An 11-year-old boy shot and killed his teacher and wounded six others at a private school in the Mexican state of Coahuila. The boy, identified as Jose Angel Ramos, told his friends “today is the day” before opening fire.
The incident occurred last Friday morning at a school called Collegio Cervantes in the northern city of Torreon.
At 8:20 am, Ramos excused himself from class to go to the restroom. When he hadn’t returned after 15 minutes, his teacher went to look for him. She encountered Ramos as he came out of the restroom armed with two guns. He shot his teacher dead, then wounded another teacher and four students before killing himself.
The wounded are said to have been released from the hospital because their injuries were not life-threatening.
Ramos’s mother died years ago, and he’d been living with his grandparents. Officials and friends said he did not show any signs of behavioral problems at school.
“It appears the boy was influenced by a video game,” Miguel Riquelme, the governor of Coahuila, said in a news conference.
During the shooting, Ramos wore a T-shirt emblazoned with a hand-written logo for a video game called “Natural Selection.” The game, made by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, is a multiplayer shooter in which humans battle aliens. His attire mimicked that of the Columbine shooters (see photo above).
Although American politicians and special interest groups have often blamed video games for school violence, there is little evidence to support that theory. There is a link, however, between video games and aggressive behavior like pushing and shoving.
The shooting was particularly shocking in Mexico, where gun laws are strict. “Here you can’t go to Walmart and buy a pistol, like in the US,” said Javier Garza, a journalist from Torreon. “But probably you can get one on the black market with total impunity.”
According to The Washington Post, though Mexican gun laws are strict, homicides in Mexico have “soared to their highest levels in years,” with few crimes solved due to a corrupt justice system.
It is unclear what types of guns Ramos used, or how he acquired them. Ramos hid the guns in his backpack, and Coahuila state officials have said they will step up backpack searches at their schools.
“We never would have imagined that a situation like this could occur in our society,” a Collegio Cervantes school’s Facebook post stated. However, a similar event did occur in January 2017, when a teenager opened fire at his high school in Monterrey, killing a teacher and wounding several students.