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Uvalde, Texas School Shooting Lawsuit – Justice for Families

On May 24, 2022, an 18-year-old named Salvador Rolando Ramos fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos shot and wounded 18 other people before a United States Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) team shot and killed him. The school shooting, which lasted for more than an hour, was the deadliest in Texas state history and the third deadliest in the nation after the Virginia Tech school shooting (2007) and the Sandy Hook school shooting (2012).

Attorneys from the national law firm of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman represent the family of a child who was shot and wounded at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our firm mourns the unspeakable loss of life in Uvalde, and we are determined to seek accountability and demand long overdue change to stop dark days like this from happening. We as attorneys, parents, and citizens are prepared to fight for Robb Elementary School families who have been forced to cope with trauma that is beyond description. If any entity could have stopped, prevented, or otherwise minimized the horrors that occurred in Uvalde, we are prepared to mount a strong case on behalf of victims seeking justice and accountability.

CNN interviewed Texas trial lawyer and Baum Hedlund senior shareholder Stephanie B. Sherman to discuss potential liability in the Uvalde school shooting. We represent Corina Camacho, whose son was shot and wounded at Robb Elementary School.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please contact us or call (855) 948-5098 to schedule a call with an attorney. We are here to help.

Robb Elementary School Shooting Information

Uvalde School Shooting at Robb Elementary School Timeline

September 2021: Salvador Rolando Ramos asked his sister to purchase a firearm for him. He was 17 years old at the time. The sister flatly refused.

February 2022: Ramos discussed being a school shooter on an Instagram group chat with four other individuals.

March 2022: Ramos discussed purchasing a gun in an Instagram group chat. He responded to one of the group chat participants that he, "Just bought something. RN." Days later, Ramos posted on Instagram, "10 more days." Someone replied to the post by asking, "are you going to shoot up a school or something?" Ramos replied, "No. And stop asking dumb questions. You'll see."

Early May 2022: Ramos met a girl named “Cece” from Germany on Yubo. They exchanged cell phone numbers.

May 17, 2022: Ramos purchased a semi-automatic rifle from a Uvalde store called Oasis Outback the day after his 18th birthday, which was on May 16.

May 18, 2022: Ramos purchased 375 rounds of ammunition for the semi-automatic rifle. Authorities are uncertain where he purchased the rounds.

May 20, 2022: Ramos purchased another semi-automatic rifle from Oasis Outback

May 24, 2022:

  • Morning: An Instagram account associated with Ramos sent another user a photo of a gun lying on a bed.
  • Around 11:00 am: Ramos allegedly sent a direct message to “Cece” in Germany, telling her he is about to “do something” to his grandmother.
  • Shortly after 11:00 am: Ramos shot his grandmother, 66-year-old Cecilia “Sally” Martinez Gonzales, and fled the home. Martinez Gonzales was an employee at Robb Elementary School, according to media reports. Ramos was living with his grandparents at the time of the Uvalde shooting. Ramos sent a second direct message: “I shot my grandmother.” He sent a third direct message a few minutes later: “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”
  • 11:28 am: Ramos drove his grandmother’s car to Robb Elementary School. He crashed into a nearby ditch and exited the vehicle with an AR-15 style rifle and at least seven loaded 30-round magazines of ammunition on his person. He fired at witnesses.
  • 11:30 am: A teacher entered the school through a propped open door. The teacher reportedly saw Ramos, called 911 to report the school shooter, and shut the door. The door did not lock, even though it is intended to do so. In response to the 911 call, Uvalde Police Department requested U.S. Marshals assistance at Robb Elementary School.
  • 11:31 am: Ramos fired into classrooms from outside the school. At around the same time, a police officer arrived at the scene.
  • 11:33 am: Ramos entered Robb Elementary through the door that did not lock and fired more than 100 rounds in classrooms 111 and 112, which are interconnected.
  • 11:35 am: Three police officers went into the school and approached the classroom Ramos was in. Ramos fired shots at the officers and grazed two of them. Four additional police officers entered the school.
  • 11:42 am: A teacher reportedly sent a text message to someone that there is an active shooter on the school campus.
  • 11:43 am: Robb Elementary said on Facebook that the school was in lockdown "due to gunshots in the area.” The post added that "students and staff are safe in the building."
  • 11:44 am: Students began evacuating the school. Police officials requested more resources, equipment, body armor, and negotiators.
  • 11:55 am – 12:00 pm: Onlookers and parents gathered at the school and encouraged law enforcement officials to go into the classrooms. A woman said to police officers, "it's one person, take him out…do the parents got to go in there? I'm ready if I have to."
  • 12:03 pm: With 19 law enforcement officers gathered in the hallway to the classrooms, no one entered the classroom Ramos is in. The incident commander, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police, Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, viewed the situation as one with a "barricaded subject" instead of an "active shooter.” Arredondo said no more lives were at risk, and he wanted more equipment and officers before a tactical breach. At the same time, a student called 911 from classroom 112 and identified herself and the classroom number. The call ended after a minute and 23 seconds.
  • 12:10 pm: U.S. Marshals arrived at Robb Elementary. The student from classroom 112 called 911 again.
  • 12:13 pm: The student from classroom 112 called 911 a third time saying multiple people are dead in the classroom.
  • 12:15 pm: Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) members arrived at Robb Elementary.
  • 12:16 pm: The student from classroom 112 called 911 a fourth time and says eight to nine students are alive in the classroom.
  • 12:17 pm: Robb Elementary School posted on its Facebook page that there is an active shooter at the school and law enforcement authorities are on scene.
  • 12:19 pm: A student from classroom 111 made a 911 call but hung up when another student told her to end the call.
  • 12:21 pm: In another 911 call, multiple shots rang out.
  • 12:36 pm: The student from room 112 called 911 a fifth time. The student said Ramos shot a door. Authorities instructed the student to stay on the line and be very quiet.
  • 12:43 pm: The student in classroom 112 asked for the police to come.
  • 12:46 pm: The student in classroom 112 said she can hear the police next door.
  • 12:47 pm: The student in classroom 112 again asked for the police to come.
  • 12:50 pm: BORTAC team used a janitor's master key to unlock the door Ramos locked. The team entered the classroom. Ramos, who was in a closet, kicked open the door and opened fire. BORTAC officers killed him.

Victims of Uvalde School Shooting

Nineteen students and two teachers lost their lives in the Robb Elementary School shooting. They have been identified as:

  • Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, 10
  • Jacklyn “Jackie” Jaylen Cazares, 9
  • Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
  • Jose Manuel Flores, Jr., 10
  • Eliahna “Ellie” Amyah Garcia, 9
  • Irma Linda Garcia, 48
  • Uziyah Garcia, 9
  • Amerie Jo Garza, 10
  • Xavier James Lopez, 10
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
  • Tess Marie Mata, 10
  • Maranda Gail Mathis, 11
  • Eva Mireles, 44
  • Alithia Haven, 10
  • Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
  • Maite Yuleana Rodriguez, 10
  • Alexandria “Lexi” Aniyah Rubio, 10
  • Layla Marie Salazar, 11
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10
  • Eliahna Cruz Torres, 10
  • Rojelio Fernandez Torres, 10

The children were third and fourth-grade students. Teachers Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles taught in the same fourth-grade classroom. At least 18 other people, including Ramos’s grandmother and two police officers, were injured in the shooting. Uvalde Memorial Hospital received several victims. Others were taken to University Hospital San Antonio.

Uvalde Police at Center of Nationwide Scrutiny

In the aftermath of this senseless attack, law enforcement officials were criticized for their response to the shooting. Media reports have stated that police officers waited 78 minutes before breaching entering the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), roughly 19 officers inside the school made "no effort" to breach the room where Ramos was located before tactical units arrived.

This questionable decision to wait for tactical units to arrive was reportedly based on the false belief that Ramos had isolated himself in a classroom where he could not harm any more people. According to media reporting, Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Chief of Police, Pedro "Pete" Arredondo made the decision to wait on the tactical units as the incident commander. Law enforcement policies established in the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine school shooting call for police officers to stop the gunman as quickly as possible in active shooter situations.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw stated that Arredondo’s decision was “the wrong decision, period.” Other choices that have come under scrutiny include the police arresting and handcuffing a mother who drove to the school after hearing about the shooting to try and save her children.

The U.S. Justice Department announced that it will also conduct an investigation of law enforcement’s response to the Texas shooting at the mayor's request.

What Do We Know About the Uvalde Shooter Salvador Ramos?

Salvador Rolando Ramos, 18, was reportedly known for threatening violence and fighting in his teens. His classmates at Uvalde High School remember him as someone who abused animals (and would livestream the abuse on Yubo), was both a victim and perpetrator of bullying, and threatened women with sexual violence. Ramos had dropped out of high school prior to the shooting at Robb Elementary School.

While he did not have a known criminal record, Ramos allegedly sent multiple direct messages to several people before the school shooting that paint a picture of a disturbed individual. His classmates told the media that he boasted about guns and torturing animals on social media. Ramos’ Yubo account was suspended after several users reported graphic content and lewd threats.

At the time of the shooting, he was living with his grandparents. He reportedly had issues with his mother, who reportedly kicked him out of the house. Ramos had recently left his job at a local Wendy’s. A co-worker said Ramos often snapped at customers and fellow employees, who took to calling him “school shooter” because of his long hair and dark wardrobe.

How Did the Uvalde Shooter Buy a Gun?

Ramos was able to purchase multiple AR-15 assault rifles and ammunition within a matter of days of his 18th birthday. He reportedly purchased the guns from Oasis Outback in Uvalde and flaunted them on social media. Ramos also purchased 1,657 total rounds of ammunition. A total of 315 rounds were found inside Robb Elementary, consisting of 142 spent cartridges (fired bullets) and 173 live rounds (unfired bullets). Authorities also found total of 922 rounds on school property outside the building.

Law enforcement officials said Ramos purchased the guns legally. The AR-15 he used in the Uvalde shooting was a DDM4 Rifle manufactured by Daniel Defense, a company infamous for incendiary advertisements that have included kids.

In a social media post on May 16, 2022, a Daniel Defense advertisement carried this ad copy: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The ad included a young boy holding a Daniel Defense DDM4 AR-15. May 16, 2022 was Salvador Rolando Ramos’s 18th birthday. The next day, he purchased the same Daniel Defense DDM4 AR-15 that was in the ad.

While the right to carry a firearm is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, gun regulations differ in each state. Texas, for example, has some of the laxest gun legislation in the country. The minimum age to purchase a gun is 18. All a gun buyer needs to do is buy a license for about $40. The process, which is relatively quick, involves a criminal and psychological background check. Texans can also legally carry a handgun without licensing or training in accordance with a law signed last year by Governor Greg Abbott.

Who Could Face Liability in School Shooting at Robb Elementary?

One of the things legal experts have discussed in the wake of this tragedy is liability: who may be liable for failing to stop or prevent this tragedy?

Some have said the police department should be held liable for failing to act to protect school children and teachers. Many people have expressed anger that law enforcement did not confront the shooter sooner. The law generally protects police departments from legal action under a doctrine known as sovereign immunity. Unless they are actively creating danger in a perilous situation, law enforcement officials are generally protected by sovereign immunity, even if they fail to intervene in an active shooter situation.

However, law enforcement officials were also seen in videos on social media stopping parents from entering the building to try and save their children. This and other factors could come into play in a legal case.

The school and school district may also be held liable for creating an unsafe condition that allowed the shooter to easily walk into the classrooms. Were any preventative safety protocols violated? If so, this might be a legal avenue for claims.

Previous school shootings have sparked lawsuits against police departments, school districts, government entities, and gun manufacturers. In March of 2022, the U.S. Justice Department settled dozens of cases stemming from the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida for $127.5 million. The families accused the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of negligence, saying the bureau had received tips about the shooter but failed to intervene and prevent the violence. The government admitted no wrongdoing.

Following the Sandy Hook school shooting, families pursued legal cases against gun manufacturer Remington, alleging the company was irresponsible in marketing its AR-15 weapons to at-risk young people. According to the lawsuits, Remington improperly marketed its assault rifles, including with its weapons appearing in “Call of Duty,” a video game the Sandy Hook killer frequently played.

Remington denied the allegations but later settled with Sandy Hook families for $73 million.

The shooter in Uvalde purchased a Daniel Defense AR-15 rifle. Daniel Defense is a controversial gun maker that has employed questionable marketing tactics, invoking popular video games like “Call of Duty” in advertisements. Other ads have featured “Star Wars” characters, Santa Claus, and even young children. The through line for many of the company’s ads, according the New York Times, is that the messages are likely to appeal to teenagers. This kind of incendiary advertising has helped the company grow into one of the largest privately owned gun manufacturers in the U.S. According to the New York Times:

“Daniel Defense’s strategy seems to have been effective. Its sales have soared, in part because of its successful targeting of young customers like Salvador Ramos, the gunman in Texas. Mr. Ramos, whom the authorities killed on Tuesday, was a “Call of Duty” video game enthusiast and appears to have bought his assault rifle directly from Daniel Defense, less than a week after turning 18.”

In an interview with Forbes, Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel remarked that sales surged after Sandy Hook:

“The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 drove a lot of sales. That was a horrible event and we don’t use those kinds of terrible things to drive sales but when people see politicians start talking about gun control, they have this fear and they go out and buy guns.”

Before the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Daniel Defense guns were used in at least one other mass shooting. In 2017, the Las Vegas shooter had four Daniel Defense rifles in his hotel room. The gunman killed 59 people at a music festival in what became one of the deadliest shootings in American history.

After the Robb Elementary school shooting, Daniel Defense’s website ran a pop-up “thoughts and prayers” message to the Uvalde community. After clicking past the ad, the company showcased a promotion encased by bullets detailing an enter-to-win sweepstakes for $15,000 worth of guns or ammunition.

Useful Resources for School Shooting Victims and Their Families

Uvalde School Shooting Lawsuit

Victims of such an unspeakable tragedy will be forced to confront numerous questions as they grieve: How could something like this have happened? What could have been done to stop or prevent this?

While the answers to these and other questions will no doubt bring with them feelings of anger, sadness, trauma, and grief, these Uvalde families have the right to know the truth about this tragedy. These families deserve to know what, if any, failures played a role in this tragedy, and they need to be able to hold any entity accountable for those failures.

Hiring an experienced lawyer dedicated to providing compassionate advocacy will help anyone harmed by this shooting get the answers they need and the accountability they deserve. This isn’t just about making sure that victims are compensated, it’s about sending a message that the kids harmed in the Uvalde school shooting deserved better, that school kids throughout the country deserve better than the status quo when it comes to stopping and preventing gun violence.

Texas attorney Stephanie Sherman is leading this litigation for Baum Hedlund. With her unique background in both psychology and law, Stephanie is well-known throughout her home state for understanding the complexities of trauma and being a champion for the nation’s most vulnerable. Her ceaseless advocacy in high-stakes personal injury and wrongful death litigation has resulted in verdicts and settlements worth hundreds of millions.

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