US

Walmart Massacre in El Paso, Texas Probed as Domestic Terror Case: US Attorney

By Jack Phillips

One local official on Aug. 4 said the El Paso, Texas mass shooting that left 20 dead and more injured could be an act of domestic terrorism.

“We’re treating this as a domestic terrorist case,” US. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash tweeted after he held a press conference.

Bash said the suspect, identified in reports as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, could face federal hate crime charges and federal firearms charges.

“And we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is to deliver swift and certain justice,” Bash added.

Jaime Esparza, the El Paso district attorney, said the suspect was charged with capital murder, meaning his office would seek the death penalty, reported The New York Times.

“We are a good and loving community, but we will hold him accountable,” Esparza said.

El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said the shooter was being cooperative with investigators.

People arrive at MacArthur Elementary
People arrive at MacArthur Elementary looking for family and friends as the school is being used as a re-unification center during the aftermath of a shooting at the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, in El Paso, Texas on Aug. 3, 2019. (Briana Sanchez/The El Paso Times via AP)

“He basically didn’t hold anything back,” Allen said, but he didn’t elaborate, Reuters reported.

And Emmerson Buie Jr., the special agent in charge in El Paso, said that the FBI is already investigating the case as a possible hate crime and an act of domestic terrorism, the Times reported.

President Donald Trump said that the shooting was “an act of cowardice” on Twitter, adding, “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.”

Several local politicians said the gunman was an outsider, suggesting he had traveled hundreds of miles from the Dallas area to commit mass murder.

US-SHOOTING-EL PASO
Law enforcement agents respond to an active shooter at a Wal-Mart near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019. (JOEL ANGEL JUAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

But one official told Reuters that it is not clear how long the suspect might have been in El Paso before the shooting. Authorities did not offer a precise motive, but said they were examining a manifesto from the suspect that Allen said indicated “there is a potential nexus to a hate crime.”

“We are going to aggressively prosecute it both as capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is exactly what it appears to be,” Texas Governor Abbott told reporters.

Local television station KTSM-TV published two photos it cited from a law enforcement source saying there are security-camera images of the suspect as he entered the Walmart, wearing eyeglasses, khaki trousers and a dark T-shirt, and wielding an assault-style rifle.

He appeared to be wearing headphones or ear protection.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times