AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday announced the creation of the Domestic Terrorism Task Force following a mass shooting in El Paso, saying it will help protect against statewide acts of extremism.
- Task force to meet August 30
- Aims to protect against statewide acts of extremism
- Will bring together federal, state and local officials
The shooting at an El Paso Walmart store on August 3 claimed the lives of 22 people and injured 24 more. The mass shooting is being investigated as an act of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.
"We're dealing with a white supremacist. We're dealing with racism," said Gov. Abbott.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: El Paso Shooting
One person was arrested following the shooting and charged with capital murder. Abbott said the new domestic terrorism unit will help “root out the extremist ideologies that fuel hatred and violence in our state.''
"It recognizes that there needs to be better information sharing between state, local and federal officials." -- former counter-terrorism strategist David Springer.
Springer said the task force will likely create what he calls "standardized reporting procedures" between various law enforcement and government agencies.
It is a strategy taken out of the international terrorism playbook that Springer said is now necessary here at home.
"We have to work with the world we're in and not the world we want," said Springer.
The new unit is separate from the roundtable discussions that Abbott announced last week to discuss gun violence. Details about those roundtables are expected to be released in the coming days.
Gov. Abbott also said Texas is adding more agents to gang investigations surrounding white nationalist groups. The task force will meet for the first time August 30.
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