Police say one suspect is in custody after multiple people were shot, some fatally, inside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday.
At 11:03 am local time (1:03 pm EST) the El Paso Police Department tweeted that it was responding to an active shooter situation near the Cielo Vista Mall on the city’s east side. Video from local news station KTSM shows shoppers at the mall being evacuated.
The Walmart is located in the mall complex, near the international airport and Biggs Army Airfield. CNN has reported that nearby businesses are on lockdown.
The Washington Post reported that a town hall Rep. Veronica Escobar was holding at Coronado High School, about 15 miles from the shooting, was evacuated. According to CBS News, ATF agents joined the local police department at the scene. ICE and FBI agents also reportedly provided support.
At 12:11 pm local time (2:11 pm EST), the El Paso Police Department said that the scene was still active. On Twitter, they told residents to avoid the area. At a press conference outside the mall about an hour later, police spokesperson Sgt. Enrique Carillo said that “there is no active shooter currently.” The area is still cordoned off to facilitate the active investigation as of this writing, according to El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.
What we know
- Police reported an active shooter in a mall on El Paso’s east side; the shooting reportedly began at the mall’s Walmart.
- Other businesses in the mall were placed on lockdown.
- Witnesses say some people were injured; Twitter users have shared stills from a graphic Facebook Live video that appear to show at least one victim.
- Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted that the Texas Department of Public Safety was assisting local law enforcement, and thanked first responders.
- Abbott later tweeted out a statement calling the shooting “a heinous and senseless act of violence” and said that a range of Texas response teams had been deployed:
- Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who represented El Paso in Congress until January of this year, tweeted that the news reports were “heartbreaking.” O’Rourke said he will leave the campaign trail to be with his family and members of his former district.
- Current Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who represents part of El Paso, tweeted, “My heart is heavy for the victims of today’s shooting, their loved ones and the El Paso community,” and Rep. Escobar wrote she was “utterly heartbroken.”
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also tweeted her condolences, writing, “our hearts ache for the families of those who were killed & the injured.”
- At 12:11 pm local time (2:11 pm EST), the El Paso Police Department tweeted that they were searching a “very large area,” and said that they were responding to reports that there had been multiple shooters.
Scene is still Active. We have multi reports of multiple shooters. Please avoid area police conducting search of a very large area. Media staging will be given when area is secure.
— EL PASO POLICE DEPT (@EPPOLICE) August 3, 2019
- Police spokesperson Sgt. Enrique Carillo said there are “multiple fatalities” and that multiple people are wounded.
- A photojournalist with the El Paso Times tweeted that a family unification center was being set up at MacArthur Intermediate School.
- El Paso Mayor Dee Margo sent a tweet confirming several fatalities and multiple suspects in custody. “The area is still an active scene while EPPD work with FBI and other law enforcement agencies,” he wrote, thanking first responders and adding that he is “devastated.”
- The mayor told CNN that three suspects are in custody; police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Gomez contradicted this statement half an hour later, telling reporters only one suspect had been arrested.
- President Donald Trump has been briefed, according to a White House spokesperson. He also pledged the federal government will make whatever resources local officials ask for available:
Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2019
- Ryan Mielke, the director of public affairs for the University Medical Center of El Paso, told reporters 12 victims have been brought to the hospital for treatment. Two of the 12 were young children. Mielke said only some of the wounds were life threatening.
- One of the 12 victims brought to the University Medical Center has died, according to the AP.
- El Paso’s Del Sol Medical Center told CBS News it is also treating 11 victims; nine were said to be in critical but stable condition.
- The El Paso police department requested citizens donate blood on Twitter; that call was answered as residents flooded blood donation centers:
- Police spokesperson Sgt. Robert Gomez told reporters the suspect is a white male in his 20s late Saturday afternoon and that he was apprehended without incident. Gomez refused to identify the suspect; CNN identities him as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius from Allen, Texas, citing federal law enforcement sources.
- Gomez also refused to share the number of casualties; NBC reports at least 19 people were killed, citing law enforcement sources. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told CBS between 15 and 20 people were killed; the AP reports at least 15 have died.
- The sergeant also said most — if not all — of the victims were shot at the Walmart rather than at the mall proper, and that the attack was carried out with a rifle.
What we don’t know
- The total number of people killed
- The total number of wounded
- The motive of the shooter