The 21-year-old suspected of killing at least 22 people and injured others at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas wanted to stop a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” according to a political document police believe he wrote.
The massacre on Saturday was one of at least three mass shootings to kill and maim residents across the US in the past week.
But even among that horrific trio, the shooting in El Paso stood out as a domestic terrorist attack designed to inspire fear among Hispanic immigrants to the US. The killings took place at a spot along the US-Mexico border frequented by Mexicans and by a man who police believe posted a political document explaining his hatred of immigrants and race-mixing.
President Trump on Monday morning said the shooter’s manifesto was “consumed with racist hate.”
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” he said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
The suspect — who sources identified to CNN as Patrick Crusius — has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond, according to court documents.
He was arrested without incident Saturday after getting out of his vehicle and approaching police unarmed as they arrived at the Walmart. He has been cooperating with authorities, Gomez said.
Crusius was from Allen, a suburb of Dallas, and had no apparent ties to El Paso County, where 83% of residents are Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau.
For his target, the suspect chose one of the largest and safest cities on the US-Mexico border, a place central to the Trump administration’s hardline stance on immigration and a city that state Rep. Cesar Blanco called “ground zero” of the administration’s family separations policy.
During the shooting, shocked shoppers slid under tables, others ran for their lives, one mother shielded her infant from the spray of bullets while another ran away with her 7-year-old daughter.
As El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen walked into the shooting’s aftermath, the scene was “horrific,” he said.
“When I first got to this job,” he said, “I never knew there was an odor to blood, but there is … It will leave an impression that you’ll never forget.”
Mexico is looking into legal action
The Mexican government is looking into taking legal action against the United States after six Mexican nationals were killed and seven others were injured in a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard said Sunday.
During a press conference in Mexico City, Ebrard called the shooting an act of terrorism against Mexicans in the U.S. and said the Mexican government will look into whether there is enough evidence to solicit the extradition of the gunman to face charges in Mexico.
U.S. authorities have not publicly identified the shooter, but three sources told CNN the suspect is 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas. The sources were two federal officials and one state official.
Authorities also are investigating a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe the suspect posted on the online message board 8chan before the shooting. The 2,300-word document, which police called a “manifesto,” is filled with white supremacist language and racist hatred aimed at immigrants and Latinos. It blames immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.
In a video posted to his official Twitter page, Ebrard said what happened in El Paso was “unacceptable” and that “the first judicial actions” the government will take will be in accordance with international law.
“Mexico would like to express its utmost profound condemnation and rejection of this barbaric act where innocent Mexican men and women were killed,” Ebrard said. “We are outraged. We do not support the culture of hate.”
Ebrard also said Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador instructed him to take swift legal action in order to first protect the families who were affected and then “so that Mexico can demand that the United States protect the Mexican community in the United States.”
López Obrador confirmed earlier Sunday in a televised statement that six Mexican nationals were killed and seven were injured. The shooting at an El Paso shopping center left a total of 222 people dead and a number of others injured.
Ebrard urged the US to establish a “strong position against hate crimes” following the shooting. He also drew attention to gun control as a “crucial issue.” and announced that Mexico is investigating who is responsible behind the sale of “these assault weapons.”