EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso County District Attorney said Sunday that the State of Texas will seek the death penalty for the suspected El Paso shooter, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.
- Suspect is from Allen, Texas
- Online document found in connection to suspect
- Expressed support of deadly New Zealand shooting
Two law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press, on condition of anonymity, identified him. Authorities did not release his name at a news conference but said he was arrested without police firing any shots. He is from Allen, which is a nearly 10-hour drive from El Paso.
The suspect was booked on capital murder charges, according to jail records. There was no immediate indication that he had an attorney.
Police say more than two dozen people were wounded in the attack at a shopping area about 5 miles from the main border checkpoint with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Many of the victims were shot at a Walmart.
"The scene was a horrific one," El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said, adding that many of the 26 people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
In a document that was posted online shortly before the shooting, the writer expressed concern that an influx of Hispanics into the United States will replace aging white voters, potentially turning Texas blue in elections and swinging the White House to the Democrats.
The writer was also critical of Republicans for what he described as close ties to corporations and degradation of the environment. Though a Twitter account that appears to belong to Crusius included pro-Trump posts praising the plan to build more border walls, the writer of the online document says his views on race predated Trump's campaign and that any attempt to blame the president for his actions was "fake news."
Though the writer denied he was a white supremacist, the document says "race mixing" is destroying the nation and recommends dividing the United States into territorial enclaves determined by race. The first sentence of the four-page document expresses support for the man accused of killing 51 people at two New Zealand mosques in March after posting his own screed with a conspiracy theory about nonwhite migrants replacing whites.
El Paso County is more than 80% Latino, according to the latest census data. Tens of thousands of Mexicans legally cross the border each day to work and shop in the city.
Trump visited 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.
Presidental candidate Beto O'Rourke stressed that border walls have not made his hometown safer. The city's murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, said the El Paso suspect was not on her group's radar. "We had nothing in our files on him," Beirich wrote in an email.
The shooting was 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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