On August 3, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, United States. In the terrorist attack, a far-right individual killed 23 people[n 1] and injured 23 others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism and a hate crime. The shooting has been described as the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history since the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, and is the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history to conclude with a perpetrator being caught alive to face legal repercussions.
Patrick Wood Crusius, a 21-year-old from Allen, Texas, was arrested and charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting. Crusius claims to have posted a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes, on the imageboard 8chan shortly before the attack. The manifesto cites the Christchurch mosque shootings earlier that year, and the far-right conspiracy theory known as the Great Replacement, as inspiration for the attack. On February 8, 2023, following an announcement that the Department of Justice would not seek the death penalty, Crusius pleaded guilty to 90 federal murder and hate crime charges.
The shooting occurred at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall on the east side of El Paso. Crusius walked into the store carrying what is believed to be a WASR-10 rifle, a semi-automatic civilian version of the AK-47, and opened fire just before 10:40 a.m.
The shooting has been described as the deadliest anti-Latino attack in recent U.S. history, resulting in 23 deaths and 23 injuries. One victim died the day after the event, another victim died two days after, and a third died eight months later on April 26, 2020. Among the dead were thirteen Americans, eight Mexicans and one German. The names, ages, and citizenships of 22 of the dead were released by the El Paso Police Department on August 5. Seventeen were 56 or older, two were in their 40s, two in their 20s, one was 36, and one was 15.
Crusius has admitted to posting a manifesto, titled The Inconvenient Truth, on the online message board 8chan shortly before the shooting. The post includes the suspect's name, and the manifesto identifies the type of weapon used in the attack. Site moderators quickly removed the original post, though users continued to share copies. Claiming to have been inspired by the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand that killed 51 people earlier the same year, the author expresses support for the perpetrator of the Christchurch shootings and bemoans grievances such as environmental degradation, \"cultural and ethnic replacement\", and a \"Hispanic invasion\".
The anti-Hispanic, anti-immigrant manifesto promotes the white nationalist and far-right conspiracy theory called the Great Replacement, often attributed to the French writer Renaud Camus. While the document uses language about immigrants similar to that used by U.S. president Donald Trump,[n 2] such as referring to a migrant \"invasion\", it states that the author's beliefs predate Trump's presidency, and that Trump should not be blamed for the attack. The author's \"racially extremist views\", according to The New York Times, could be used to prosecute the shooting as a hate crime or domestic terrorism.
The manifesto states that Democrats would soon control the United States partly due to an increasing Hispanic population, an idea that had gained acceptance for years on right-wing radio shows. Criticizing both the Democratic Party and Republican Party for allowing corporations to \"import foreign workers\", the author describes the shooting as an \"incentive\" for Hispanics to leave the country, which would \"remove the threat\" of a Hispanic voting bloc. While primarily focused on ethnic and racial grievances, the document also expresses fears of automation's effects on employment and blames corporations for overusing natural resources.
One week after the shooting, a citizen from Ciudad Juárez, Jorge Luis Martínez Chávez, ran a total of 22 miles, a mile for each of the people killed in the Walmart shooting (one additional victim died months later), starting at the Zaragoza bridge in Juárez, Mexico, and finishing at the Walmart memorial in El Paso where the attack was perpetrated.
Terrorism experts, including Peter R. Neumann, cited the Great Replacement conspiracy theory as a common factor among several similar attacks. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog linked the shooting with the earlier Christchurch mosque shootings and the Poway synagogue shooting, citing the similar white nationalist contents of the respective attackers' manifestos. Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation league, said that the shooting, as part of a series of similar attacks, indicated a \"global threat\" of white supremacy. NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg urged countries to work together to prevent \"lone wolf\" attackers who find inspiration in one another's actions. Others, including the writer Daniel Okrent, disputed the \"lone wolf\" idea, pointing to the ways in which technology allows those with similar violent ideologies to congregate online.
Several commentators attributed both the El Paso and Christchurch shootings to an ideology of eco-fascism. The Washington Post described the El Paso and Christchurch shootings as examples of an eco-fascist trend among white supremacists. Writing in GQ, Luke Darby referred to the \"distinctly environmental theme\" of Crusius's alleged manifesto. Jeet Heer in The Nation described the manifesto as being based in \"Malthusian fascism\", a worldview in which different races vie against one another in the face of environmental crises such as global warming. Mainstream environmentalists, including the executive director of the Sierra Club, denounced the attacker's alleged white-supremacist motivations.
President Donald Trump condemned the shooting as \"hateful\" and an \"act of cowardice\" later that day. He promised that his administration would provide \"total support\". In a later statement, Trump announced after the shootings in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio, that all US flags, both domestic and abroad, would be flown at half-staff until sunset on August 8. In a speech from the White House on August 5, Trump said: \"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.\" On August 7, Trump said he was \"concerned about the rise of any group of hate\", whether it was \"white supremacy, whether it's any other kind of supremacy, whether it's antifa\".
Within two days of the shooting, #WhiteSupremacistInChief reached the number one trend on Twitter as critics pointed out that statements in the suspect's alleged manifesto mirrored comments Trump had made in the past, including references to illegal immigration as an \"invasion\" and telling an unspecified group of \"'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe\" to \"go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came\". Media outlets also highlighted an incident in May 2019 where an audience member at a campaign rally suggested shooting illegal migrants crossing the border, to which Trump responded with a joke, saying, \"only in the Panhandle you can get away with that\".
A statement released by former president Barack Obama stated, \"We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments,\" which has widely been interpreted as a criticism of Trump's specific rhetoric. Trump's remark that violent video games contributed to such mass shootings, a view echoed by other politicians such as House Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy and Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, drew criticism from the video game industry, as past studies have found that no link exists between shootings and video games, and accused the government of using the medium as a scapegoat.
U.S. Representative Veronica Escobar, who represents El Paso in Congress, brought a town hall meeting in the city to an early close following the shooting. Escobar later said there was also a hate epidemic, with domestic terrorism resulting from the dehumanization of others. Texas Senator Ted Cruz issued a written statement deploring \"this unspeakable evil.\" Beto O'Rourke, a native of El Paso who represented the city in Congress from 2013 to 2019, said he was \"incredibly saddened\" but that \"The [El Paso] community is going to stay together. Everyone's resolved to make sure this doesn't continue to happen in this country.\" Texas Governor Greg Abbott called the shooting \"a heinous and senseless act of violence\". Texas Senator John Cornyn said that gun violence would not be solved by focusing on law-abiding citizens. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said violent video games were partly to blame.
Members of the Democratic Party criticized Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric in the wake of the shooting, including congresswoman Escobar and 2020 presidential candidates O'Rourke, Cory Booker, and Joe Biden. Other 2020 candidates called for political action to eliminate gun violence, including Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang. The incident also caused many celebrities and media figures to debate gun rights within the United States, with some condemning the perceived inaction of many political figures in stopping the large number of mass shootings in the country. That same evening, Moms Demand Action, which had a convention that weekend in Washington, DC, led a march and vigil outside the White House in support of gun control in the United States and the ban of assault weapons. 59ce067264