US grieves for shooting victims

● Anti-im­mi­grant racist rant posted on­line be­fore 20 killed and 26 hurt


Melody Stout and Hannah Payan com­fort each other dur­ing a vigil for victims of the shooting at a shop­ping cen­tre in El Paso, Texas – one of two mass killings in the United States in less than 24 hours.

A man has been charged with mur­der af­ter 20 peo­ple were killed and more than two dozen in­jured in Texas.

The gun­man, armed with a ri­fle, opened fire in an El Paso shop­ping cen­tre packed with up to 3,000 peo­ple dur­ing the busy back-to-school sea­son.

Hours later, an­other shooting in Day­ton, Ohio, claimed nine lives. That gun­man was killed by po­lice.

Au­thor­i­ties were in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether Satur­day’s El Paso at­tack was a hate crime af­ter the emer­gence of a racist, anti-im­mi­grant rant was posted on­line shortly be­fore­hand.

The bor­der city has fig­ured promi­nently in the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate and is home to 680,000 peo­ple, most of them Latino.

Fed­eral au­thor­i­ties were treat­ing the at­tack as a domes tic ter­ror­ism case, ac­cord­ing to the US at­tor­ney.

Two law en­force­ment of­fi­cials iden­ti­fied the gun­man as 21-year-old Patrick Cru­sius.

Au­thor­i­ties did not re­lease his name at a press con­fer­ence but said he had been ar­rested without po­lice fir­ing any shots. He is from Allen, which is a ten-hour drive from El Paso.

The sus­pect was booked on cap­i­tal mur­der charges, ac­cord­ing to jail records. The dis­trict at­tor­ney said that of­fi­cials would seek the death penalty.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment was weigh­ing fed­eral hate crime charges that would carry the po­ten­tial for the fed­eral death penalty, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the de­part­ment’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing process.

Po­lice say more than two dozen peo­ple were wounded in the at­tack at a shop­ping area about five miles from the main bor­der check­point with Ci­u­dad Juarez, Mex­ico.

Many of the victims were shot at a branch of Wal­mart.

“The scene was a hor­rific one,” El Paso po­lice chief Greg Allen said, adding that many of the 26 peo­ple who were hurt had life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

Rel­a­tives said a 25-year-old woman who was shot while try­ing to shield her twom­onth-old son was among those killed.

Of­fi­cials said three Mex­i­cans were among the dead and six more were wounded.

Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for the Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­tre of El Paso, said 13 of the wounded – in­clud­ing one who died – had been taken to the hos­pi­tal.

Two of the in­jured were chil dren who were trans­ferred to El Paso Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, he said.

Eleven other victims aged 35 to 82 were be­ing treated at Del Sol Med­i­cal Cen­tre, hos­pi­tal spokesman Victor Guer­rero said.

Res­i­dents quickly vol­un­teered to give blood to the in­jured.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tweeted: “God be with you all!”

In a doc­u­ment that was posted on­line shortly be­fore the shooting, the writer ex­pressed con­cern that an in­flux of His­pan­ics into the US will re­place ageing white vot­ers, po­ten­tially turn­ing Texas blue in forth­com­ing elec­tions and swing­ing the White House to the Democrats.

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

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

The first sen­tence of the four page doc­u­ment ex­press es sup­port for them an ac­cused of killing 51 peo­ple at two New Zealand mosques in March af­ter post­ing his own screed with a con­spir­acy the­ory about non-white mi­grants re­plac­ing whites.

The shooting was the 21st mass killing in the US in 2019 and the fifth public mass shooting.

0 Shoes lost by peo­ple flee­ing the gun­man who killed nine peo­ple in Day­ton, Ohio, lie outside Ned Pep­pers bar yesterday

0 Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Beto O’rourke meets a victim

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