North Texas Man Indicted For Capital Murder In El Paso Shooting
In El Paso, a grand jury indicted the alleged gunman who killed 22 people at a local Walmart. The North Texas man is charged with capital murder.
Police say Patrick Crucius, 21, drove 10 hours from Allen to El Paso to carry out the Aug. 3 attack targeting Mexicans. Investigators found evidence that the young man had recently posted a white nationalist, anti-immigrant screed online.
El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza says he’ll seek the death penalty. The federal government could still bring additional charges, including for domestic terrorism and hate crimes. Crusius remains jailed without bond.
Crusius' defense lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. Attorney Mark Stevens previously said he will use "every legal tool available" to prevent his client from being executed.
The El Paso County District Clerk's office said Crusius' indictment would not be publicly available until next week because it takes a few days to process and assign the case to a court.
The massacre was the first in a series of mass shootings last month that left dozens dead and, again, brought the debate over guns into the center of American politics.
Prosecutors have said Crusius surrendered to police after the attack saying, "I'm the shooter," and that he was targeting Mexicans. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that Crusius was the author of a screed published shortly before the shooting that said it was "in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas."
Federal prosecutors have said they are weighing hate-crime charges against Crusius that could also carry the death penalty.
Survivors of the El Paso attack have held vigils around the city, including outside of the jail in downtown El Paso where Crusius has been kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch.
Less than 24 hours after the shooting in Texas, a masked gunman began shooting in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring 27 more. These shootings were followed weeks later by another in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa , where authorities say one man killed seven people and wounded about two dozen others while firing from a car. Unlike Crusius, the gunmen in both those attacks were killed by police.
The recent mass violence has fueled anger among gun control and immigration advocates, and caused political blowback.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged weeks after the attack that "mistakes were made " when he sent a fundraising mailer encouraging supporters to "take matters into our own hands" and "DEFEND" Texas. Abbott has pledged to invest in a domestic terrorism taskforce and has suggested he would support an expansion of firearm background checks. He has resisted calls to regulate the sale of military-style rifles like the one authorities say Crusius used in El Paso.
Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick drew the ire of the NRA last week after expressed support for background checks.