Massacre at crowded Walmart
20 killed in Texas shopping center shooting
Published: 09:54 AM, 4 August 2019 Updated: 05:06 PM, 4 August 2019
Texas police rushed the spot during the shooting outside the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall
A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season on Saturday, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured.
Governor Greg Abbott called the incident in the Texas border city “one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas.” Police said authorities were investigating if it was a hate crime.
As residents of the southern border town of El Paso in Texas tried to absorb the full horror of what is being treated as a potential ‘hate crime’, fresh calls rang out to end the nationwide ‘epidemic’ of gun violence.
The suspect was arrested without incident outside the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen.
Two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius. El Paso police didn’t release his name at a news conference but confirmed the gunman is from Allen, near Dallas.
Many of the victims were shot at the Walmart, police said.
“The scene was a horrific one,” said Allen, adding that many of the 26 people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
It was the second fatal shooting in less than a week at a Walmart store in the US and comes after a mass shooting in California last weekend.
One suspect was taken into custody while authorities were studying an extremist manifesto was purportedly written by the gunman.
Footage shot on camera phones appeared to show multiple bodies lying on the ground in the store’s parking lot while El Paso authorities made a desperate appeal for blood donations.
Other footage showed terrified shoppers running out of the store as gunfire echoed.
More than 20 El Paso lost lives
“Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott told this at a press conference.
“We as a state unite in support of these victims and their family members… We pray that God can be with those who have been harmed in any way and bind up their wounds.”
Police chief Greg Allen confirmed that in addition to the 20 confirmed fatalities, there were 26 wounded.
Various news reports said the ages of victims being treated at hospitals ranged from two to 82 years.
Police said that Walmart was ‘at capacity’ at the time of the shooting, with 1,000-3,000 customers inside. After officials initially said three people had been detained, police confirmed that a 21-year-old from Allen, Texas, was the only person in custody.
“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” Allen said.
US media named the suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who is white.
The ‘manifesto’ purportedly written by Crusius that was circulated online includes passages railing against the ‘Hispanic invasion’ of Texas and the author makes clear that he expected to be killed during his attack.
Witnesses said the gunman appeared to be shooting at random when he opened fire around 10:30 am.
One woman, who gave her name as Vanessa, said she had just pulled into the Walmart parking lot when the shooting began.
Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 13 of the injured were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one who died. “Two of the injured were children who were being transferred to El Paso Children’s Hospital,” he said.
11 other victims were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Those victims’ ages ranged from 35 to 82, he said.
President Donald Trump tweeted, “God be with you all!”
El Paso has become a focal point of the immigration debate, drawing Trump in February to argue that walling off the southern border would make the U.S. safer, while city residents and O’Rourke led thousands on a protest march past the barrier of barbed wire-topped fencing and towering metal slats.
El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The shooting is the 21st mass killing in the United States in 2019, and the fifth public mass shooting. Before Saturday, 96 people had died in mass killings in 2019 — 26 of them in public mass shootings.
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