A 17-year-old cousin of the gunman responsible for the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, was arrested after his mother reported that he was trying to buy a gun and “do the same thing,” the authorities said on Monday.
The cousin, identified as Nathan James Cruz, 17, was taken into custody on Monday morning and charged with making threats to a public place and a family member, said Sgt. Washington Moscoso of the San Antonio Police Department.
Mr. Cruz’s mother notified the authorities after learning that her son had made statements that worried her, including that he would “shoot the school,” and that “school is starting soon,” according to an affidavit filed with the arrest warrant. Detectives later determined that the threats were serious enough to merit an arrest.
The affidavit said Mr. Cruz’s mother contacted the police after her daughter told her that Mr. Cruz said he was planning “to do the same thing” as his cousin, Salvador Ramos. Mr. Ramos, an 18-year-old Uvalde resident, fatally shot 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School with an AR-15-style weapon in 2022.
“She called the police because she was concerned of what her son was going to do,” Sergeant Moscoso said. The suspect’s mother and sister both made recorded statements at headquarters to a detective, the authorities said.
“God knows what could have happened,” he added. “Because she did the right thing, this individual has been arrested.”
He said investigators were able to confirm that Mr. Cruz is the cousin of Mr. Ramos, who was killed by law enforcement agents at Robb Elementary in the aftermath of the attack.
According to the arrest warrant, Mr. Cruz’s mother told that police that she was concerned about the threats because Mr. Cruz was “intoxicated” and because “they live near an elementary school.”
The document said the mother also “overheard a phone conversation the suspect made this morning in which the suspect attempted to acquire an AR-15 through an illegal private sale.”
He had threatened to shoot his sister in the head during his conversation with her, according to the document. “The suspect’s sister feared the suspect would act on his threat and was placed in fear of serious bodily injury or death.”
Confronted by the police, Mr. Cruz denied making “any threats,” according to the warrant.
A lawyer for Mr. Cruz could not be reached for comment on Monday.
The arrest was not the first associated with the Uvalde gunman’s family since the tragedy. Mr. Ramos’s mother, Adriana Martinez Reyes, was arrested in January after she threatened to kill the man she was living with in Oklahoma, according to a police report.
Investigations into the shooting at Robb Elementary are ongoing, with many of the inquiries focused on the slow police response that led to a 73-minute delay before officers confronted and killed Mr. Ramos at the school.
In the months since, the families of the victims have organized marches and attended city and state government meetings to demand accountability, often not focusing on the gunman himself. Kimberly Mata-Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter, Alexandria Rubio, known as Lexi, was killed in the shooting, announced last month that she was running for mayor.
Kirsten Noyes contributed research.