Aug. 3 was supposed to have been just another Saturday for shoppers running errands in El Paso. But a far more sinister event ended up overshadowing that day when 22 people died there after a shooter opened fire. This week, federal prosecutors filed 90 charges against the man accused of the mass shooting.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old Patrick Crusius drove 659 miles from his home in Allen, Texas, to a busy Walmart in El Paso, and entered the store with an AK-47-style rifle. He killed or wounded nearly 50 men, women and children in the deadliest anti-Latino attack in modern American history.
Bob Moore has been reporting on the story for The Washington Post. He says the federal charges include 45 allegations of hate crimes, along with 45 counts of using a firearm in a violent attack.
The charges are connected with the death or wounding of each person shot.
Moore says a manifesto written by the man accused of the shooting specified his intent to kill people of Latino descent. He told police after the attack that he had come to El Paso “to kill Mexicans.”
“This is the deadliest attack of domestic terrorism in this country since the Oklahoma City bombing,” Moore says.
The shooter already faces state murder charges. Moore says the combination of state and federal charges could present complications for prosecuting him.
“Either the state or the federal government is going to have to step aside at some point and let the other jurisdiction take the case to trial,” Moore says. “I think that’s going to cause some confusion for the victims and the families.”
Both the state and federal charges carry the death penalty if he’s convicted. Moore says that means it could be two years before trials begin.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.