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El Paso mass shooter pleads not guilty in 22 Deaths

Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Texan who killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019, told police following his arrest that he was targeting “Mexicans.” KTSM 9 screen grab El Paso mass shooting

Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old Texan who killed 22 people in an El Paso Walmart on Aug. 3, 2019, told police following his arrest that he was targeting “Mexicans.” KTSM 9 screen grab

El Paso mass shooting suspect Patrick Crusius, arraigned Oct. 10, 2019, has pleaded not guilty

EL PASO, Texas — The Associated Press reported that the 21-year-old man charged with capital murder in the fatal shooting of 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, pleaded not guilty, Oct. 10, during a brief initial hearing.

Police have said Patrick Crusius of Dallas confessed to the Aug. 3 mass shooting and that he targeted Mexicans, according to the AP, and that two-dozen people survived the attack with injuries, while two remain hospitalized.

Crusius walked into the courtroom wearing a dark suit, white shirt and glasses, the AP reported. Crusius, according to the wire service was sworn in, waived the reading of his indictment and pleaded not guilty. The entire hearing lasted less than three minutes.

The AP reported some 80 members of the public crammed into the courtroom on the top floor of the El Paso County Courthouse to witness Crusius’first appearance, describing some wiping away tears as Crusius pronounced his plea.

Among the crowd was a delegation from the Mexican Consulate. Eight Mexican citizens were killed in the attack and most of the victims had Hispanic last names. Among the dead was a German citizen who lived in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, according to the AP.

Local prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty. Federal authorities are weighing capital murder and hate crime charges. The Department of Justice has called the shooting an act of domestic terrorism, according to the AP account.

The first judge assigned to the case recused herself because she knew one of the people killed in the attack. The lead prosecutor said his sister also was in the Walmart during the attack and that the gunman walked right by her.

Crusius fled the scene of the shooting in his car but turned himself in less than an hour later, according to police. His arrest warrant says he declared: “I’m the shooter.”

In documents filed Thursday, the El Paso prosecutor notified the court that he had shared evidence with the defense on Sept. 27. That evidence includes police and FBI interviews with Crusius, data from his cellphone, records from the Dallas-area schools he attended and tens of hours of footage captured by Walmart security cameras around the time of the shooting, according to court records.

It also includes the FBI’s “manifesto analysis” — a likely reference to a racist screed railing against an influx of Hispanics into the U.S. that authorities have said Crusius posted online before the shooting.

Crusius is being held without bond in an El Paso jail. He has been on suicide watch since shortly after his arrest and is separated from other prisoners.

Courthouse News Service.

Compton Herald is a digital news publication providing clear, fair and current news, information and commentary about Compton, the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Los Angeles County, California, and the world.

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