At least 19 people died and another 40 were wounded in a mass
shooting at a shopping center in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, senior U.S.
law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation told NBC News.
The shooting happened at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall. The Walmart was at capacity with up to 3,000 shoppers during the busy back-to-school season, police said.
A 21-year-old suspect identified as Patrick Wood Crusius, a resident of the Dallas area, has been taken into custody, law enforcement sources told NBC News. Crusius is believed to have posted a document online before the shooting, law enforcement sources said.
Police said they believe there was only one shooter. Law enforcement previously had reports of multiple shooters.
El Paso police first received calls about a shooting at 10 a.m. local time. Multiple other law enforcement agencies, including the ATF and FBI, assisted El Paso police.
The area around the Walmart and Cielo Vista Mall has since been secured, police said. But authorities asked people to say clear of the area surrounding the Cielo Vista Mall. A reunification center for families has been set up at McCarthur Middle School.
Officials in El Paso said blood donations are “needed urgently” for victims transported to local hospitals.
Walmart expressed shock at the shooting and said it was praying for
the victims. The retailer said it is working closely with law
enforcement and would provide updates as appropriate.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott condemned the shooting as “a heinous and senseless act of violence.” The state has deployed troopers, special agents, Texas rangers, tactical teams and aircraft in a support role, Abbott said.
Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has cancelled all campaign events in Nevada and California and will immediately return to El Paso, his hometown.
O’Rourke expressed sorrow at the tragedy and asked everyone to “please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates.“
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the shooting in El Paso and has spoken with Attorney General William Barr and Gov. Abbott, according to the White House. Trump pledged the federal government’s support.
Attorney General Barr said “those who commit such atrocities should be held accountable swiftly and to the fullest extent the law allows.”