The Texas school shooter who gunned down 19 children and two teachers messaged a woman online just hours earlier saying: “I got a lil secret I wanna tell you.”
Salvador Ramos, 18, appeared to hint at his plans to attack at Robb Elementary in Uvalde in an alleged private Instagram chat with the woman, telling her “I’m about to.”
The killer also tagged the stranger in images of his two AR-15 rifles and a magazine of ammunition and asked her to repost the pictures.
In screenshots of the exchange, the woman replies: “WHAT. What your guns gotta do with me” and says she is “so confused”.
Ramos, whose Instagram account has since been deactivated, says she should be “grateful” he tagged her, but the woman replies: “No it’s just scary fr. I barely know you and u tag me in a picture with some guns.”
At 5.43am on the day of the attack, he messaged her again saying: “I’m about to.” She replied: “About to what.”
“I’ll text you in an hour,” Ramos says. “But you HAVE TO RESPOND.
“I got a lil secret. I wanna tell u.”
His final message at 9.16am says: “Ima air out.”
The woman later said she did not know Ramos, was not from Texas, and only responded to him because she was scared.
Sharing screen grabs of their conversations on Instagram, she wrote: “He’s a stranger I know nothing about him he decided to tag me in his gun post.
“I’m so sorry for the victims and their families I really don’t know what to say.
“The only reason I responded to him was because I was afraid of him I wish I stayed awake to at least try to convince him to not commit his crime. I didn’t know.”
The gunman also posted on Facebook about his intentions, a press conference on Wednesday afternoon also revealed.
Governor Greg Abbott said Ramos posted three times in the 30 minutes directly before the attack.
The first was, “I’m going to shoot my grandmother.” The second message was, “I shot my grandmother.” And the third, which took place just before that attack stated, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
Meanwhile, Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook’s owner Meta, disputed the governor’s claims.
“The messages Gov. Abbott described were private one-to-one text messages that were discovered after the terrible tragedy occurred. We are closely cooperating with law enforcement in their ongoing investigation,” he stated on Facebook.
Details about the gunman have emerged since the mass shooting shortly before midday on Tuesday.
He was a student at Uvalde High School and lived in the small city 80 miles west of San Antonio.
He shot his grandmother in the face before driving to Robb Elementary School, leaving her in critical condition.
Ramos is believed to have then abandoned his car outside the school, entered a classroom armed with a handgun and an AR-15 and barricaded himself in. Police said the killer was also wearing body armour.
Officers responding to the scene shot Ramos dead.
Ramos allegedly bought his guns on his 18th birthday.
A manager at the local Wendy’s fast food restaurant said that Ramos worked the day shift there.
“He felt like the quiet type, the one who doesn’t say much. He didn’t really socialise with the other employees,” Adrian Mendes said.
Friends and relatives have claimed Ramos was bullied, cut his own face, fired a BB gun at random people and egged cars in the years leading up to the deadly attack.
They also said he had a difficult home life, that he was bullied over a childhood speech impediment and lashed out violently towards friends and strangers – both recently and over the years.