Fact Check

Did the Texas School Shooting Suspect 'Cross the Border Illegally'?

We found no evidence supporting the claim Salvador Ramos, 18, was undocumented.

Published May 24, 2022

Updated May 25, 2022
UVALDE, TX - MAY 24: Law enforcement work the scene after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School where 19 people, including 18 children, were killed on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. The suspected gunman, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was reportedly killed by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images) (Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Salvador Ramos, the suspected Uvalde, Texas, school shooter, crossed the U.S. Mexico border "illegally."

Fact Check

On May 24, 2022, a gunman fatally shot at least 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, including three adults and 18 children. Authorities said police killed the suspected gunman, Salvador Ramos, 18, at the scene.

Not long after the news broke, the Twitter page belonging to the nonprofit organization Code of Vets posted a tweet speculating, without offering evidence, that Ramos may have been an undocumented immigrant.

"Pray for the victims, families and community," the tweet read. "The killer was Salvador Ramos 18 years old. Did he cross the border illegally? Our nation has a serious national security crisis evolving. God help us".

As of this writing, we have found no evidence to support the claim that Ramos was an undocumented immigrant. We have very few details about his biography, but Houston-based TV news station KPRC-TV, citing unnamed officials, reported that Ramos was "apparently from the town of Uvalde, which is 85 miles west of San Antonio, and that he was born on May 16, 2004."

ABC News reported that Ramos was a student at Uvalde High School, while WSLS 10 further noted that Ramos had reportedly attended Robb Elementary in his youth, as well. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Ramos shot his grandmother before opening fire at the school.

We reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asking whether the agency could confirm the facts around Ramos' citizenship status.

In an interview on CNN, Texas State Sen. Roland Guitierrez said Texas state police told him Ramos was born in North Dakota. We reached out to Texas Department of Public Safety asking for more information. We will update this story when we receive further information.


Ballard, Moriah. “SUSPECT INFO: Here’s What We Know about the 18-Year-Old Shooter Who Officials Say Killed His Grandmother, 14 Students, and 1 Teacher.” KPRC, 24 May 2022, https://www.click2houston.com/news/local/2022/05/24/suspect-info-heres-what-we-know-about-the-18-year-old-shooter-who-officials-say-killed-his-grandmother-14-students-and-1-teacher/.

Osborne, Mark, and Meredith Deliso. “14 Students, 1 Teacher Killed in Texas Elementary School Shooting; Death Toll Expected to Rise.” ABC7 San Francisco, 24 May 2022, https://abc7news.com/uvalde-texas-robb-elementary-school-active-shooter-district-lockdown/11889693/.

Smith, Samantha. “What We Know about the Suspected Texas Elementary School Shooter.” WSLS, 24 May 2022, https://www.wsls.com/news/2022/05/24/what-we-know-about-the-suspected-texas-elementary-school-shooter/.

“Senator Says Texas School Shooter Born in North Dakota; Ramos Never Attended Bismarck-Mandan Public Schools.” Bismarck Tribune, 25 May 2022, https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/crime-and-courts/senator-says-texas-school-shooter-born-in-north-dakota-ramos-never-attended-bismarck-mandan-public/article_422954c0-dc2d-11ec-abd1-37027115d03d.html.


Updated to note a Texas state lawmaker said Ramos was born in North Dakota.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more