At Least 20 People Killed and Dozens More Wounded in Mass Shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas
August 3, 2019
A suspect with ties to Collin County, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, was detained after the massacre, law enforcement officials confirmed Saturday afternoon.
At least 20 people were shot and killed and dozens more were wounded Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart packed with back-to-school shoppers in El Paso.
El Paso police chief Greg Allen wouldn't name Crusius but described the suspect as a "21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas."
Allen said the suspect possibly faces capital murder charges and possible hate crime charges if the FBI determines they are warranted.
The shooting was reported at 10:39 a.m. and police responded at 10:46 a.m., Allen said.
"There are so many victims, so many bodies inside Walmart," one person inside the store said after the shooting. "Hard to describe."
Crusius has lived in Allen and attended schools in Collin County.
A Plano ISD spokeswoman confirmed that a student by that name graduated from Plano Senior High School in 2017.
Confirmed photo of the shooter as he entered the Cielo Vista Walmart store taken from Walmart security cameras.
Allen police and media were at a home in Allen that was listed on Crucius' driver's license.
And WFAA-TV reporter Rebecca Lopez said that ATF and FBI agents in North Texas were searching homes and interviewing potential relatives of the suspect.
Police were called to the area around 10 a.m. after there were reports of shots fired at Cielo Vista Mall and the nearby Walmart, police spokesman Robert Gomez said.
Gomez said police "ruled out" that multiple people were involved after initial reports of more than one shooter.
Gloria King was in the Walmart buying school supplies for her 6-year-old son, Leon, with her sister, Sandra, when she heard a woman scream that there was a shooter in the building.
"Suddenly I could hear the shots, and it felt like the shooter, or shooters were right behind us," she said. "You heard, 'pop, pop, pop.' It felt like the person was just behind us."
For more than three hours, Richard Nuñez was locked inside the Sam's Club next door as he listened to police and ambulance sirens and parents trying to calm their children amid cries of "Nos van a matar" or "They're going to kill us."
"Everyone was in panic mode," he said. "I feel shaken up. I'm tearing up 'cause this doesn't happen in El Paso. Not in my city."
Nuñez had just moved back from San Antonio to El Paso, long considered one of the nation's safest cities. He works at a mobile company and had gone to Sam's Club on Saturday morning to buy food.
Shoppers are evacuated from nearby stores in the shopping mall complex on El Paso's East Side.
A University Medical Center of El Paso spokesman said multiple victims were taken to different hospitals.
The university hospital got 13 victims, two of them children, spokesman Ryan Mielke told NBC News. The children, ages 2 and 9, were transferred to El Paso Children's Hospital.
"This is a terrible tragedy and we are doing everything possible to treat and care for the victims and assist their families," hospital CEO Jacob Cintron told KTSM-TV.
An official from another hospital, Del Sol Medical Center, told CBS News 11 victims were taken to the medical facility.
Police set up a spot for families to reunite in the aftermath of the shooting at MacArthur Elementary-Intermediate School.
Blood centers in the city were overwhelmed with El Pasoans standing in line waiting to donate, responding to a plea from the El Paso Police Department.
— Alfredo Corchado (@ajcorchado) August 3, 2019
At the latest media briefing, the police spokesman didn't update the status of the victims or say how many people were killed in the shooting.
Agents from the FBI, Customs and Border Protection and state troopers were all at the scene, in addition to scores of El Paso police officers.
FBI, CBP, EP Police, fire Border Patrol, DPS all on scene near Wal Mart in El Paso. pic.twitter.com/DKHDROtJSZ— Julian Aguilar (@nachoaguilar) August 3, 2019
In a statement, Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting a "heinous act" and said the state will do "everything it can to ensure justice is delivered."
"While no words can provide the solace needed for those impacted by this event, I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in offering our prayers for the victims and their families," Abbott said in his statement.
The mall complex is near Interstate 10 on El Paso's east side.
Two witnesses told a photographer for the Texas Tribune that they ran out of the Walmart where the shooting took place. The man and woman, identified only as Lorenzo and Gabriela, said once they heard shots they became anxious to run away.
"We thought it was a fire. Then we heard gunshots and that's when we began to walk out more rapidly," Gabriela said. "We heard the shots close, so we decided to almost run."
She said they didn't see any dead bodies as they ran out. Once outside, Lorenzo said police arrived 15 minutes later.
In a statement, Walmart's corporate office said the company is working with law enforcement in the investigation.
"We are in shock over the tragic events at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso," the company said in its statement. "We're praying for the victims, the community and our associates, as well as the first responders who are on the scene."
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