not a “monster,” but could be aggressive. “I had an uneasy feeling sometimes, like ‘what are you up to’. He can be aggressive... If he really got mad,” she said.

His father, also named Salvador Ramos, apologised to the town of Uvalde for his son’s act, but added: “I don’t want them calling him a monster... they don’t know nothing, man. They don’t know anything he was going through.”

On Sunday, president Joe Biden faced calls from protesters to “do something” against gun violence as he visited the Uvalde community to grieve with families. Texas governor Greg Abbott, who went to the school to meet Mr Biden, was booed and heckled by the angry crowd.

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