EL PASO, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott says 20 people were killed in a mass-shooting at an El Paso shopping center Saturday morning. El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at an Saturday evening news conference that another 26 were injured.
El Paso Police earlier said the gunman was taken into custody without incident Saturday after the massacre at the Walmart on the city’s east side. CNN reports three sources have identified the suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas. That’s more than 650 miles from El Paso.
CNN says a source indicated the FBI has launched a Domestic Terrorism investigation, based on an anti-immigrant manifesto the suspect may’ve posted online prior to the attack. Chief Allen said the FBI will be investigating whether the massacre was a hate crime. He did not confirm the suspect’s identity, but did confirm his age and Allen, Texas as his place of residence.
CNN reported two federal law enforcement sources and one state government source confirmed the suspect’s identity.
The suspect was arrested outside the Walmart store, near where the initial shooting took place, said Chief Allen. It’s near the Cielo Vista Mall.
He said investigators are aware of a manifesto that was put online, and working to determine if it was written by the suspect. Allen says he could not confirm the gun used was an AK-47, as some social media posts indicated. CNN reported that three Mexican nationals were killed and six Mexicans injured, according to Mexico government leaders.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Emerson Bluie Jr. said “we’re reviewing all the evidence we ‘ve collected so far, and pursuing extra leads.”
Thirteen people were taken to the University Medical Center of El Paso, where one later died, medical center spokesman Ryan Mielke told CNN.
Mielke told the El Paso Times some people died after being transported to the University Medical Center, but gave no specific number of deaths.
CNN reported another 11 people were taken to Del Sol Medical Center, according to spokesman Victor Guerrero. Dr. Stephen Flaherty said the patients were between the ages of 35 and 82.
At least two patients at Del Sol are in a “life-threatening predicament,” Flaherty said in a press conference.
Nine patients are in critical condition, Flaherty said. Two other patients are in stable condition. Seven patients required emergency operations and Flaherty said most of them will likely need more procedures in the coming days.
Governor Abbott asked Americans to “keep El Pasoans in your prayers.” He pointed out how people lined up to donate blood for the victims during the crisis.
El Paso Police Sergeant Robert Gomez said in an impromptu news conference at least two of the injured are children. The mall complex was crowded with back-to-school shoppers at the time.
The first shooting spree was at a Walmart, the second near the adjacent Cielo Vista Mall. El Paso Police initially fielded reports of multiple shooters, but later said that was incorrect. No shots were fired by any police officers.
There was no early word on motive for the shootings.
“The only information I have from initial reports is that it was a rifle (that was used),” said Sgt. Gomez. The make and model were not available yet.
The mall remained locked down for hours after the shooting spree, but the situation was no longer considered “active”, and there was no no threat or danger. Said Sergeant Gomez, “We have one person in custody…we believe he is the sole shooter, but that could change… We have cleared the mall area, we have secured Walmart…the reports are most of the victims are from Walmart, but I can’t 100 percent confirm that right now.”
Sergeant Gomez said the Walmart had up to 3,000 people in it at the time of the shootings.Several people were taken to two hospitals. The American Red Cross is on-scene.
The El Paso Police Department put out an alert that blood is urgently needed at area hospitals to treat the wounded.
Police at one point said that they had received reports of multiple shooters at the scene near the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. They added that the scene is still active and urged people to avoid the area.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.