22 killed in El Paso Walmart shooting near Cielo Vista Mall
The peace that El Paso is known for was bloodied Saturday when a gunman from out of town killed 22 people at a Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall, officials said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott revealed the death toll from the morning attack in East-Central El Paso during an afternoon news conference after he arrived in the city.
Police Chief Greg Allen said 26 people were injured. He said preliminary findings indicate the attack might be a hate crime.
Allen said the active shooter 911 call was received at 10:39 a.m. and the first police officer arrived at 10:45 a.m.
He said the bodies of those killed will remain at the scene until the investigation is completed.
Officials said the suspect was arrested at Sunmount Drive and Viscount Boulevard, near an entrance to the large shopping complex that includes Cielo Vista Mall, Walmart and Sam’s Club.
The shooter surrendered to police and only had one weapon, police said. They did not identify the type of rifle used.
Allen did not comment on a manifesto on Facebook that appears to have been written by the suspect, identified Saturday by two law enforcement officials as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas.
“This person did not come from El Paso,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said at the news conference. “It is not what we’re about. We are a special community and this would not have happened from an El Pasoan, I can assure you.”
El Paso has averaged 18 homicides a year in the past five years, statistics show. The death toll from Saturday’s shooting surpassed that in one day.
A video of the scene from Facebook captured the devastation.
At the start of the video, a woman runs toward the store, past a truck that a shopping cart has run into, with a body lying on the ground beside it.
Children were holding a fundraiser at the store and some reportedly were among the casualties.
At the front of the store, victims’ bodies are shown near a table that appeared to have items for sale. The body of a man in blue jeans and a blue shirt is seen on the ground near the table, lying on his stomach, seemingly dead, as a woman rushes over to help. Near him is a woman, taking cover between a garbage can and the wall.
A person is shown lying motionless to the left of the table, under a shade covering set up over it, as a woman tries to help. Nearby, by the wall of the building, a man lies on his side in a pool of dark blood, with a bandage on his back.
A voice tells him, “Try not to move,” adding, “Stay with me, OK?”
Wailing is heard in the background, as people tend to others lying injured nearby.
Police spokesman Sgt. Robert Gomez said police believe there was only one shooter. Police initially said there were reports of multiple shooters.
At a news conference Saturday afternoon, police said a white man was in custody. Officials said more than 1,000 shoppers were in the Walmart, as well as 100 workers.
The suspect was identified as Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, according to two law enforcement officials.
Investigators are reviewing recent social media posts in connection with a possible motive in the assault, said the officials, who are not authorized to comment publicly.
Officials said reports of attacks at other malls and locations were false.
They also said no police personnel rounds were fired during the attack.