Patrick Crusius

American citizen Patrick Crusius is the alleged gunman who carried out a mass shooting at Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019. The attack killed 23 people and injured 22 others. He was indicted on 90 federal charges, including dozens of counts of hate crimes.Robert Moore and Mark Berman, “Accused El Paso gunman charged with federal hate crimes,” Washington Post, February 6, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/accused-el-paso-gunman-charged-with-federal-hate-crimes/2020/02/06/5335db2a-b9ef-11e9-a091-6a96e67d9cce_story.html. He is being held without bond in El Paso County Jail.Cedar Attanasio, “El Paso mass shooting suspect pleads not guilty in 22 deaths,” Associated Press, October 10, 2019, https://apnews.com/3fd473325d17429784e91a3c8c7b3909.

Crusius grew up in an upper middle class home in Allen, Texas.Michael Biesecker, Reese Dunklin And Michael Kunzelman, “El Paso suspect appears to have posted anti-immigrant screed,” Associated Press, August 4, 2019, https://apnews.com/df6dc60f37664833ba3b953927ef835d. According to his LinkedIn page, Crusius described himself as not “really motivated to do anything more than what’s necessary to get by” and that he spent most of his day on the computer.Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Benner, “Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online,” New York Times, August 3, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/patrick-crusius-el-paso-shooter-manifesto.html. According to reports, Crusius was unemployed and recently moved out of his grandparents’ house at the time of the shooting.Christina Maxouris, Nicole Chavez, Eric Levenson and Amir Vera, “El Paso vigils bring together a city in mourning after mass shooting,” CNN, August 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/05/us/el-paso-shooting-monday/index.html.

On August 3, 2019, Crusius allegedly drove 10 hours from his home in Allen to El Paso, Texas, where he walked into a Walmart Supercenter. According to reports, he began opening fire in the store’s parking lot prior to entering the store. The attack killed 22 and wounded more than 20 others. Witnesses claim Crusius went aisle by aisle throughout the packed store.Michael Biesecker, Reese Dunklin and Michael Kunzelman, “El Paso suspect appears to have posted anti-immigrant screed,” Associated Press, August 4, 2019, https://apnews.com/df6dc60f37664833ba3b953927ef835d. First responders arrived within six minutes the attack. Among the casualties, 13 were U.S. citizens and seven were Mexican nationals.Tara Law and Josiah Bates, “El Paso Shooting Suspect Told Police He Was Targeting 'Mexicans.' Here's What to Know About the Case,” Time, August 9, 2019, https://time.com/5643110/el-paso-texas-mall-shooting/. Shortly after the shooting, Crusius fled the scene in his car and was stopped at an intersection, where he identified himself as the shooter and surrendered to El Paso authorities.“The Latest: Cops: El Paso shooter surrendered with hands up,” Associated Press, March 17, 2020, https://apnews.com/fb9da3b70601417ab9c93dd5e69005f0.

Minutes before the attack, Crusius posted a manifesto on 8chan’s politically incorrect board, an online message board known for attracting far right and neo-Nazi users, which was filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric.Erin Ailworth, Georgia Wells and Ian Lovett, “Lost in Life, El Paso Suspect Found a Dark World Online,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lost-in-life-el-paso-suspect-found-a-dark-world-online-11565308783. Entitled “The Inconvenient Truth,” the manifesto detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race and invoked a white supremacy theory known as the “Great Replacement,” which claims white people are being replaced by foreigners.Yasmeen Abutaleb, “What’s inside the hate-filled manifesto linked to the alleged El Paso shooter,” Washington Post, August 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/04/whats-inside-hate-filled-manifesto-linked-el-paso-shooter/. The manifesto also drew direct inspiration from the Christchurch shootings at two different New Zealand mosques in March of 2019.Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Benner, “Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online,” New York Times, August 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/patrick-crusius-el-paso-shooter-manifesto.html. In response to the Christchurch shootings, Crusius stated, “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic Invasion of Texas.”Tim Arango, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Katie Benner, “Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online,” New York Times, August 3, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/03/us/patrick-crusius-el-paso-shooter-manifesto.html.

Additionally, Crusius wrote that he hoped to kill as many Hispanic people as possible, claiming they were replacing native-born Americans and taking away job opportunities.Elizabeth Findell, “Accused El Paso Shooter Patrick Crusius Pleads Not Guilty,” Wall Street Journal, October 10, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/accused-el-paso-shooter-patrick-crusius-pleads-not-guilty-11570739840.; Erin Ailworth, “El Paso Prosecutors to Seek Death Penalty for Walmart Shooter,” Wall Street Journal, September 12, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/el-paso-prosecutors-to-seek-death-penalty-for-walmart-shooter-11568326013?mod=article_inline. He also claimed that automation will greatly reduce job opportunities for low-skilled Americans as corporations and businesses often prefer hiring immigrants who take on jobs for lower pay. He further chastised the government for environmental degradation which he believes can be counteracted if the United States had less people to consume resources.Yasmeen Abutaleb, “What’s inside the hate-filled manifesto linked to the alleged El Paso shooter,” Washington Post, August 4, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/08/04/whats-inside-hate-filled-manifesto-linked-el-paso-shooter/.

It is suspected that he targeted the shopping complex in El Paso because it is only five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border and the city has become a fixture in national dialogues concerning immigration.Michael Biesecker, Reese Dunklin And Michael Kunzelman, “El Paso suspect appears to have posted anti-immigrant screed,” Associated Press, August 4, 2019, https://apnews.com/df6dc60f37664833ba3b953927ef835d. Additionally, he wrote that he sought to attack “low-security” targets as a way to “fight to reclaim my country from destruction.”Michael Biesecker, Reese Dunklin And Michael Kunzelman, “El Paso suspect appears to have posted anti-immigrant screed,” Associated Press, August 4, 2019, https://apnews.com/df6dc60f37664833ba3b953927ef835d.; Christina Maxouris, Nicole Chavez, Eric Levenson and Amir Vera, “El Paso vigils bring together a city in mourning after mass shooting,” CNN, August 5, 2019, https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/05/us/el-paso-shooting-monday/index.html. According to federal prosecutors, Crusius carried out the attack as a way to scare Latinos into leaving the U.S.Cedar Attanasio, “Man charged in Walmart shooting appears in federal court,” Associated Press, February 12, 2020, https://apnews.com/b89bef3524360a94909945a0d3421db2.

According to law enforcement officials, Crusius would sporadically post online, using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to espouse xenophobic views. Crusius told investigators that he developed his extremist views by doing research online and by reading other manifestos posted on 8chan. Crusius’s family was unaware of his radicalization, however, when his mother learned that Crusius purchased an AK-style rifle, she called Allen police and spoke to a safety-resource officer who ultimately told her that her son was legally allowed to own a gun.Erin Ailworth, Georgia Wells and Ian Lovett, “Lost in Life, El Paso Suspect Found a Dark World Online,” Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/lost-in-life-el-paso-suspect-found-a-dark-world-online-11565308783.

On September 12, 2019, a local grand jury in El Paso indicted Crusius on capital murder charges. County prosecutors said they are seeking the death penalty for Crusius. On October 10, Crusius pled not guilty to capital murder charges in state court.Cedar Attanasio, “El Paso mass shooting suspect pleads not guilty in 22 deaths,” Associated Press, October 10, 2019, https://apnews.com/3fd473325d17429784e91a3c8c7b3909.

On February 6, 2020, a federal grand jury indicted Crusius with over 90 charges including federal hate crimes and firearm charges in connection with the murder of 22 people and the attempted murder of 23 others.“Texas Man Charged with Federal Hate Crimes and Firearm Offenses Related to August 3, 2019, Mass-Shooting in El Paso,” U.S. Department of Justice, February 6, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/texas-man-charged-federal-hate-crimes-and-firearm-offenses-related-august-3-2019-mass. On February 12, 2020, Crusius appeared in a federal court in El Paso, where he entered a not guilty plea. Federal prosecutors have yet to decide what punishment to seek.Cedar Attanasio, “Man charged in Walmart shooting appears in federal court,” Associated Press, February 12, 2020, https://apnews.com/b89bef3524360a94909945a0d3421db2. In July 2020, a federal grand jury issued a superseding 90-count indictment after the death of a hospitalized victim from wounds inflicted during the shooting. The new indictment charged Crusius with 23 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, 23 counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a violent crime, 22 counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, and 22 counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime. The charges carry a maximum penalty of death or life in prison.“Federal Grand Jury in El Paso Returns Superseding Indictment against Patrick Crusius,” U.S. Department of Justice, July 9, 2020, https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx/pr/federal-grand-jury-el-paso-returns-superseding-indictment-against-patrick-crusius.

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