A Texas man who carried out the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019, killing 23 people and injuring 22 more, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to a 90-count indictment, including 45 counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and 45 counts of using a firearm during and in relation to crimes of violence.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, the defendant, Patrick Wood Crusius, 24, has agreed to accept 90 consecutive life sentences, one for each count in the indictment. The guilty plea included 23 counts for hate crime acts that resulted in the deaths of Andre Anchondo, Jordan Anchondo, Arturo Benavides, Jorge Calvillo Garcia, Guillermo Garcia, Leonardo Campos, Angelina Englisbee, Maria Flores, Raul Flores, Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, Alexander Hoffmann, David Johnson, Luis Alfonso Juarez, Maria Legarreta Rothe, Maribel Loya Hernandez, Ivan Filiberto Manzano, Gloria Irma Marquez, Elsa Mendoza Marquez, Margie Reckard, Sara Regalado Monreal, Javier Amir Rodriguez, Teresa Sanchez, and Juan Velasquez.
The plea also included 22 hate crime acts that caused bodily injury and involved attempts to kill 22 people injured in the shooting. In addition to the hate crimes, the defendant pleaded guilty to 45 firearms violations, 23 counts of using a firearm in a federal crime of violence resulting in death, and 22 counts of using a firearm in a federal crime of violence.
“Today, the Justice Department secured the guilty plea of Patrick Wood Crusius, a self-described white nationalist, for federal hate crime and firearms offenses in connection with the deadly mass shooting targeting people perceived to be Hispanic immigrants at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in 2019,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “Nothing can undo the immeasurable loss suffered by the loved ones of the victims of that attack or the terror inflicted on the El Paso community in its wake. Today’s action makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate hate-fueled violence that endangers the safety of our communities.”
“Today’s guilty plea marks one more step towards justice for the El Paso community; however, we must remember that the survivors and victims’ families will be on a lifelong journey of healing because of this defendant’s actions,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the Hispanic community who had their sense of security shattered by this heinous attack. The FBI will continue to seek justice for all those whose civil rights and safety are threatened by hate.”
“White nationalist-fueled violence has no place in our society today,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “This senseless massacre violates the law, runs contrary to our values as Americans and defies the principles of tolerance and inclusion that define us as a nation. By pleading guilty, the defendant has admitted that he murdered innocent people based on their national origin and targeted Hispanics. The Justice Department will continue to use every tool at its disposal to combat hate crimes, hold perpetrators accountable, and seek justice for the victims and survivors. This guilty plea cannot bring back those whose lives were lost, or heal those still suffering, but it does put us firmly on the path to justice. Our hearts are with the victims of this horrendous crime, their families, and the entire community.”
“It has always been our intent to obtain proper justice for all the victims of the senseless El Paso shooting, their ever-resilient families, and the courageous community that continues to feel the pain of that day,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Leachman for the Western District of Texas. “We continue to stand in support of all whose lives have been impacted, and my hope is that this plea leads to a sentence that can serve as an example of how the United States justice system does not tolerate anyone who chooses to harm our loved ones and our neighbors, especially when motivated by hatred.”
According to the statement of facts agreed to and signed by Crusius and entered into the court record at his guilty plea hearing, Crusius admitted that he killed and wounded people at the Walmart because of the actual and perceived Hispanic national origin of the people he expected to be at the Walmart. He further admitted that he intended to kill everyone he shot.
Crusius also admitted he wrote a manifesto, titled “An Inconvenient Truth,” and uploaded it to the internet minutes before he commenced his attack. In it, he characterized himself as a white nationalist, motivated to kill Hispanics because they were immigrating to the United States. Crusius admitted to selecting El Paso, a border city, as his target to dissuade Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants from coming to the United States.
The FBI investigated the case, in partnership with the El Paso Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); the Texas Department of Public Safety; the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office; the El Paso County Office of the Medical Examiner; the Allen Police Department; and the Dallas Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ian Hanna, Gregory McDonald, and Patricia Acosta for the Western District of Texas’ El Paso Division and Trial Attorneys Kyle Boynton of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Michael Warbel of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section are prosecuting the case.
The U.S. District Court has not yet set a sentencing date.