What we know
- 20 people were killed and dozens injured in a shooting in a Walmart and parking lot near an El Paso, Texas shopping mall Saturday.
- The white male suspect has been identified as Patrick Crusius, 21. He was taken into custody without incident.
- At least 22 people were hospitalized, including one who died; 9 were in critical but stable condition; one patient is 4 months old.
- Prosecutors are pursuing a civil rights hate crime investigation and domestic terrorism charges.
Prosecutors in El Paso, Texas, will seek the death penalty for the man suspected of killing 20 people and injuring more than two dozen others. U.S. Attorney John Bash said they will pursue a criminal investigation, a civil rights hate crime investigation and “domestic terrorism” charges against the suspect, who was identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said Crusius purchased his weapon legally.
He said Crusius was being cooperative and “forthcoming with information” to investigators.
The attack targeted a Walmart and did not spread to other nearby shopping areas, El Paso police Sgt. Robert Gomez said, adding that most victims were inside the store. By Sunday evening, all bodies had been removed from the store and its parking lot, police said.
The shopping area is about 5 miles from the main border checkpoint with Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
“The scene was a horrific one,” said Allen, adding that many of the people who were hurt had life-threatening injuries.
According to The Associated Press, Crusius is from Allen, Texas, which is a nearly 10-hour drive from El Paso.
In the hours following the attack, there was another mass shooting across the country in Dayton, Ohio. Police said nine people were killed by a gunman who was shot to death by responding officers.
Officials have referenced a document allegedly left behind by Crusius, and said the shooting may have a “nexus” to a hate crime. The writer of the document denounces the increasing Hispanic population of Texas and gives that as a reason for his actions.
The FBI issued a statement late Sunday saying, “The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. The FBI is supporting its state and local partners in Texas through investigative, intelligence, and technical assistance. The El Paso investigation is also being supported by the FBI’s Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell. … The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence. The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.”
Ryan Mielke, a spokesman for University Medical Center of El Paso, said 15 of the injured were brought to the hospital with injuries, including one who died. Two of the injured were children who were transferred to El Paso Children’s Hospital, he said. The children sustained non life-threatening injuries and were discharged Sunday. Ten patients remain at UMC.
Eleven other victims ages 35 to 82 were being treated at Del Sol Medical Center, hospital spokesman Victor Guerrero said.
A U.S. soldier stationed at nearby Fort Bliss was at the mall when the shooting unfolded. Glendon Oakley said that, as soon as heard two gunshots, he took the threat seriously.
“We run towards Dillard’s, and it’s like a play pen over there. I see a whole bunch of kids like, without their parents running around screaming and crying, so I grab as many as possible,” Oakley told CBS affiliate WMAZ-TV.
“I try to get a couple of other people too, you know, grab other kids, but parents are so worried about themselves, they’re gone,” Oakley said. “I’m thinking if I had a child, what would I want somebody else to do.”
Walmart released a statement, saying it was working with law enforcement and “praying for the victims, the community & our associates, as well as the first responders.”
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso, said on Twitter she was “heartbroken” by the incident and was monitoring the situation. Her predecessor, presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, appeared shaken as he spoke at a candidate forum in Las Vegas on Saturday shortly after news of the shooting in his hometown was reported.
O’Rourke said he had called his wife before taking the stage and said the shooting shatters “any illusion that we have that progress is inevitable” on tackling gun violence.
The Democrat said he’d heard early reports that the shooter might have had a military-style weapon, saying we need to “keep that (expletive) on the battlefield and do not bring it into our communities.”
“We have to find some reason for optimism and hope or else we consign ourselves to a future where nearly 40,000 people are year will lose their lives to gun violence and I cannot accept that,” O’Rourke said.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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