Salvador Ramos, 42, said he could have never believed his son would do something like this.
“I just want the people to know I’m sorry man, [for] what my son did,” he told the Daily Beast in an interview on Thursday. “I never expected my son to do something like that. He should’ve just killed me, you know, instead of doing something like that to someone.”
His 18-year-old son, also called Salvador Ramos, was shot dead by law enforcement officers on Tuesday after he barged into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and killed 19 children, all aged 8-10, and two teachers.
Before carrying out the massacre, Ramos shot his grandmother in the face because he had been arguing with her about the wifi bill. She is alive but her condition is reportedly serious.
Mr Ramos, who got emotional and broke into tears at times during the interview, said he was at work on Tuesday and found out about the shooting from his mother.
He said the realisation of his son’s death dawned upon him moments after he started making frantic calls to the local jail.
“They killed my baby man,” he said. “I’m never gonna see my son again, just like they’re not gonna see their kids. And that hurts me.”
He said he had no idea what was brewing inside his son and why he became so violent in the days leading up to the attack as he insisted that his son was “a good person” and “stuck to himself”.
Mr Ramos started to notice behaviour changes in his son recently but was unable to see him for a month as the junior Ramos refused to speak to him. Covid-19 and his work outside Uvalde also kept him from seeing his son recently, he said.
As his mother had cancer, he did not want to expose her to the coronavirus, Mr Ramos said. He added that his son was also frustrated with Covid precautions.
“My mom tells me he probably would have shot me too, because he would always say I didn’t love him,” he said.
Ramos had dropped out of high school because he was bullied at school for wearing the same clothes every day, his father said, blaming his son’s mother, Adriana Reyes, for not buying enough school supplies and clothes.
According to reports, the teenager had a volatile relationship with his mother. He had moved in with his grandparents because he “had problems” with her, according to Ramos’s grandfather.
Ms Reyes, meanwhile, told ABC News that her son was not a monster, but only aggressive at times.
“I had an uneasy feeling sometimes, like ‘what are you up to?’,” she told the TV station. “He can be aggressive... If he really got mad.
“We all have a rage, that some people have it more than others,” Ms Reyes added, while expressing sympathy for the children who were killed and their families.
Mr Ramos also said he was speaking out because he wanted his son’s story to be heard.
“I don’t want them calling him a monster... they don’t know nothing, man,” he said. “They don’t know anything he was going through.”
Mr Ramos himself has a lengthy criminal record, which includes one conviction for causing bodily harm to a family member. He said he does not have good relations with his daughter, who is in the navy, as she was upset with him for not spending time with the family.