Texas: At Least 20 Killed In El Paso Shooting; Suspect In Custody
At least 20 people were killed and one suspect was in custody after a mass shooting Saturday at a shopping mall complex in the border town of El Paso, Texas, police said.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas, according to the Associated Press. Dallas is about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of El Paso.
Police confirmed that 26 people had been injured in the attack.
Police began receiving calls about 11 a.m. local time with multiple reports of a shooting at a Walmart store and the nearby Cielo Vista Mall complex on the east side of the city.
Sgt. Robert Gomez, a spokesman with the El Paso Police Department, said most of the shootings occurred at the Walmart, where there were more than 1,000 shoppers and 100 employees. Many families were taking advantage of a sales-tax holiday to shop for back-to-school supplies, officials said.
“This is unprecedented in El Paso,” Gomez said of the mass shooting and multiple injuries, many of which he said were life-threatening.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told CNN, “This is just a tragedy that I’m having a hard time getting my arms around.”
Originally, Margo, as well as several witnesses, said there were several shooters involved. But police said they thought there was just one shooter.
“I can confirm that it is a white male in his 20s,” El Paso police spokesman Gomez said. “We believe he’s the sole shooter.”
Gomez said a rifle was used in the shooting.
A White House spokesperson said President Donald Trump, who was spending the weekend at his New Jersey golf club, had been briefed on the shooting and had been in contact with Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
Later, Trump tweeted: “Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!”
Abbott released a statement saying, “Today, the El Paso community was struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss.”
Abbott’s office said he was heading to El Paso.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who formerly represented the El Paso district in the U.S. House, said he was leaving an event in Las Vegas to return to the city where his family lives. “I just ask for everyone’s strength for El Paso right now — everyone’s resolve to make sure that this does not continue to happen in this country,” he said.
Saturday’s shooting came less than a week after a mass shooting at a festival in Gilroy, California, where three people, including two children, were killed and 13 others were injured. It was also the second fatal shooting in less than a week at a Walmart store. A gunman shot and killed two people and injured two others Tuesday in Mississippi, before he was shot and arrested by police.
El Paso, a city of about 680,000 people in western Texas, shares the border with Juarez, Mexico.