Police said 20 people were killed, 26 wounded, and a suspect detained after a mass shooting at a mall in the border town of El Paso, Texas.
Local media quoted Police Chief Greg Allen as saying that the victims were between two and 82 years old. The Mexican Foreign Ministry said three of the dead and six of the wounded were Mexicans.
Law enforcement officials identified the suspect as Patrick Crossius, 21, a white man from Allen, Texas, a northern Dallas suburb about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) east of El Paso.
Police said the shooting was being investigated as a hate crime.
“We now have a statement from this person indicating to some extent that he has a link with potential hate crimes,” Allen said during a news conference.
A “statement”, allegedly written by Croesius, was posted on the Internet about an hour before the shooting and included language complaining about the “Spanish invasion” of Texas. The author of the statement wrote that he expected to be killed during the attack.
Law enforcement officials learned of the extremist statement about an hour before the shooting.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who traveled to El Paso, told reporters, “We as a nation unite to support these victims and their family members. … We pray that God will be with those who have been affected in any way and bind them until their wounds.”
Police began taking calls at around 10:39 a.m. local time with multiple reports of shootings at a Walmart store and the nearby Cielo Vista Mall on the eastern side of town.
Sgt. Most of the shootings occurred at Walmart, where there were more than 1,000 shoppers and 100 employees, said Robert Gomez, a spokesman for the El Paso Police Department. Officials said many families were taking advantage of the sales tax leave to purchase back-to-school supplies.
“This is unprecedented in El Paso,” Gomez said of the mass shootings and the multiple injuries he said were life threatening.
“This is just a tragedy and I find it difficult to move my arms,” said de Margo, the mayor of El Paso.
Originally, Margo said, as well as several witnesses, there were several shooters involved. But the police said they believed there was one shooter.