Who is the El Paso shooter? Investigators search for links, motive in anti-immigrant screed – USA TODAY
A lone gunman went on a shooting rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, according to authorities.
The North TexasÂ man chargedÂ with capital murder for killing 20 people in a mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart might face federal domestic terrorism and hate-crime charges as investigators probe his suspectedÂ anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly before the attack.
Patrick Crusius, 21, was booked into the El Paso County Jail early Sunday morning on a charge of capital murder.Â He is accused of walkingÂ into a crowded Walmart on Saturday and targeting customers and employees, leaving 20 dead and another 27Â injured.Â
Investigators believeÂ Crusius posted aÂ 2,356-wordÂ “manifesto” that appeared on the anonymous message board 8chan less than a half hourÂ before the shooting. The four-page documentÂ shared widely online contains anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric, advocatesÂ a plan to divideÂ the nation into territories by race andÂ warns of an impending yet unspecifiedÂ attack.
âFrom the manifesto that we first saw, weÂ attribute that manifesto directly to him,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said Sunday afternoon.
Federal investigators, however, have not saidÂ whether they haveÂ linked Crusius to the manifesto.Â If hate is a factor in the shootings, federal authorities would bring those charges.
Possible additional charges: El Paso shooting suspect Patrick Crusius could face the death penalty; hate crime charges possible
TheÂ USA TODAY Network has examined the essay allegedly linked to Crusius’ Facebook page, which has been shut down. The document listed political and economic grievances and foreshadowedÂ a premeditated attack, including the weaponÂ and ammunition the killer would use.Â
Crusius was a 2017 graduate of Plano Senior High School, according to Lesley Range-Stanton, a spokesperson for Plano Independent School District.
He enrolled in Collin College in the fall of 2017, and he remained a student at the two-year collegeÂ this spring, according toÂ college officials.
“We join the governor and all Texans in expressing our heartfelt concern for the victims of the shooting and their loved ones,” the college wrote in a statement published on Twitter.
Crusius’ family members did not immediately return messages from USA TODAY.Â
Crusius, who livedÂ Allen, Texas, is accused of carrying out the attack at the Walmart across the state in the predominately Hispanic community of El Paso, Texas. It’s unclear why the shooter targeted the West Texas border city,Â which is located 650 miles from Crusius’ suburban Dallas home.
Stephanie Ward was among the neighbors in Allen who passedÂ by the two-story house, near a throng of media representativesÂ on a cool and overcast Sunday.
“I am in shock,” said Ward, who has lived in Star Creek neighborhoodÂ for about six years. “Itâs scary to know I could live so close to someone with so much hate in his heart.âÂ
What the manifesto said
The manifesto, if tied toÂ Crusius, could provide insight into hisÂ mindset before he carried out the attack.Â
Titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” the unsigned writingsÂ cited support for the Christchurch, New Zealand shooter who targeted Muslims at two mosques in March,Â a massacre that left 51 dead.
Police said the document cited an “Hispanic invasion” of Texas and the author stated he was against “race mixing” that he believes leads to “identity problems.”
The essay also lists cultural and economic justifications for the author’s views, assailing politicians from both parties and corporations and predicting automation will lead to widespread job displacement and a growing population competing for a diminishing pool of resources.
Crusius’Â Facebook and Twitter accounts were shut down shortly after the shooting.
Crusius’s father, John Bryan Crusius, who did not return calls from USA TODAY, is a licensed professional counselor who specializes in addiction recovery, according to his website and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Last October, the fatherÂ started a Go Fund Me effort on behalf of Eric Keyes, a friend and guitar teacher whom he said was shot and seriously wounded by a mentally ill person in 2012. The attack left Keyes unable to play the guitar and wiped out his business.
“Despite many attempts to raise student clientele, still ongoing, bills have mounted to all time highs with no additional help,” John Bryan Crusius wrote on the fundraising website.Â Â “At this writing, Eric is beginning to show outward signs of the mounting stress that has built all these years and I as his friend am genuinely concerned for his health and well-being.”
Terrorism and hate crime charges possible
As law enforcement continues to investigate the shooting and motive,Crusius’ could face additional federal charges. John Bash, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said his officeÂ will pursue the option of charging Crusius with domestic terrorism and a federal firearm charge. Such federal charges would be separate from the capital murder charge filed by local prosecutors.Â
The Justice Department also is considering federal hate-crime charges that would carry the death penalty.
Less than 24 hours after the El Paso attack, aÂ gunman in body armor opened fire at a Dayton, Ohio outdoor entertainment district, killing at least nine people before he was fatally shot by police.
Reporters Kevin McCoy reported from New York, John C. Moritz from Allen, Texas, and Robert Anglen from Phoenix contributed to this report.