Uvalde shooter matched profile of kids treated ‘every day’

A Texas mental health expert testified Wednesday that the symptoms attributed to the 18-year-old Uvalde school shooter matches the profiles of kids “that we treat every day.”

Dr. Andy Keller, the president and CEO of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, said he could only go off of the media’s descriptors of gunman Salvador Ramos, but said his program regularly helps kids with similar situations.

Keller suggested that Ramos would have been a candidate for a multisystemic therapy program, which he said helps build the care-giving situation around a child by providing additional support from family, friends and other adults.

“He was never arrested, but we had lots of warning signs,” Keller said at a state Senate hearing in Austin. “He is the kind of person who exactly fits the profile of what we would see for multisystemic therapy.

“These are youth who don’t have a psychosis,” Keller continued. “They don’t have a more severe mental illness. What they really have is a combination of depression and some level trauma that leads to anger, and most importantly a lack of structure at home to have effective care given to them as children.”

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“We have success in well over half to two-thirds of the children,” Keller said. “The primary thing that differentiates whether we have success is whether we’re able to engage that family, and back them up and give them support.”

Ramos was living with his grandmother, whom officials say he badly wounded with a gunshot on May 24 before going to Robb Elementary School and killing 19 children and two teachers.

Keller’s comments came on the second day of the state Senate hearings for the Uvalde shooting. Multiple protestors with the group Moms Demand Action held signs advocating for gun safety outside the Texas Senate chamber on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath testified that Ramos, whom officials say was killed by law enforcement on the day of the shooting, had been “chronically absent” from school since 6th grade.

Tuesday’s hearing also saw Texas public safety director Col. Steve McCraw slam the police response to the shooting as an “abject failure.” He said armed officers waited for a key to the classroom that the gunman was in, but said the door couldn’t be locked from the inside.

“I have great reasons to believe (the door) was never secured,” McCraw said Tuesday. “How about trying the door and seeing if it’s locked?”

McCraw also testified that Uvalde school district police chief Pete Arredondo prioritized his officers’ safety over the children.

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