Texas school shooter wasn’t arrested for threat in 2018, officials say
CLAIM: The gunman in the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting was arrested four years ago for planning a 2022 school shooting.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Texas law enforcement officials say Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old gunman in the mass killing of 19 children and two teachers, was not one of the two juveniles arrested in a 2018 case in the same city.
THE FACTS: The erroneous claim gained traction online on Friday after a Texas congressman aired it during a morning Fox News interview.
“I found out late last night that the shooter was arrested years ago — four years ago — for having this plan,” Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales said. “For basically saying, for saying you know when I’m a senior in 2022, I am going to shoot up a school.”
Gonzales claimed “something fell between the cracks,” since Ramos was able to carry out this week’s attack.
But law enforcement officials later refuted that claim.
Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said during a press conference that there is a claim “going around now that in fact the subject had been one of the two arrested by the Texas Rangers and the local police back in 2018.”
“That’s not the case,” McCraw said. “He was not one of the individuals. In fact, we have found no links, associations, relationships in that investigation.”
The Uvalde Police Department said in an April 26, 2018, press release that it had arrested a 13-year-old boy and 14-year-old boy in connection with a threat to “conduct a school shooting on their senior year (2022) at the Uvalde High School.” The boys, who were not identified by name, were held in a juvenile detention facility at the time. McCraw said the two juveniles were charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder.
Uvalde County Attorney John Dodson also confirmed in a televised interview on Friday that Ramos was not involved in the 2018 case. “The shooter was never involved with a threat against the school prior to this incident,” Dodson told local CBS affiliate KENS 5.
Gonzales also tweeted after his Fox News interview that it was actually “unclear” if Ramos was one of the juveniles arrested in 2018.
A spokesperson for Gonzales did not immediately return a request for comment.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said Ramos, a resident of the small town about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of San Antonio, had no known criminal or mental health history.
This story has been updated to add comments from Uvalde County Attorney John Dodson.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.