(QNN) – Twenty people were killed and 26 others were injured as a white man armed with an assault rifle opened fire at an El Paso shopping, in the US state of Texas, on Saturday, according to officials.
“The ages and genders of all these people injured and killed are numerous in the age groups,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said. “The situation, needless to say, is a horrific one.”
The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius, was arrested outside a Walmart store near the Cielo Vista Mall, eight kilometres from a border checkpoint with Mexico, according to authorities.
El Paso County records on Sunday showed Crusius was booked at the central jail in the city on capital murder charges. There was no immediate indication that he had an attorney.
Authorities said they were working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested. The “manifesto” includes passages railing against the “Hispanic invasion” of Texas and the author makes clear that he expected to be killed during his attack.
The first sentence of the four-page document also expresses support for the gunman who opened fire at two New Zealand mosques in March, killing 51 people.
The writing is filled with white nationalist language and racist hatred toward immigrants and Latinos. It blames immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs.
“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said.
Speaking to reporters, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “Lives were taken who should still be with us today. Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives and more than two dozen more are injured.”
He added: “We are going to aggressively prosecute it both as capital murder but also as a hate crime, which is exactly what it appears to be.”