EL PASO, Texas (KETK) – Officials are investigating Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso as a domestic terrorism case, according to a U.S. attorney.
“We are treating this as a domestic terrorism case,” said John F. Bash, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, at a press conference Sunday.
He said his office is working in “close consultation” with Attorney General William Barr, and will be conducting a “careful investigation with a view of bringing federal hate crime charges and federal fire arms charges that bring the penalty of death.”
Investigators believe the suspect posted what they are calling a manifesto on the online message board 8chan. The 23-page document allegedly cites “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” as his reasoning behind Saturday’s mass shooting and is reported to be filled with white nationalist language.
Bash poke to the media Sunday morning along with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza, Chief of Police Greg Allen, City Manager Tommy Gonzalez, and FBI agent Emerson Buoy. The officials provided updates on the shooting Saturday that killed 20 and injured 26.
Bash said the case seems to meet the statutory definition of domestic terrorism and “appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, at least. We’re treating it as a domestic terrorism case and we’re going to do what we do to terrorists in this country, which is to deliver swift and certain justice.”
Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, was arrested following the shooting at one of the city’s busiest shopping centers. He is being held without bond and has been charged with capital murder.
“We will seek the death penalty,” said Esparza. “The state charge is capital murder.”
“This has been a very difficult time for our community,” he said. “The loss of life is so great, we have never seen anything like this in our community.”
The violence perpetrated on El Paso Saturday “is not us,” Esparza said. “We are the bright sunshine. We are a really good and loving community. But we will hold (Crusius) accountable.”
Greg Allan, El Paso Chief of Police, said the suspect has been cooperative with investigators.
“He was forthcoming with information,” Allen said. “He basically didn’t hold anything back.”