A suspected shooter is in police custody following a deadly attack at the Cielo Vista Mall and the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, located just five miles from the southern border of the United States with Mexico. The suspect was identified as Patrick Crusius of Allen Texas, near Dallas, and described as a white male in his early twenties. He was taken into custody “without incident,” El Paso police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Gomez said in an afternoon briefing.
In a surveillance photo released by KTSM-9 News, the suspect was carrying an AK-47-type assault rifle, and was dressed in cargo pants and a black T-shirt. He appeared to be wearing yellow-tinted tactical glasses and shooting earmuffs.
Governor Greg Abbott announced at a news conference that 20 people were confirmed dead and 26 others — including two children — were injured after bullets began flying in the mall shortly after 10 am local time. The death toll had fluctuated for hours between 15 and 18, depending upon the source of the report.
Observant Jews were among the hundreds of others who stood patiently in line to donate blood by late Saturday afternoon, despite the 102-degree (Farenheit) heat and the customary Judaic prohibitions against drawing blood on the Sabbath, inasmuch as the sanctity of life — and its preservation — is valued above all in Torah law.
Two crime scenes were identified by police: the Walmart where most of the shooting took place, and the Cielo Vista Mall, where police were tight-lipped about whether there might have been a second shooter involved.
SWAT teams, Border Patrol officers, FBI, ATF and local police had all converged on the site within minutes, as did the long line of ambulances that transported the wounded to local hospitals.
Investigators were reportedly taking a look at a post believed to have been written by Crusius in the days before the shooting that may have relevance to the motive for the attack, according to CNN, but there has been no confirmation the post was written by the shooter.
President Donald Trump was briefed, and spoke with Abbott and Attorney General Barr. Trump vowed “total support” to those affected by the attack in El Paso.
Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2019
The governor, who had arrived in the city by mid-afternoon, also vowed to send the Texas Rangers and every other force necessary to provide support to those grappling with the tragedy.