At least 20 people killed in El Paso Walmart shooting

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to an active shooter situation at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday where at least 20 people were killed, according to local and national media reports.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that 20 people were confirmed killed, and 26 more were injured in the shooting, according to Fox News and NBC News.

One person was taken into custody, police said, adding that they did not believe there were other suspects at the scene or elsewhere. The suspect was identified by law enforcement agents as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old resident of Allen, Texas..

The city's mayor had previously told CNN that multiple suspects were in custody.

El Paso police and Dallas's branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the scene, which was reportedly next to the city's Cielo Vista Mall.

The El Paso Police Department tweeted after the shooting began that reports of multiple shooters were coming in and urged bystanders to avoid the area. The department out a call for blood donations on Twitter.

"Blood needed urgently. Multiple injured transported to various hospitals. Blood donation centers Vitalent Blood Services at 424 s Mesa Hills and 133 N Zaragoza," the department tweeted.

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), who previously served as the city's mayor and is currently running for president, tweeted his response to the "heartbreaking" tragedy as it was unfolding. At a press conference Saturday afternoon, he pledged to return to the city while it deals with the tragedy.

"Truly heartbreaking. Stay safe, El Paso. Please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates," he tweeted.

The White House released a statement Saturday afternoon that said President Trump was monitoring the situation.

"The President continues to receive updates from his national security team on the tragic shootings in El Paso. Federal Government personnel, including the FBI and ATF, are on the ground in El Paso actively assisting local authorities, who are leading the response to the shootings. The President has pledged the full support of the Federal Government to Governor Abbott," a White House deputy press secretary said.

In a tweet, Trump called the shooting "terrible" and pledged the federal government's support to El Paso's city officials.

"Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!" he tweeted.

Attorney General William Barr released a statement slightly later through the Justice Department, writing that the agency "joins in mourning" with the people of El Paso.

“The Justice Department joins in mourning with the people of El Paso, Texas. Those who commit such atrocities should be held accountable swiftly and to the fullest extent the law allows," he vowed.

Abbott, in a statement, thanked first responders at the scene and vowed that Texans would "unite in support of all the victims."

"Now in the beautiful city of El Paso. Texans grieve today for the people of this wonderful place. We unite in support of all the victims. We thank First Responders for their swift action. We ask God to bind up the wounds of all who’ve been harmed," he tweeted.

Walmart also released a statement following the shooting, tweeting that the company was "in shock" over the events in El Paso.

"We're in shock over the tragic events at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, where store 2201 & club 6502 are located. We’re praying for the victims, the community & our associates, as well as the first responders. We’re working closely with law enforcement & will update as appropriate," Walmart tweeted.

The mass shooting could be prosecuted as a hate crime after investigators discovered an anti-immigrant diatribe possibly connected to the suspect.

"Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates a possible hate crime," El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at a Saturday press conference.

Allen said investigators still need to validate whether the so-called "manifesto" belongs to the suspected shooter.

"We don’t want to taint the investigation by matter-of-factly saying things right now," Allen said.

The 2,356-word document outlined the political and economic underpinning for a premeditated attack, including the weapon and ammunition the killer would use.

El Paso, Texas, shares an urban border and deep cultural and linguistic ties with Ciudad Ju├írez, Mexico. The U.S. Census shows the West Texas city’s nearly 850,000 residents are 83 percent Hispanic. The Walmart the shooter targeted is just minutes from the border and is popular with Mexican shoppers.

A Facebook account apparently belonging to Crusius appeared to have been deleted Saturday afternoon. The account showed a young man in wire-frame glasses, with a pained expression in his profile photo.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post