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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Gunman Massacres 22 Shoppers at Packed El Paso Walmart

Shoppers were killed at an El Paso Walmart today during a busy back-to-school shopping Saturday, with the suspect traveling hundreds of miles across Texas to carry out the mass shooting.

The shooting suspect was identified as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas.

El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez said as many as 3,000 people were in the Walmart next to Cielo Vista Mall, a couple miles from the Mexican border, and the store was “at capacity” when the shooting occurred. Surveillance footage from the store shows a shooter in a black T-shirt and khaki pants, wearing eyes and ears protection and wielding a rifle as he came in the front door. He reportedly went aisle to aisle, shooting.

Gomez said police don’t believe there are any other shooters at this time. “As of now we don’t believe there is a threat, but we’re continuing the investigation,” he said. No law enforcement personnel fired their weapons taking the shooter into custody.

Twenty-one people were killed and 26 were wounded in the attack.

“The scene is a horrific one,” Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters, adding there was a “nexus to a hate crime.”

A social media trail from Crusius has been deleted, and a manifesto posted shortly before the shooting and circulated on message boards 8Chan and 4Chan is being studied by the FBI. That document begins, “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

“It’s helpful that he’s still alive … hopefully we can learn from the shooter so we can prevent these things in the future,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CNN.

Multiple reports of separate shootings in El Paso turned out to be false, police said, with Walmart the “only active location.”

“We’re in shock over the tragic events at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, where store 2201 & club 6502 are located,” tweeted Walmart. “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.”

President Trump tweeted, “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!” He later tweeted a news story citing his quotes, among other unrelated tweets.

Police said there is an urgent need for blood donations in El Paso, and so many people responded that it became a two-hour wait to make an appointment to come back later.

This story was updated on Aug. 5 at 1 p.m.

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Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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