EL PASO, TX (KRQE) – Federal prosecutors are treating a deadly shooting at a Walmart Supercenter in a shopping center in El Paso on Saturday as a case of domestic terrorism.
Authorities have said that the 21-year-old shooting suspect who was taken into custody was “forthcoming with information” according to El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen. Texas Governor Greg Abbot confirmed in a press conference Saturday evening that 20 people were killed and 26 were wounded in the shooting.
The male suspect has been identified at 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, Texas. KRQE News 13’s sister station KTSM has confirmed Sunday that El Paso jail records show Crusius has been charged with capital murder.
Investigators are looking into whether the El Paso attack was a possible hate crime after reports that the suspect posted an anti-immigrant screed online just before the shooting.
Police say that reports of an active shooter at the Walmart at Cielo Vista came in around 10 a.m. Saturday. The suspect entered the store armed with a rifle, shooting shoppers ahead of the back-to-school season.
In a press conference around 3:22 p.m. Sgt. Robert Gomez with the El Paso Police Department stated that the Walmart and Cielo Vista Mall have been secured by authorities. Sgt. Gomez said he believes most victims were shot at the Walmart within the shopping complex and says the store was “at capacity” at the time of the shooting.
Saturday, Del Sol Medical Center said they had 11 patients at their location with ages ranging from 35 to 82 and that nine were in critical condition.
A reunification center for families has been set up at McCarther Middle School at 8101 Whitus. Anyone evacuated at the scene was taken to the middle school.
With social media, a lot of misinformation spread fast as authorities say there was only one shooter at this one location despite initial reports of the possibility of multiple shooters. They are still trying to figure out a timeline of events.
Police in El Paso say there is now an urgent need for blood donations as multiple people were transported to several hospitals. The Las Cruces Police Department has tweeted that blood donations will be taken Saturday and Sunday at the Mesilla Valley Mall near the Food Court.
Nonprofit community blood service provider Vitalant posted on their social media Saturday that it is encouraged to make an appointment if you’d like to donate blood. Click here to visit their website and make an appointment.
Vitalant says it’s given more than 200 units of blood to area hospitals a response they haven’t seen since the 9/11 attacks.
The FBI will be assisting in the investigation.
The El Paso community quickly responded with a vigil at churches and parks across the city. The El Paso Catholic Diocese hosted a prayer vigil Saturday night, honoring and remembering those killed in the mass shooting.
KRQE News 13 will provide updates as they are made available.