At least 29 people were killed as two mass murders shook the country over the weekend. In El Paso, Texas, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart near a mall Saturday. The mass murderer is believed to be Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man who is now in police custody. The gunman posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto online in which he said he was “defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion” — echoing the language used by Trump to describe migrants.
The El Paso attack came just days after another white male shooter attacked the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing three people, including a 6-year-old boy. Just before that shooting the gunman promoted an anti-immigrant manifesto online. It also came days after a Walmart worker in Mississippi shot and killed two fellow employees and wounded two others. Nationwide calls are growing for Walmart to stop selling guns and ammunition. The El Paso massacre is being treated as an act of domestic terrorism. This is U.S. Attorney John Bash.
John Bash: “The key factor here is it appears to be an intent to coerce or intimidate a civilian population. That’s met here. The attack, from what we know in the public record, certainly appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population. So we’re treating it as a domestic terrorism case.”
El Paso’s district attorney said he is charging the shooter with capital murder, which carries a possible death penalty. He could also face federal hate crime charges, which also can result in a capital punishment sentence.
Fredrick Brennan, the founder of the website 8chan, has called for his site to be shut down following the events in El Paso. The shooter posted about the attack shortly before it happened on an 8chan message board. At least three recent mass shootings have been announced on the site, including the massacre at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that killed 50 Muslims in March. 8chan’s network provider Cloudflare dropped the site following the shooting.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the attack a “terrorist act against innocent Mexicans.” Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who said seven Mexican nationals were among the 20 killed, said Mexico is considering measures to protect Mexicans who are in the U.S. He also said Mexico may charge the shooter in Mexican courts.
Democratic lawmakers are calling for the Senate to return from recess to vote on two gun safety bills already passed in the House.