According to a report, funeral homes in Uvalde, Texas, refused to handle services for accused Robb Elementary School shooter 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, forcing the local coroner to store his body for weeks while the family fought over the release of the remains.
Uvalde County Justice of the Peace No. 4 Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz Jr., who serves as the de facto county coroner, told The Houston Chronicle that funeral homes in Ramos’ hometown were already swamped with services for the accused gunman’s total of 21 victims killed in the May 24 massacre and did not want to risk the notoriety that would come with handling the accused gunman’s remains.
“Once they got to him, the funeral homes in town said, ‘We don’t want to deal with him,’” Diaz Jr. told the newspaper. “I had to store him for three weeks. As the funerals for the victims were going on, I was still dealing with what to do with him. It was a stressful time.”
The Bexar County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Ramos on May 27, but Diaz Jr. was forced to keep the body in storage for three weeks in Lockhart, Texas, about a two-hour drive from Uvalde, as Ramos’ splintered family fought over his body. Diaz Jr. said that after an out-of-town funeral home, Castle Ridge in Crystal City, Texas, stepped in to handle funeral arrangements, Ramos was released to relatives. According to the Chronicle, Ramos was cremated in a nondescript building on South Frio Street on the western edge of downtown San Antonio.
“It took three and a half weeks to get him back to the family,” Diaz Jr. said. “They were arguing with one another.”
The Bexar County Medical Examiner is expected to take more than a year to complete the 22 autopsy reports following the carnage at Robb Elementary School, according to the Chronicle, because the same agency was already tasked with handling the autopsies for the 53 migrants who died after being abandoned in a sweltering hot tractor trailer on the outskirts of San Antonio in June in what was considered the deadliest human smuggling incident in recent U.S. history.
Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother, 66, in the face on her front porch before stealing her pick-up truck and driving it without a license toward the elementary school he once attended.
According to a state investigation report, he crashed the vehicle into a ditch and shot toward people who came out of a nearby funeral home to help, hopping the school’s 5-foot fencing and approaching the building as frantic educators hearing gunshots began to implement lockdown measures.
The gunman entered the building through unlocked doors, and surveillance video shows Ramos, dressed in dark clothing, moving into a hallway and firing his gun into two fourth-grade classrooms. He entered one of the classrooms known to have an improperly secured door, then spent about two and a half minutes rapidly firing over 100 rounds between the two rooms before officers entered the building.
Despite the fact that nearly 400 law enforcement officers from various agencies arrived on the scene, it took more than an hour for a Border Patrol tactical unit to breach the classroom and shoot and kill Ramos, according to the report. The attack killed 19 children and two teachers.
Ramos had moved into his grandmother’s small home blocks away from the school after a heated argument with his mother was livestreamed on Instagram and watched by several family members. According to the report, the teen’s father believed Ramos had no love left for him.
Ramos, who was teased by his peers about becoming a school shooter, allegedly became obsessed with violence and rape online due to the allure of Internet fame. In one video, he was seen carrying a bag containing a dead cat, idealizing animal cruelty. According to the report, he began pursuing his “evil plan” to shoot up the elementary school at the start of this year after a falling out with his mother.