State and city officials said a gunman killed 20 people and wounded 26 others after he opened fire on a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.
“Texas mourns the people of El Paso today,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a news conference after one of the deadliest mass shootings in America. The death toll was the highest since 2017, when gunmen killed 58 and 26 people respectively in Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“The scene was horrific,” said El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen, adding that many of the wounded were seriously injured.
The name of the suspected gunman has not been publicly released, but two law enforcement officials have identified him to the Associated Press as 21-year-old Patrick Croceus from Allen, Texas. It was not clear what the suspect’s connection to El Paso was. Texas Rep. Jeff Leach said in a statement on Twitter that the suspect graduated from Plano High School in 2017.
More than a dozen law enforcement officials were spotted Saturday evening surrounding a home in Allen, about 26 miles north of Dallas. The group included agents from the FBI, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. A woman answered the door after a group of officers knocked on it. They seemed to be talking to her for a while and then she closed the door. After a short time the door opened and the officers entered.
Neighbor Alice Baland, who lives in four homes, told the Associated Press that a retired couple were living in the house associated with the suspect. She described them as nice people who regularly attend church.
President Allen said investigators were examining a statement that the suspect may have written that would refer to a “hate crime link,” but he declined to provide details. Allen said the suspect would likely face premeditated murder charges.
Allen said his administration received initial reports of the shooting at 10:39 a.m., and paramedics arrived six minutes later. Police have asked people to move away from the area and search for missing family members at a school used as a reunion area. El Paso Police Sergeant. Enrique Carrillo told reporters shortly before one o’clock. One person was under arrest and there was no longer an “imminent threat” to the area.
At a previous press conference, Sergeant in El Paso Police. Robert Gomez said the suspect was arrested without incident and no law enforcement officers fired their weapons. Walmart was close to capacity at the time of the shooting, with hundreds of shoppers inside along with 100 employees during the busy shopping season back to school.
“This is unprecedented in El Paso,” Gomez said.
Ryan Milky, a spokesperson for University Medical Center in El Paso, told Fox News that 13 patients – one of whom died in hospital – are being treated at the facility’s Level 1 Trauma Center. Milky told The Associated Press that two children, ages 2 and 9, were placed at the medical center before being taken to the nearby El Paso Children’s Hospital.
Del Sol Medical Center told Fox News that it has received 11 patients, nine of whom are in critical condition but stable and two in stable condition. The hospital said that the patients’ ages ranged between 35 and 82.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said late on Saturday that three Mexicans were killed in the shooting, while Foreign Relations Minister Marcelo Ebrard said six Mexicans were injured. Eberard identified three of the wounded: Mario de Alba Montes, 45, Olivia Mariscal Rodriguez, 44, and 10-year-old Erika de Alba Mariscal. Eberard added that the man and woman are from Chihuahua and that the three are being treated at El Paso Hospital. The other three wounded Mexicans are two men and a woman from Torreon, Coahuila state and Ciudad Juarez. Their names were not disclosed.
Residents were volunteering to donate blood to the injured in response to a police tweet saying that the donations were “urgently needed”, while police and military personnel were trying to help people looking for their missing loved ones.
“It’s chaos now,” said Austin Johnson, an Army medic in nearby Fort Bliss who volunteered to help at the shopping center and later at the school that was serving as a reunification center.
President Trump initially tweeted that there had been “horrific shootings in El Paso, Texas. The reports are very bad, so many deaths. Working with state and local authorities, and law enforcement. Talk to the governor to pledge full support for the federal government. God be with you all!”
Hours later, Trump tweeted that the shooting “was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know I stand with everyone in this country condemning the act of hate today. There are no reasons or excuses that would justify the killing of innocents. [First Lady] Me and Melania We send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas. “