El Paso shooting: At least 19 people dead, 40 injured, suspect in custody, police say

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Mexicans sue Walmart over Texas shooting that killed eight
Reuters
Published:
November 20, 2019
Updated:
November 20, 2019 8:34 PM EST
Walmart Supercenter on Gateway West in El Paso,Texas was reopened after an American flag atop the store was raised from half mast and a banner displaying "El Paso Strong" was unveiled on November 14, 2019.Getty Images
MEXICO CITY — Ten Mexican citizens have sued Walmart over the shooting at a store in the U.S. border town of El Paso, Texas, that killed eight Mexicans and left eight more injured, saying that Mexico did not do enough to protect its customers, Mexico said on Wednesday.
The suspected gunman told police he was targeting “Mexicans” in the August shooting, which killed 22 people in total.
Mexico’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the lawsuit, which was filed in Texas state court in El Paso County, aimed to hold the retailer accountable “for not taking reasonable and necessary measures to protect its customers.”
“Through this lawsuit, the petitioners seek justice not only for themselves, but also security for the general public,” the Mexican ministry said in a statement.
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A spokesman for Walmart said the company had yet to see a copy of the complaint and would respond appropriately in court.
Story continues below
“We will never forget this tragic event, and our condolences continue to go out to the everyone who was affected,” the company said in a statement. “Safety is a top priority and we care deeply about our associates and customers.”
The suit is being handled by the Law Office of Lynn Coyle, an El Paso-based firm, in coordination with the Mexican consulate general in the city. Lawyers at the firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It was not clear from the ministry’s statement what relation the Mexican plaintiffs have to the attack, though the ministry noted that Coyle works with victims of the shooting.
The ministry’s statement did not detail on what grounds the plaintiffs seek to hold Walmart responsible for the attack.
The carnage in El Paso, followed just 13 hours later by a mass shooting in Ohio, sparked a political outcry, with El Paso native and former Democratic Party presidential contender Beto O’Rourke demanding the mandatory confiscation of the assault-style rifles often used in mass shootings.
The Mexican government also condemned the shooting, describing it as an act of terrorism against Mexicans.
“The government of Mexico will continue to use all the resources at its disposal to prevent such incidents from recurring and repair the damages suffered by the victims,” the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
http://torontosun.com/news/world/mexicans-sue-walmart-over-texas-shooting-that-killed-eight
 

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U.S. won't seek death penalty for alleged Texas Walmart gunman
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Jake Bleiberg And Michael Tarm
Published Jan 17, 2023 • 2 minute read

Federal prosecutors will not seek the death penalty for a man accused of fatally shooting nearly two dozen people in a racist attack at a West Texas Walmart in 2019.


The U.S. Department of Justice disclosed the decision not to pursue capital punishment against Patrick Crusius in a one-sentence notice filed Tuesday with the federal court in El Paso.


Crusius, 24, is accused of targeting Mexicans during the Aug. 3 massacre that killed 23 people and left dozens wounded. The Dallas-area native is charged with federal hate crimes and firearms violations, as well as capital murder in state court. He has pleaded not guilty.


Federal prosecutors did not explain in their court filing the reason for their decision, though Crusius still could face the death penalty if convicted in state court.

The prosecutors’ decision could be a defining moment for the Justice Department, which has sent mixed signals on policies regarding the federal death penalty that President Joe Biden pledged to abolish during his presidential campaign. Biden is the first president to openly oppose the death penalty and his election raised the hopes of abolition advocates, who have since been frustrated by a lack of clarity on how the administration might end federal executions or whether that’s the objective.


The decision comes weeks after Jaime Esparza, the former district attorney in El Paso, took over as U.S. attorney for West Texas. Esparza said when he was district attorney that he would pursue the death penalty in Crusius’ case. A spokesman for Esparza’s office referred questions to the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., where another spokesman declined to comment.

Crusius surrendered to police after the attack, saying, “I’m the shooter,” and that he was targeting Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant. Prosecutors have said he published a screed online shortly before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Lawyers for Cruisus did not immediately respond to requests for comment. His case is set for trial in federal court in January 2024.


Although the federal and state cases have progressed along parallel tracks, it is now unclear when Crusius might face trial on state charges.

The district attorney who had been leading the state case, Yvonne Rosales, resigned in November over accusations of incompetence involving hundreds of cases in El Paso and slowing down the case against Crusius. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last month appointed a new district attorney to “restore confidence” in the local criminal justice system.

Federal prosecutors are still pursuing the death penalty in the case against Sayfullo Saipov, who is accused of using a truck in 2017 to mow down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path in New York City. Saipov’s federal capital trial began last week.

The decision to seek death in Saipov’s case came under President Donald Trump, who during his last six months in office oversaw a historic spree of 13 federal executions. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a moratorium on carrying out federal executions in 2021, but he allowed U.S. prosecutors to continue to seek the death penalty against Saipov while the department reviews Trump era death penalty procedures.

Tarm reported from Chicago. Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed.
 

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Texas Walmart shooting suspect to plead guilty to federal charges
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jan 24, 2023 • 1 minute read

EL PASO, Texas — The man accused of killing nearly two dozen people in a racist attack at an El Paso Walmart plans to plead guilty to federal charges in the case, according to court records filed days after the federal government said it wouldn’t seek the death penalty in the case.


Patrick Crusius is still charged in state court with capital murder and could still face the death penalty in Texas if convicted in the 2019 mass shooting that killed 23 people.


In a court filing Saturday, defense attorneys asked for a hearing to be set so Crusius could plead guilty to federal charges. He was charged with federal hate crimes and firearms violations.

U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama, in an order Monday, set the hearing for Feb. 8 in El Paso.

Crusius surrendered to police after the attack, saying, “I’m the shooter, ” and that he was targeting Mexicans, according to an arrest warrant. Prosecutors have said he published a screed online shortly before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
 

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Texas Walmart massacre suspect pleads guilty to U.S. hate crimes
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Brad Brooks
Published Feb 08, 2023 • 2 minute read

A Texas man accused of targeting Latinos during a 2019 massacre of 23 people at an El Paso Walmart store pleaded guilty on Wednesday to federal hate crimes, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office prosecuting the case.


Patrick Crusius, 24, changed his plea to guilty during a hearing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas after federal prosecutors said they would not seek the death penalty.


Crusius faces life in prison on the federal charges. He still faces the death penalty on state charges in a pending trial.


Attorney General Merrick Garland said that Crusius, a self-described white nationalist, was convicted on 90 total counts, but that “nothing can undo the immeasurable loss” suffered by families of the victims.

“Today’s action makes clear that the Justice Department will not tolerate hate-fueled violence that endangers the safety of our communities,” Garland said in a statement.

Crusius’ attorney Joe Spencer told reporters after the hearing that Crusius had long wanted to plead guilty to the federal charges.


“He’s glad that it’s finally done,” Spencer said. “There are no winners in this case. He’s going to be serving 90 consecutive life sentences.”

Spencer said he could say nothing more, given a gag order that a state court judge issued and with Crusius still facing the state trial. No trial date has been set in the state case.

A Texas judge last year put off the state trial, saying that determining how to proceed would be affected by the decision from federal prosecutors on whether they would seek capital punishment.

Federal prosecutors say Crusius drove 11 hours to El Paso, on the U.S. border with Mexico, from his home in a suburb near Dallas, on Aug. 3, 2019, and fired at shoppers with an AK-47-style rifle inside the Walmart store. He surrendered to officers who confronted him nearby.

A racist manifesto that prosecutors say Crusius posted online just minutes before the shooting said the attack was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

Crusius pleaded not guilty in 2020 to 90 federal hate crime charges. Proceedings were delayed while prosecutors decided whether to pursue the death penalty.

In 2020, his lawyers argued that Crusius, then 21, had been diagnosed with severe, lifelong neurological and mental disabilities and should not face execution if convicted.
 

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El Paso Walmart gunman gets 90 consecutive life sentences, may still face death penalty
Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
By Morgan Lee and Paul J. Weber
Published Jul 07, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

EL PASO, Texas — A white gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in a Texas border city was sentenced Friday to 90 consecutive life sentences but could still face more punishment, including the death penalty.


Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, making it one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases.


Crusius, wearing a jumpsuit and shackles, did not speak during the hearing and showed no reaction as the sentence was read. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama recommended that Crusius serve his sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado and receive treatment and counseling for a severe mental health condition.

Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty for carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

As Crusius was led from the courtroom, the son of one of the victims shouted from the gallery.


“We’ll be seeing you again, coward,” yelled Dean Reckard, whose mother, Margie Reckard, was slain in the attack. “No apologies, no nothing.”

Police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with an AK-style rifle inside and outside the store. Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a racist screed online that warned of a Hispanic “invasion” of Texas.

In the years since the shooting, Republicans have described migrants crossing the southern U.S. border as an “invasion,” waving off critics who say the rhetoric fuels anti-immigrant views and violence.

Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set.


In the U.S. government’s case, Crusius received a life sentence for each of the 90 charges against him, half of which were classified as hate crimes. Attorney General Merrick Garland said after the sentencing that “no one in this country should have to live in fear of hate-fueled violence.”

Joe Spencer, Crusius’ attorney, told the judge before the sentencing that his client has a “broken brain.” He said Spencer Crusius had arrived in El Paso without a specific target in mind before winding up at the Walmart.

“Patrick’s thinking is at odds with reality … resulting in delusional thinking,” Spencer said.

Crusius became alarmed by his own violent thoughts, Spencer said, and he once left a job at a movie theater because of them. He said Crusius also searched online to look for ways to address his mental health, and he dropped out of a community college near Dallas because of his struggles.


The sentencing in El Paso followed two days of impact statements from relatives of the victims, including citizens of Mexico and a German national. In addition to the dead, more than two dozen people were injured and numerous others were severely traumatized as they hid or fled.

One by one, family members used their first opportunity since the shooting to directly address Crusius, describing how their lives have been upended by grief and pain. Some forgave Crusius. One man displayed photographs of his slain father and insisted that the gunman look at them.

Crusius’ family did not appear in the courtroom during the sentencing phase.


The attack was the deadliest of a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. linked to hate crimes since 2006, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.


Before the shooting, Crusius had appeared consumed by the nation’s immigration debate, tweeting #BuildtheWall and posts that praised then-President Donald Trump’s hardline border policies. He went further in his rant posted before the attack, sounding warnings that Hispanics were going to take over the government and economy.

Ian Hanna, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the government’s case, said Crusius had embraced the “insidious lie” that America only belonged to white people. “He wanted to eliminate a class of people,” Hanna said.

Tito Anchondo, whose brother Andre Anchondo was killed in the attack, called the sentence “the best it’s going to get” because it ensures that Crusius will be left to think about his actions in prison for the rest of his life.


“In a sense justice was served today and in another sense I don’t think anything is ever going to be the same,” he said.

The people who were killed ranged in age from a 15-year-old high school athlete to several elderly grandparents. They included immigrants, a retired city bus driver, teachers, tradesmen including a former iron worker, and several Mexican nationals who had crossed the U.S. border on routine shopping trips.

Two teenage girls recounted their narrow escape from Crusius’ rampage as they participated in a fundraiser for their youth soccer team outside the store, and said they are still fearful in public.

Margaret Juarez, whose 90-year-old father was slain in the attack and whose mother was wounded but survived, said she found it ironic that Crusius would spend his life in prison among inmates from racial and ethnic minorities. Others in the courtroom applauded Thursday as she celebrated their liberty.

“Swim in the waters of prison,” she told Crusius. “Now we’re going to enjoy the sunshine. … We still have our freedom, in our country.”

— Weber reported from Austin. Associated Press photographer Andres Leighton contributed to this report.
 

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El Paso Walmart gunman gets 90 consecutive life sentences, may still face death penalty
Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
By Morgan Lee and Paul J. Weber
Published Jul 07, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

EL PASO, Texas — A white gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in a Texas border city was sentenced Friday to 90 consecutive life sentences but could still face more punishment, including the death penalty.


Patrick Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, making it one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases.


Crusius, wearing a jumpsuit and shackles, did not speak during the hearing and showed no reaction as the sentence was read. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama recommended that Crusius serve his sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado and receive treatment and counseling for a severe mental health condition.

Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty for carrying out one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.

As Crusius was led from the courtroom, the son of one of the victims shouted from the gallery.


“We’ll be seeing you again, coward,” yelled Dean Reckard, whose mother, Margie Reckard, was slain in the attack. “No apologies, no nothing.”

Police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with an AK-style rifle inside and outside the store. Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a racist screed online that warned of a Hispanic “invasion” of Texas.

In the years since the shooting, Republicans have described migrants crossing the southern U.S. border as an “invasion,” waving off critics who say the rhetoric fuels anti-immigrant views and violence.

Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set.


In the U.S. government’s case, Crusius received a life sentence for each of the 90 charges against him, half of which were classified as hate crimes. Attorney General Merrick Garland said after the sentencing that “no one in this country should have to live in fear of hate-fueled violence.”

Joe Spencer, Crusius’ attorney, told the judge before the sentencing that his client has a “broken brain.” He said Spencer Crusius had arrived in El Paso without a specific target in mind before winding up at the Walmart.

“Patrick’s thinking is at odds with reality … resulting in delusional thinking,” Spencer said.

Crusius became alarmed by his own violent thoughts, Spencer said, and he once left a job at a movie theater because of them. He said Crusius also searched online to look for ways to address his mental health, and he dropped out of a community college near Dallas because of his struggles.


The sentencing in El Paso followed two days of impact statements from relatives of the victims, including citizens of Mexico and a German national. In addition to the dead, more than two dozen people were injured and numerous others were severely traumatized as they hid or fled.

One by one, family members used their first opportunity since the shooting to directly address Crusius, describing how their lives have been upended by grief and pain. Some forgave Crusius. One man displayed photographs of his slain father and insisted that the gunman look at them.

Crusius’ family did not appear in the courtroom during the sentencing phase.


The attack was the deadliest of a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. linked to hate crimes since 2006, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.


Before the shooting, Crusius had appeared consumed by the nation’s immigration debate, tweeting #BuildtheWall and posts that praised then-President Donald Trump’s hardline border policies. He went further in his rant posted before the attack, sounding warnings that Hispanics were going to take over the government and economy.

Ian Hanna, an assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the government’s case, said Crusius had embraced the “insidious lie” that America only belonged to white people. “He wanted to eliminate a class of people,” Hanna said.

Tito Anchondo, whose brother Andre Anchondo was killed in the attack, called the sentence “the best it’s going to get” because it ensures that Crusius will be left to think about his actions in prison for the rest of his life.


“In a sense justice was served today and in another sense I don’t think anything is ever going to be the same,” he said.

The people who were killed ranged in age from a 15-year-old high school athlete to several elderly grandparents. They included immigrants, a retired city bus driver, teachers, tradesmen including a former iron worker, and several Mexican nationals who had crossed the U.S. border on routine shopping trips.

Two teenage girls recounted their narrow escape from Crusius’ rampage as they participated in a fundraiser for their youth soccer team outside the store, and said they are still fearful in public.

Margaret Juarez, whose 90-year-old father was slain in the attack and whose mother was wounded but survived, said she found it ironic that Crusius would spend his life in prison among inmates from racial and ethnic minorities. Others in the courtroom applauded Thursday as she celebrated their liberty.

“Swim in the waters of prison,” she told Crusius. “Now we’re going to enjoy the sunshine. … We still have our freedom, in our country.”

— Weber reported from Austin. Associated Press photographer Andres Leighton contributed to this report.
Hang 'im high!
 

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Texas Walmart shooter agrees to pay more than $5M to families over 2019 racist attack
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Paul J. Weber
Published Sep 25, 2023 • 2 minute read

AUSTIN, Texas — A white Texas gunman who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in 2019 agreed Monday to pay more than $5 million to families of the victims.


Patrick Crusius was sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences in July after pleading guilty to federal hate crime charges following one of the nation’s worst mass killings. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama signed off on the amount that Crusius must pay in restitution.


Crusius still faces a separate trial in a Texas court that could end with him getting the death penalty.

Police say Crusius drove more than 700 miles from his home near Dallas to target Hispanics with an AK-style rifle inside and outside the store. Moments before the attack began, Crusius posted a racist screed online that warned of a Hispanic “invasion” of Texas.

Crusius pleaded guilty in February after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table. But Texas prosecutors have said they will try to put Crusius on death row when he stands trial in state court. That trial date has not yet been set.


Under the agreement between Crusius and the government, Crusius will pay $5,557,005.55.

In January, the Justice Department proposed changes to how it runs federal prisoners’ deposit accounts in an effort to ensure victims are paid restitution, including from some high-profile inmates with large balances. The move came as the Justice Department faced increased scrutiny after revelations that several high-profile inmates kept large sums of money in their prison accounts but only made minimal payments to their victims.

The 2019 attack was the deadliest of a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. linked to hate crimes since 2006, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University.

Before the shooting, Crusius had appeared consumed by the nation’s immigration debate, tweeting #BuildtheWall and other social media posts that praised then-President Donald Trump’s hardline border policies. Crusius went further in his rant posted before the attack, sounding warnings that Hispanics were going to take over the government and economy.