Law enforcement agencies respond to an active shooter at a Wal-Mart near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. – Police said there may be more than one suspect involved in an active shooter situation Saturday in El Paso, Texas.
City police said on Twitter they had received reports of multiple shooters. There was no immediate word on casualties.
“Lives were taken who should still be with us today,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference near the Walmart and an adjacent shopping mall. Twenty-six people were injured, according to El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen.
“The ages and genders of all these people injured and killed are numerous in the age groups,” Allen said. “The situation, needless to say, is a horrific one.”
A 21-year-old white man from Allen, a suburb of Dallas about a 650-mile drive away, is in police custody, Allen said. Authorities are looking at potentially bringing capital murder charges against him.
The case also has a “nexus to a potential hate crime,” he said. “Right now, we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree a nexus to a potential hate crime,” Allen said.
FBI El Paso Special Agent in Charge Emmerson Buie said more investigative work was needed before determining whether there was a possible hate crime.
A source familiar with the investigative process said later Saturday that the FBI has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the massacre. It will coincide with the state inquiry and Texas authorities will take the lead in the case.
The dead included three Mexican nationals, according to a tweet from President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Six Mexicans were injured, Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard wrote on Twitter.
Two federal law enforcement sources and one state government source confirmed the suspect’s identity. The federal sources said investigators are reviewing an online writing posted days before the shooting that may speak to a motive.
The online posting was believed to be written by Crusius, the sources said, but that has not been confirmed. ‘This was a massacre’
The first call of an active shooter went out at 10:39 a.m. local time, Allen said. The first officer arrived on scene six minutes later.
El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez previously told reporters police were initially given multiple possible locations for the shooting, at the Walmart and the Cielo Vista Mall next door.
“This is a large crime scene, a large area,” Gomez said of the scene. Multiple agencies responded to the scene, including the FBI, the sheriff’s department, the state Department of Public Safety and Border Patrol.
The crime scene will “be in play for a long period,” Allen said. “Unfortunately, the deceased will remain at the scene until the scene is processed properly for evidentiary purposes to be gathered for later prosecution.”