Texas Walmart Shooter Agrees to Pay More Than $5 Million to Families Over 2019 Attack

The Associated Press
By The Associated Press
September 25, 2023US News
Texas Walmart Shooter Agrees to Pay More Than $5 Million to Families Over 2019 Attack
El Paso Walmart shooting suspect Patrick Crusius pleads not guilty during his arraignment in El Paso, Texas, on Oct. 10, 2019. (Briana Sanchez/El Paso Times via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas—A Texas gunman who killed 23 people at a Walmart in 2019 has agreed to pay more than $5 million to victims of the attack, according to an order signed by a judge Monday.

Patrick Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in July after pleading guilty to federal hate crime charges following one of the nation’s worst mass shootings. Court records show his attorneys and the Justice Department reached an agreement over the restitution amount, which was then approved by U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama.

There is no indication Mr. Crusius, 25, has significant assets. He was 21 years old and had dropped out of community college when police say he drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with a rifle inside and outside the store. Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a screed online that warned of a Hispanic “invasion” of Texas.

He once worked at a movie theater, a job that his attorneys have said Mr. Crusius was forced to leave because he was having violent thoughts.

Mr. Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Mr. Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set.

Under the agreement between the gunman and the government, Mr. Crusius will pay $5,557,005.55, according to court filings.

Dean Reckard, whose mother Margie Reckard was killed in the shooting, said he chose not to be included in the restitution and expressed doubt that someone sentenced to prison for life could actually pay millions of dollars.

“Nobody can ever bring back the people who were lost, including my mother,” Ms. Reckard said. “You can’t put a price on somebody’s life. We’re going to be without the people in our lives forever and he is just sitting behind bars right now, and he still gets to live so there is no winning anything here.”

Joe Spencer, an attorney for Crusius, and a spokesperson for the Justice Department did not return messages Monday.

In January, the Justice Department proposed changes to how it runs federal prisoners’ deposit accounts in an effort to ensure victims are paid restitution, including from some high-profile inmates with large balances. The move came as the Justice Department faced increased scrutiny after revelations that several high-profile inmates kept large sums of money in their prison accounts but only made minimal payments to their victims.

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