El Paso Mass Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty In 22 Deaths

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El Paso Walmart mass shooter Patrick Crusius is arraigned Thursday, Oct., 10, 2019 in the 409th state District Court with Judge Sam Medrano presiding. Crusius, 21-year-old, from Allen, Texas, stands accused of killing 22 and injuring 25 in the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting at an East El Paso Walmart in the seventh deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history and third deadliest in Texas. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP,Pool)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — 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 Thursday during a brief initial hearing.

Police have said Patrick Crusius of Dallas confessed to the Aug. 3 mass shooting and that he targeted Mexicans. Some two-dozen people survived the attack with injuries, and two of them remain in the hospital, hospital officials said.

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

Around 80 members of the public crammed into the courtroom on the top floor of the El Paso County Courthouse to witness his first appearance. A handful wiped 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.

A bailiff had asked the court to remain quiet and warned against outbursts.

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.

There were 2,000 witnesses at the scene of the massacre, so almost everybody in the city of about 700,000 knew somebody affected by the shooting.

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.

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 hours of footage captured by Walmart security cameras around the time of the shooting. The court records also included medical images taken from shooting victims, and jail mail and phone calls involving Crisius after his arrest.

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.

Meanwhile, the Crusius legal team appealed for open minds as they present their portrait of Crusius.

“There are two sides to this story,” said Mark Stevens of San Antonio, lead defense attorney. “… We’ll ask everybody, media and everybody else, to keep an open mind until you hear both sides of the story, what comes out in the courtroom.”

Joe Spencer of El Paso, assistant defense attorney, said he and Stevens “are morally opposed to the death penalty” and that they “will use every breath we have to try to save Patrick’s life.” He added that the El Paso community needs closure and healing, “and the quickest way to get closure and healing is not through seeking the death penalty.”

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.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Why are these creeps given the chance to plead ” not gulty “. They brutally cold bloodily killed in plan sight . Everyone saw him do the animalistic act . Send him to the gallows and goodbye . And why would care about him being on sucide watch ? Let him die and commit sucide .

    We need to stop pietying these creeps . There is a time and place .

    And don’t sell me any bs slippery slope garbage . It’s nonsense. The only slope is in your brain . For any of us with an ounce of sechel we realize that when you kill in the open on a massive scale it’s simple that we kill you and goodbye .

  2. As much as I can’t stand this piece of garbage, and I wish that he was executed now, not 15 years (or more), from now, that is the way the system works in the USA. In Saudi Arabia, this animal would be executed in public ( beheading by sword), within a brief time. In the old wild west, and until well into the 20th century, there were inmates who were grabbed from jails, which were stormed by mobs, and were lynched. We can’t have that occur ever again, as there were times that innocent people were slaughtered by lynch mobs. In Texas, where this mass murder took place, the criminal justice system will show this animal no mercy. He will have years of appeals, but within twenty years, or perhaps less, he will be given a lethal injection.

  3. I think execution is too good for terror scum; they should do like the arabs do which is first to torture the person until he wants them to kill them and then torture them more. Also use methods that Stalin’s KGB used to get innocent people to confess to anything and everything.

    Then after the person is a wasted brainless mess, show him to the people so they can see what happens to terror scum to dissuade the next attempted terror act.

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