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2019 El Paso shooting: El Paso gun attack leaves 20 dead (Updated)

2019 El Paso shooting: El Paso gun attack leaves 20 dead

On August 3, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, United States. A gunman shot and killed 22 people and injured 24 others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.

Patrick Crusius is accused of killing 22 people in a shooting that targeted Mexicans in Texas.

Federal prosecutors announced the charges against Crusius, of Allen, Texas, at a Thursday news conference in El Paso. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) will consult with the defense and victims’ families before deciding if they will pursue a death penalty. Ultimately, the decision is up to Attorney General William Barr.
The DOJ will prosecute on a parallel track with state officials. Crusius faces the death penalty on a state capital murder charge to which he pleaded not guilty last year.

Hate crime charges show members of targeted communities that “they are valued, that their protection matters, and then we will protect them and their rights,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ Civil Rights Division.

El Paso shooting: People in our nation have the right to go to a store on a Saturday morning without fear that they will be shot and killed because of who they are or where they’re from,” Dreiband said.

President Donald Trump has made cracking down on immigration a hallmark of his administration, and the polarising topic makes headlines around the world.

Eight Mexican nationals were among the victims, and the indictment accuses Crusius of targeting people because of their “actual and perceived national origin.” The Walmart store is popular with shoppers from nearby Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, just on the other side of the Rio Grande River from El Paso.

David Lane, a Colorado-based lawyer representing Crusius in the federal case, said Thursday morning that he had not yet seen the indictment but hopes federal prosecutors do not seek his client’s execution.

“Part of the evolution of our society involves understanding that justice is not synonymous with a vengeance, because vengeance disregards the essential humanity in all of us and brutalizes us all,” Lane said. “Part of my job here is to hopefully convince the Department of Justice that they are not the department of vengeance.”

In a statement issued Thursday evening, Crusius’s family said it was aware of the indictment and has been and continues to be mindful of “the immense pain and suffering of all those affected and touched by this tragedy.” Beyond that, the family said it would make no further comment.

Twenty people possess been killed and 26 injured in a mass shooting at a Walmart store in the Texas city of El Paso shooting.

Governor Greg Abbott described it as “one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas”.

Police are investigating whether the attack, which happened a few miles from the US-Mexico border, was a hate crime.

A 21-year-old man is in custody. Police said the suspect lived in Allen, Dallas, about 650 miles (1,046km) east of El Paso shooting.

He has been named by US media as Patrick Crusius.

CCTV images said to be of the gunman and broadcast on US media show a man in a dark T-shirt wearing ear protectors and brandishing a rifle.

CCTV images said to be of the gunman have emerged “El Paso shooting”

The Texas shooting is believed to be the eighth deadliest in modern US history.

It came less than 24 hours before another mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, and less than a week after a teenage gunman killed three people at a California food festival.

The police and FBI are investigating whether an anonymous white nationalist “manifesto”, shared on an online forum, was written by the gunman. The document claims the attack was targeted at the local Hispanic community.

The Walmart, which is near the Cielo Vista Mall, was full of shoppers buying back-to-school supplies at the time of the shooting.

US President Donald Trump described the attack as “an act of cowardice”.

“I know that I stand with everyone in this country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people,” he wrote on Twitter.

The victims have not yet been named but Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said three Mexicans were among the dead, according to Reuters news agency.

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“We as a state unite in support of these victims and their family members,” Mr Abbott said.

“We must do one thing today, one thing tomorrow and each and every day after this – we must unite.”

What happened?

El Paso Police shooting Chief Greg Allen said reports of an active shooter were received at 10:39 local time (16:39 GMT), and law enforcement officers were on the scene within six minutes.

The 21-year-old is the only suspect in custody and police say no officers fired their weapons while arresting him.

Mr. Allen said the ages of victims were “numerous” as he described the situation as “horrific”.

El Paso Police Department had earlier tweeted that blood donations were “needed urgently”.

Kianna Long said she was at the Walmart with her husband when they heard gunfire.

“People were panicking and running, saying that there was a shooter,” Ms. Long told Reuters. “They were running close to the floor, people were dropping on the floor.”

Ms. Long said she and her husband ran through a stock room before taking cover with other customers.

Kianna Long, right, spoke of the panic in Walmart El Paso shooting

Another witness, Glendon Oakly, told CNN he was in a sporting goods store in the nearby shopping mall when a child ran inside “telling us there’s an active shooter at Walmart”.

Mr Oakly said no-one took the child’s claim seriously but just minutes later he heard two gunshots.

“I just thought about getting the kids out of the way,” he said.

Shocked shoppers were ushered out of the area with their hands raised

Another witness, Glendon Oakly, told CNN he was in a sporting goods store in the nearby shopping mall when a child ran inside “telling us there’s an active shooter at Walmart”.

Mr Oakly said no-one took the child’s claim seriously but just minutes later he heard two gunshots.

“I just thought about getting the kids out of the way,” he said.

What has been the wider reaction?

The latest mass shooting has led to an outpouring of sympathy, but also fresh calls for gun control.

Walmart tweeted that it was “in shock over the tragic events” and was “working closely with law enforcement”.

The Texas attack is the second deadly shooting to take place in a Walmart store this week after an ex-employee of the company killed two former co-workers at a Mississipi branch on Tuesday.

Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon posted on Instagram: “I can’t believe I’m sending a note like this twice in one week. My heart aches for the community in El Paso.”

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke abandoned a campaign event in Las Vegas to return to his home town.

Earlier, he spoke at a labor forum, telling the crowd the shooting shattered any illusion that gun reform will “come of its own accord” in the US.

“We know that there’s a lot of injuries, a lot of suffering in El Paso right now,” he said.

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