El Paso shooting suspect faces federal hate crime charges

News

EL PASO, Texas — The man accused of killing 22 people and injuring nearly two dozen more in a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, has been indicted on 90 federal charges, including hate crimes, court documents show.

Patrick Crusius has been charged with hate crimes resulting in death, hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, use of a firearm to commit murder and in relation to a crime of violence, and use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, according to the indictment unsealed Thursday.

Crusius has already pleaded not guilty to a state capital murder charge in the August 3 massacre — one of the nation’s deadliest shootings and the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern US history.

US Attorney John F. Bash, along with other federal officials, are expected to announce the charges at a press conference in El Paso on Thursday.

CNN has reached out to Crusius’ attorneys for comment.

Federal authorities previously said they were treating the case as domestic terrorism but have not filed any charges against the alleged shooter. Since a person can’t be charged with domestic terrorism, law enforcement officials such as the FBI have to find related crimes such as murder, illegal weapons possession and hate crimes in order to arrest and charge suspects.

Crusius has been in custody at the El Paso County Detention Facility since his arrest in August and is awaiting trial on the state capital murder charge.

El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza has said he intends to seek the death penalty. Capital murder is the most serious charge in Texas and prosecutors can use it when a defendant is accused of killing multiple victims.

“We support the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as one more way of holding the shooter accountable,” Esparza said in a statement on Thursday. “The District Attorney’s Office will continue to work hard to ensure that justice is done and that the shooter is held accountable by our community.”

Authorities say the suspect drove 11 hours from his hometown of Allen, Texas, outside Dallas, to El Paso with the sole intent of killing immigrants and Mexicans in the West Texas border city.

About 20 minutes before the massacre, the suspected shooter is believed to have posted a 2,300-word manifesto, titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” in which he employed white supremacist language, stated his opposition to “race mixing” and encouraged immigrants to return to their home countries.

The announcement of the federal charges comes just a few days after the six-month anniversary of the mass shooting in El Paso. The Cielo Vista Walmart reopened in November after a massive renovation and a large memorial for the victims now stands in the south end of the store’s parking lot.

Dozens of survivors continue recovering from severe physical injuries and many still see the bloodshed in the form of vivid nightmares. Numerous “El Paso Strong” banners are still in display through the city and a family put up 22 angels on their Christmas display to honor the victims.

Trademark and Copyright 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular Stories

Latest News

More News