El Paso, United States
VIJAY SHAH via sources/CNN
At least twenty people have been confirmed dead after a shooting in the Texan city of El Paso, the governor of the state in the US has stated, according to a breaking news report by the CNN network.
In addition to the dead, another twenty six were reported injured at the terrorist attack at a city shopping mall named Cielo Vista Mall, CNN stated. Reports came in on Saturday (4 August 2019) of an ‘active shooter’ armed with what was believed to be a rifle at 10.39 am local time, with the first police officer arriving at the scene six minutes later, sources told CNN. The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), sheriff’s officers and agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol also attended the scene.
Police arrested a 21-year-old man named Patrick Crusius, from the Dallas suburb of Allen, around 650 miles (1,046 kilometres) from El Paso. If found responsible for the atrocity, authorities say the suspect will be served with capital murder charges. Police and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) are not yet certain as to the motive of the shooting, but the possibility of a hate crime is being investigated.
Victims were reported to be from different backgrounds and age groups, CNN said, and many of the injured were visitors to the mall from Mexico, which El Paso lies adjacent to the border of. Shoppers were reported fleeing in panic, with families and store workers seeking refuge in storage rooms. Police officers managed to evacuate the shopping centre, and people were seen leaving the mall in droves under police escort, with their hands above their heads. Others were seeing lying face down in a car park next to an adjacent Walmart supermarket, CNN reported.
The Texas state governor, Greg Abbott, told a news conference: “Lives were taken who should still be with us today”
The city’s head of policing, Greg Allen, told CNN: “The ages and genders of all these people injured and killed are numerous in the age groups,”
“The situation, needless to say, is a horrific one.”
Allen also stated that the suspect in the shooting was carrying a document that alleged that the attack was carried out as a hate crime. The document was said to have been originally posted on the 4chan website and is said to be 2,300 words in length, and written from a white nationalist angle, littered with racist vitriol against migrants and the Latino/a community. The writer cites a fear that an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a “Democratic stronghold,” though he said “the Republican Party is also terrible,” because the party was in his mind ‘pro-corporation’, and therefore immigrant friendly. The document also is reported to have said that the shooting in El Paso was planned for a month beforehand, and that the author had their views long before the current national presidency.
“Right now, we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree a nexus to a potential hate crime,” said Allen.
The crime scene will “be in play for a long period,” Allen added. “Unfortunately, the deceased will remain at the scene until the scene is processed properly for evidentiary purposes to be gathered for later prosecution.”
Thirteen people were taken to University Medical Center of El Paso, spokesman Ryan Mielke told CNN, and one of them has died. Two children with non-life-threatening injuries were transferred to a children’s medical facility, Mielke said.
Eleven victims were transported to Del Sol Medical Center, the hospital’s spokesman Victor Guerrero said. Nine are in critical but stable condition according to the spokesperson.
At least two of the patients are in a “life-threatening predicament,” according to Del Sol Medical Center’s Dr. Stephen Flaherty. He said the patients ranged in age from 25 to 82. Two are in stable condition and seven needed emergency operations.
El Paso mayor Dee Margo said Saturday evening that the city would rise above this “senseless and evil act of violence.”
“We will be defined by the unity and compassion we showed in the wake of this tragedy,” he said. “United, our community will heal.”
The American president Donald Trump tweeted his horror and condolences at the attack, writing: “Terrible shootings in ElPaso [sic], 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!”
The president also said: “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice,”
‘I know that I stand with everyone in this country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”
“20 people killed in El Paso shooting, Texas governor says” – Dakin Andone, Hollie Silverman, Nicole Chavez, Josh Campbell, Evan Perez, Ed Lavandera, Paul P. Murphy, Artemis Moshtaghian, Kay Guerrero, Theresa Waldrop, Shawn Nottingham and Jay Croft , CNN/Cable News Network/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (4 August 2019) https://edition.cnn.com/2019/08/03/us/el-paso-shooting/index.html