Twenty people were killed in a shooting at an El Paso, TX Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall was the scene of an active shooter on Saturday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott said in a report from the Wall Street Journal. Two dozen more were injured. It is among the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, and the most deadly since the Parkland, FL school shooting in 2018.
Police said the shooting began around 10 a.m. CT; as of 2 p.m. CT, officials said the area was no longer an active threat. Police Sgt. Enrique Castillo said that there were multiple reports of shots fired, both in Walmart and in the mall, in a press briefing.
Many of the 26 people wounded have life-threatening injuries, said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. Twenty-three were taken to local hospitals, CNN reports, including 13 at the University Medical Center of El Paso, where one died, medical center spokesman Ryan Mielke told CNN. Eleven others were taken to Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Police officials said in a tweet that blood donations are needed "urgently."
Castillo told the press that the police had one suspect in custody, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from Allen, TX, a suburb of Dallas. He was booked on a capital murder charge, The Washington Post reports. The shooter, who was taken alive, reportedly posted a manifesto online that has not yet been verified by authorities.
Federal authorities are "seriously considering" hate crime charges, said John F. Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, per The Washington Post. “We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case and we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country,” Bash said, according to the Post.
The shopping center is 5 miles from a border checkpoint with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Twitter three Mexicans were among the victims, per CNN.
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said, "Our community will not be defined by this senseless act of violence."
Adair and I, with the rest of El Paso will pray for our victims and honor their memories together. Our community will not be defined by this senseless act of violence. #ElPasoStrong #MayorMargo https://t.co/S0Lh6fonIv— Mayor Dee Margo (@mayor_margo) August 4, 2019
According to Gov. Greg Abbott, the Texas Department of Public Safety and federal law enforcement were on the scene to assist local law enforcement. In a statement, Abbott said that Texas Rangers, troopers, special agents, tactical teams, and aircrafts were also deployed by the state "in a support role."
Statement on shooting in El Paso: pic.twitter.com/hsCXYGNLGg— Gov. Greg Abbott (@GovAbbott) August 3, 2019
President Donald Trump was briefed on the incident and tweeted his condolences.
Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2019
Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, said she was monitoring the situation as it unfolded.
Utterly heartbroken by the developing news in El Paso. Monitoring the situation and in communication with our law enforcement. Please stay safe.— Rep. Veronica Escobar (@RepEscobar) August 3, 2019
Former congressman and presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke, who resides in El Paso, urged the city to stay safe. And in a televised statement, O'Rourke announced he was returning to the city immediately. He held back tears as he discussed the shooting, saying, "We know that [there's] a lot of injury, a lot of suffering in El Paso right now, and I'm incredibly saddened, it's very hard to think about this."
Truly heartbreaking. Stay safe, El Paso. Please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates. https://t.co/BU0AH6Y8Rv— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 3, 2019
Walmart acknowledged the shooting in a statement, saying the company is "in shock" and working with law enforcement.
We're in shock over the tragic events at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, where store 2201 & club 6502 are located. We’re praying for the victims, the community & our associates, as well as the first responders. We’re working closely with law enforcement & will update as appropriate.— Walmart (@Walmart) August 3, 2019
This is a breaking news story. We will update with additional details as they become available.
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