May 26, 2022

Misinformation is spreading about the 18-year-old authorities identified as the shooter in a massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, Texas, on May 24.

This story is still developing as investigators probe why Salvador Ramos opened fire at the school starting around 11:30 a.m. that morning, but some claims about Ramos’ identity have been contradicted by statements from officials.

Some social media users are sharing a screenshot of a tweet by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, that has since been deleted but said the shooter was “a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos.”

“This is Salvador Ramos,” another Facebook post said, sharing an ID card photo of Ramos that was provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety. “The 18yr old that just shot up the elementary school in Texas. Bet the news stops covering it soon because a Hispanic Transgender taking 18 kids lives from 2-4th grade and 1 teacher doesn’t fit their agenda.”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Gosar’s office did not respond to a phone call or email about the claims in the tweet, but here’s what we know.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, among other officials, has identified the shooter as Salvador Ramos, not Salvatore Ramos. He died at the scene.

Ramos was a Uvalde resident and was “reported to have been a student” at Uvalde High School, Abbott said. Abbott also said that Ramos is a U.S. citizen.

We found no evidence to corroborate claims that Ramos was transgender. That rumor appears to stem from photos of an artist who was misidentified as Ramos in some social media posts. The artist identifies as a transgender girl and uses the pronouns she/her.

We also found no information about Ramos’ politics. The New York Times reported that Ramos’ acquaintances said he was a high school senior who regularly missed class, struggled to get along with classmates and had few friends. Some said that Ramos, who had a speech impediment, was bullied, and that once after he posted a photo of himself wearing black eyeliner he was ridiculed using a derogatory term for a gay person, The Washington Post said.

Ramos got into screaming matches with his mother, and often retreated to his grandmother’s house after a big fight, according to the Times. At the time of the shooting, Ramos was living with his grandparents and shot his grandmother before going to the elementary school, Texas DPS Lt. Chris Olivarez said in an interview with Fox News.

Olivarez said authorities haven’t identified any gang affiliations or criminal history.

Our ruling

Social media posts claim that the Uvalde, Texas school shooter was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos.”

Officials and news reports have said that the shooter was Salvador Ramos, a U.S. citizen and Uvalde resident. We found no evidence to corroborate claims that Ramos was transgender or a leftist.

We rate this post False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and…
Ciara O'Rourke

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