El Paso shoot­ing sur­vivor’s story was fake, po­lice say

The Morning Call - - NATION & WORLD - By Tim El­frink

At a White House cer­e­mony on Mon­day honoring “he­roes” of re­cent mass shoot­ings, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump vividly de­scribed the ac­tions of one El Paso man. Chris Grant was “pick­ing out snacks for his kids” in­side Wal­mart, Trump said, when he spot­ted the shooter and quickly took ac­tion.

“Chris grabbed — lis­ten to this — soda bot­tles and any­thing else in front of him,” Trump said, “and be­gan hurl­ing them at the gun­man, dis­tract­ing him from the other shop­pers and caus­ing the shooter to turn to­ward Chris and fire at Chris, whereby Chris suf­fered two very se­ri­ous gun­shot wounds.”

Grant, 50, was wounded in the Au­gust shoot­ing, which killed 22 — but the rest of his story doesn’t add up, El Paso po­lice now say. Sur­veil­lance video of the mas­sacre showed Grant in “an act of self-preser­va­tion, noth­ing more, noth­ing less,” po­lice said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.

“It’s just that what he said is not truth­ful,” El Paso Po­lice Sgt. En­rique Car­rillo told KVIA. “We saw his ac­tions ... and it’s not like he de­scribed.”

The White House never checked out Grant’s story with El Paso po­lice, Car­illo told the Washington Ex­am­iner.

Al­though Grant trav­eled to D.C., he didn’t get his com­men­da­tion from Trump, who handed it to Grant’s mother in­stead. That’s be­cause the Texas man was de­tained by the Se­cret Ser­vice be­fore the cer­e­mony, ABC News re­ported, over an open ar­rest war­rant.

In a state­ment, the Se­cret Ser­vice con­firmed that “a White House vis­i­tor with an ar­rest war­rant was tem­po­rar­ily de­tained” Mon­day, al­though they de­clined to name the per­son. El Paso po­lice told ABC News that it was Grant, al­though it’s un­clear what charges he faces.

Grant’s fam­ily didn’t im­me­di­ately re­turn a mes­sage from The Washington Post late on Wed­nes­day. The White House also has not re­sponded to the El Paso po­lice de­part­ment’s al­le­ga­tions.

Grant first de­scribed his bot­tle-throw­ing brav­ery in an in­ter­view with CNN host Chris Cuomo days af­ter the Aug. 3 shoot­ing. Ly­ing in a hos­pi­tal bed with tubes sprout­ing from his nose, Grant choked up de­scrib­ing the at­tack.

“I saw him pop­ping peo­ple off,” Grant said. “To de­ter him, I started just chuck­ing bot­tles. I just started throw­ing ran­dom bot­tles at him. I’m not a baseball player, so one went this way and one went that way.”

But then, Grant said, one bot­tle got close enough to catch the at­ten­tion of the al­leged shooter, later iden­ti­fied by po­lice as Pa­trick Cru­sius, a 21-year-old al­legedly in­spired by anti-im­mi­grant ha­tred.

“That’s when he saw me,” Grant said. “He just — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom — just started fir­ing off rounds at me.”

Grant was hit twice near the rib cage, the El Paso Times re­ported. His fam­ily told the Times that he spent two days in a coma be­fore wak­ing up at the hos­pi­tal.

Grant’s story was widely shared af­ter Cuomo’s piece aired, and he later met Texas Repub­li­can Gov. Greg Ab­bott. On Mon­day, he was among five El Paso sur­vivors in­vited to the White House for an event that also hon­ored six po­lice of­fi­cers who re­sponded to a mass shoot­ing in Day­ton, Ohio.

“We wel­come 11 ex­tra­or­di­nary Amer­i­can he­roes,” Trump said to open the cer­e­mony.

Car­illo said that El Paso po­lice would have shared their con­cerns about Grant’s story, had they been con­sulted.

“No­body both­ered to check with us,” Car­rillo told the Ex­am­iner. “They would have been in­formed, as I am telling you now, that our de­tec­tives re­viewed hours of video and his ac­tions did not match his ac­count.”

The po­lice spokesman em­pha­sized that Grant hadn’t done any­thing wrong dur­ing the at­tack — he sim­ply hadn’t tried to dis­tract the shooter as he claimed.

“We are not de­mean­ing his re­ac­tion which are of basic hu­man in­stincts,” Car­illo told the El Paso Times.

AN­DREW HARNIK/AP

Don­ald Trump presents a cer­tifi­cate to Min­nie Grant, mother of Chris Grant, a civil­ian cel­e­brated for hero­ism.

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