El Paso Shooting: 20 Dead As Police Investigate If Suspect Deliberately Targeted Hispanics

There are also reports of a second mass shooting overnight in Ohio.

At least 20 people have been killed in a mass shooting in the US and police are investigating the possibility a 21-year-old suspect deliberately targeted Hispanics in what they describe as a possible “hate crime”.

Another 26 people were injured in the attack at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas on Saturday which was packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season.

“The scene was a horrific one,” said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, who added that many of the wounded had life-threatening injuries.

Two law enforcement officials identified the suspect in the El Paso shooting taken as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of the Dallas area. He has been taken into custody.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo has confirmed police are investigating whether a racist screed posted online shortly before the shooting was written by the suspect, the Press Association reports.

A woman reacts after the mass shooting in El Paso.
A woman reacts after the mass shooting in El Paso.
Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters

In it, the writer expresses concern that an influx of Hispanics into the United States will replace ageing white voters, potentially turning Texas blue in upcoming elections and swinging the White House to the Democrats.

The writer is also critical of Republicans for what he describes as close ties to corporations and degradation of the environment.

Though a Twitter account that appears to belong to Crusius included pro-Donald Trump posts praising the plan to build more border wall, the writer of the online document says his views on race pre-dated Trump’s campaign and that any attempt to blame the president for his actions was “fake news”.

Although 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.

In a tweet, President Trump described the shooting as “very bad”.

Democratic presidential hopeful Beta O’Rourke linked the attack on “President Trump’s racism”.

In the hours after the shooting, authorities blocked streets near a home in Allen, Dallas, associated with the suspect.

Officers appeared to speak briefly with a woman who answered the door of the grey stone house and later entered the residence.

Following the shooting, residents volunteered to give blood to the injured, while police and military members were trying to help people who were looking for missing loved ones.

“It’s chaos right now,” said Austin Johnson, an Army medic at nearby Fort Bliss, who volunteered to help at the shopping centre and later at the school that was serving as a reunification centre.

Adriana Quezada, 39, said she was in the women’s clothing section of Walmart with her two children when the shooting happened.

“I heard the shots but I thought they were hits, like roof construction,” she said.

Her 19-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son threw themselves to the ground, then ran out of the Walmart through an emergency exit. They were not hurt, Ms Quezada said.

The suspect, who used a rifle, was arrested without incident. Police believe he was the sole gunman but are continuing to investigate reports that others were involved.

The mass shooting in El Paso came less than a week after a gunman opened fire on a California food festival.

Santino William Legan, 19, killed three people and injured 13 others last Sunday at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival, and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Centre of El Paso, said 12 people were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one who died.


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