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Uvalde, Texas, funeral homes did not want to handle services for accused Robb Elementary School shooter 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, forcing the local coroner to store his body for weeks as the family squabbled over the release of the remains, according to a report.
Uvalde County Justice of the Peace No. 4 Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz Jr., serving as the de facto county coroner, told The Houston Chronicle that funeral homes in Ramos’ hometown were already busy handling services for his total 21 victims killed in the May 24 massacre and did not want to worry about the notoriety brought upon their businesses if they agreed to handle 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 conducted an autopsy on Ramos on May 27, but Diaz Jr. had to keep the body in storage for three weeks about a two-hour drive away from Uvalde in Lockhart, Texas, as Ramos’ splintered family squabbled over his body. Eventually, an out-of-town funeral home – Castle Ridge in Crystal City, Texas – stepped in to handle funeral arrangements, and Ramos was released to relatives, Diaz Jr. said. Ramos’ death report shows that he was cremated in a nondescript building on South Frio Street on the western edge of downtown San Antonio, according to the Chronicle.
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“It took three, three and a half weeks to get him released to the family,” Diaz Jr. said. “They were fighting with each other.”
The Chronicle reported that it is expected to take more than a year for the Bexar County Medical Examiner to complete the 22 autopsy reports following the carnage at Robb Elementary School, as 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 66-year-old grandmother in the face on the front porch of her home before stealing her pick-up truck and driving it without a license toward the elementary school he once attended.
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, according to a state investigate report.
The gunman entered the building through unlocked doors, and surveillance video shows Ramos clad in dark clothing move into a hallway and fire his gun toward two classrooms of fourth graders. He entered one of the classrooms known to have a door that did not secure properly, before spending about two-and-a-half minutes rapidly firing over 100 rounds between the two rooms before officers entered the building.
Still, despite nearly 400 law enforcement officers from several agencies arriving at the scene, it took more than an hour before a Border Patrol tactical unit ultimately breached the classroom and shot and killed Ramos, according to the report. Nineteen children and two teachers died in the attack.
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Before the deadly shooting, Ramos had moved into his grandmother’s small home blocks away from the school after a blowout fight with his mother was livestreamed on Instagram and viewed by several family members. The teen’s father believed Ramos had not love left for him, according to the report.
Ramos, who was teased by peers that he would one day become a school shooter, allegedly was driven by the lure of Internet fame, developed a fascination with violence and rape online. A video showed him carrying a bag of a dead cat, idealizing animal abuse. He began pursuing his “evil plan” to shoot up the elementary school at the start of this year after a falling out with his mom, according to the report.