The Latest On The El Paso Shooting: Survivor Recalls Walmart Attack | KERA News

The Latest On The El Paso Shooting: Survivor Recalls Walmart Attack

Aug 6, 2019

A survivor of last weekend's mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso says his 15-year-old nephew was fatally shot as they tried taking cover in the store.

Octavio Ramiro Lizarde said Tuesday that he was standing in line to open a bank account when he heard gunshots. He was shot in the foot during Saturday's attack, which left 22 people dead.

Ramiro says he tried hiding with his nephew, Javier Rodriguez, in a manager's back room. But he says the gunman must have heard them and fired.

Ramiro is still undergoing treatment. Five other shooting survivors remain hospitalized with him at Del Sol Medical Center, including one in critical condition. Other victims are hospitalized elsewhere.

A Texas congresswoman says victims' families are already using an El Paso community center that was opened to help people cope following last weekend's mass shooting at a Walmart.

Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar says the center that opened Tuesday includes various government and mental health services. Reporters were not allowed to enter and it was unclear how many families were inside.

The attack on Saturday killed 22 people and wounded about two dozen others. A 21-year-old man has been charged in the attack.

Escobar says "a lot of children saw things that no human being should see" and stressed the importance of mental health care. She says she has spoken with Walmart officials about how employees of the El Paso store will be helped and compensated while they're out of work.

The man suspected of the El Paso shooting that and left at least 22 people dead has been assigned a public defender.

Court records show that San Antonio lawyer Mark Stevens was appointed Monday to represent Patrick Crusius, who is charged with capital murder in El Paso County. 

Stevens, a veteran criminal defense attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Authorities are investigating the massacre as an act of domestic terrorism and Crusius could also be charged with a hate crime in federal court. Authorities are looking into whether Crusius posted a racist, anti-immigrant screed on the internet shortly before Saturday's attack.

Crusius said in his application for a public defender that he has been unemployed for five months and has no income or assets.

The Texas border city still reeling from a weekend mass shooting in which 22 people were killed is opening a community center to help residents grieve.

El Paso officials announced Tuesday visitors to the center can receive counseling, travel assistance and financial support. Fire Chief Mario D'Agostino says anyone who needs to talk or who needs help moving forward from the tragedy is welcome.

The death toll in Saturday's shooting nearly matches the number of homicides El Paso had in all of 2018. 

Authorities say Crusius drove more than 10 hours to the border from his hometown near Dallas. A racist, anti-Hispanic screed was posted online before the shooting in the mostly Latino city of 700,000 people.

President Donald Trump will visit El Paso on Wednesday.