Federal authorities have reported that they will regard the attack at the El Paso store as domestic terrorism. The charges of hate crime against the shooter might mean the death penalty.
On Sunday, less than a day after the attack in Texas, another shooting tragedy happened in Ohio. In the nightlife part of the town, Dayton, nine people died. The police killed this attacker.
Over 50 people sustained injuries in the two assaults,some of them critically, disturbing the nation which seems to be growing accustomed to regular gun violence.
A few days before the El Paso attack, an anti-immigrant, racist document appeared online. In turn, the investigators are focusing on discovering if the massacre was a hate crime. Now, the detectives are looking to determine if the author of the speech was the arrested man.
The city near the Mexican border has been a prominent figure in the ongoing immigration debate. It has approximately 680,000 residents, most of whom are Latino.
The El Paso killer opened fire on Walmart shoppers with a rifle. And the city’s police sergeant Robert Gomez has reported that the store was the only target. The shooting did not reach other shopping malls nearby.
Most of the victims were inside Walmart. Police said that all bodies were taken away from the parking place and the store by the next day.
Even though the initial reports mentioned multiple potential suspects, the police now believe that the arrested man was the only attacker.
The authorities identified him as Patrick Crusius (21). He came from Allen, a suburb of Dallas, nearly 10 hours by car from El Paso.
The police have arrested Crusius without firing a single shot, and he is in jail, held without bond.
Gomez reported that the assailant surrendered after officers confronted him on a nearby sidewalk. Police do not know exactly how many bullets Crusius fired nor why he stopped his attack.
The authorities do not know where the shooter purchased the weapon.
Greg Allan, El Paso Police Chief, acknowledged that it is, in fact, legal under the law of Texas to openly carry a long gun in public places.
Allen said that seeing such a weapon might alarm most people, but that, technically, the suspect was within the realm of the law.
Relatives of one young woman said that she had died in the shooting while protecting her 2-month-old child. Her husband lost his life as well.
Six Mexican nationals died in the attack according to that country’s officials.
Mexico has plans to pursue legal action against the U.S. for failing to protect its citizens. In order to own a gun in Mexico, you are required to obtain a number of special permits. Gun shops are also hard to find.
Federal authorities are looking for connections between the suspect and the content of the posted document. One of the links might be the writer’s concern regarding the influx of Latinos into the U.S.
He expressed fear that Hispanics would replace the aging white voters, eventually turn Texas blue, and swing the presidency to Democrats.
The screed’s writer also criticized Republicans for close connections to corporations and environmental degradation.
The Twitter profile, seemingly belonging to Crusius, features pro-Trump praise of the idea to create a border wall. Still, the person behind the online document claims that blaming the president for his decision would be “fake news.” He says that his opinions on race predate Trump’s political campaign.
The writer has denied being a white supremacist, but his screed says that “race-mixing” is ruining the U.S. nation. It also proposes that the country should be separated into racially-based territorial enclaves.
The very first sentence of his document shows support for the man who killed 51 people at mosques in New Zealand in March this year. The other attacker shared his own conspiracy theory concerning non-white immigrants replacing the white population.
El Paso’s Mayor, Dee Margo, said he knew the Walmart shooter wasn’t from the city. As the Mayor said, “It is not what the people of El Paso are about.”
More than 80% of the El Paso County’s residents are Latino and, every day, thousands of Mexicans legally cross into the city to work or shop.
Earlier this year, in February, Trump paid a visit to El Paso to argue that a border wall would make the country much safer. Beto O’Rourke, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, then led a protest march past the current fencing on the border.
O’Rourke has pointed out that the walls have not made the city safer. Before the border wall project has begun, El Paso was listed as one of the three safest cities in the country going back to 1997.
As a sign of respect to the victims of the shootings in Ohio and Texas, Trump has given the order to lower flags to half-staff.
The Dayton attack on Sunday marked the 251st shooting this year in the United States.