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Police: Texas shooter slipped by school officer; mother says gunman not a 'monster'

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Police: Texas shooter slipped by school officer; mother says gunman not a 'monster'
A mourner kneels by a memorial of flowers at the scene of Tuesday's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The attack killed 19 children and two adult educators. Photo by Tannen Maury/EPA-EFE

May 26 (UPI) -- Authorities in Texas are learning more about the man accused of killing 21 people at an elementary school in Uvalde -- including that he was apparently confronted by a school officer before he entered the building.

Investigators said during an update on Wednesday that the shooter, Salvador Ramos, was stopped by the officer but still managed to slip in through a back door before the attack Tuesday. Moments later, he began the shooting rampage that killed 19 children and two adults.

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Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Erick Estrada said the confrontation occurred after the 18-year-old Ramos crashed his truck near Robb Elementary School, where he went after shooting his grandmother at home. She survived and is being treated at a San Antonio hospital.

Estrada said Ramos dropped a bag of ammunition before he entered the school building and barricaded himself inside. DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said once inside, Ramos entered two adjoining classrooms and opened fire.

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Authorities said Ramos was inside the school for 40 to 60 minutes before responding police entered the building and shot him dead.

DPS Director Steven McCraw said investigators are looking at private social media messages that Ramos sent saying he'd shot his grandmother and was heading to the school.

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In an interview with ABC News, Ramos' mother, Adrianna Reyes, said her son could be aggressive at times -- but he wasn't a "monster."

"I had an uneasy feeling sometimes, like 'what are you up to?'" Reyes said in the interview. "He can be aggressive... If he really got mad."

"We all have a rage," she said. "Some people have it more than others."

President Joe Biden is planning to travel to the community in south-central Texas.

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"Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families and let them know we have a sense of their pain, and hopefully bring some little comfort to a community in shock, in grief and in trauma," Biden said Wednesday during a signing ceremony at the White House.

"As a nation, I think we all must be for them. And we must ask when in God's name will we do what needs to be done to ... fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country?"

McCraw said earlier on Wednesday that Ramos did not have a criminal history before the attack, which was the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the Sandy Hook attack in Connecticut in 2012.

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Ramous bought a semiautomatic rifle at a local sporting goods store on March 17, just after his 18th birthday, and bought 375 rounds of ammunition the following day. Three days later, he bought another semiautomatic rifle at the same store.

At a news conference Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Ramos had no known history of mental health issues, but also said that mental health issues were partly to blame.

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