TEXAS governor Greg Abbott has said that Salvador Ramos, who shot and killed 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, was a US citizen, not an illegal immigrant.
His clarification came after social media posts falsely claimed that the gunman was an immigrant illegally in the country.
It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed.
Meanwhile, Grief at the massacre of 19 small children at an elementary school in Texas spilled into confrontation Wednesday (25), as angry questions mounted over gun control — and whether this latest tragedy could have been prevented.
The tight-knit Latino community of Uvalde became the site of America’s worst school shooting in a decade, committed by a disturbed 18-year-old armed with a legally bought assault rifle.
Governor Abbott revealed that teen shooter Ramos — who was killed by police — shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before heading to Robb Elementary School.
Ramos went on social media to share his plan to attack his grandmother — who though gravely injured was able to alert the police.
He then messaged again to say his next target was a school, where he headed clad in body armour and wielding an AR-15 rifle.
Biden asks lawmakers to take on America’s powerful gun lobby
Pressed on how the teen was able to obtain the murder weapon, the Texas governor repeatedly brushed aside suggestions that tougher gun laws were needed in his state — where attachment to the right to bear arms runs deep.
“I consider this person to have been pure evil,” Abbott said, articulating a position commonly held among US Republicans — that unfettered access to weapons is not to blame for the country’s gun violence epidemic.
Abbott’s stance was echoed by the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby, which issued a statement labeling the shooter as “a lone, deranged criminal.”
But the governor was called out by a rival Democrat, who loudly interrupted the briefing to accuse him of deadly inaction.
“This is on you,” heckled Beto O’Rourke, a fervent gun control advocate who is challenging Abbott for his job come November.
“You are doing nothing!” he charged. “This is totally predictable when you choose not to do anything.”
O’Rourke’s interruption came a day after President Joe Biden, in an emotional address, called on lawmakers to take on America’s powerful gun lobby and enact tougher laws.
Biden announced Wednesday that he would soon visit Uvalde, as he renewed his plea for “common sense gun reforms.”
“I think we all must be there for them. Everyone. And we must ask when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country.”
“I am sick and tired of what’s going on and continues to go on,” Biden said.
The Uvalde shooting was the deadliest since 20 elementary-age children and six staff were killed at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.
According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, there have been more mass shootings — in which four or more people were wounded or killed — in 2022 than days so far this year.
Despite that, multiple attempts at national reform have failed in Congress.