Monday 23 September 2019

Texas shooting: At least 15 dead in El Paso and suspect in custody

Most of the victims of the attack appear to have been at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall.

Law enforcement at the scene of the shooting (AP/Rudy Gutierrez)
Law enforcement at the scene of the shooting (AP/Rudy Gutierrez)

By Associated Press reporter

At least 15 people have been killed after a shooting at a shopping centre in Texas.

Police said the suspect taken into custody following the incident in El Paso is 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.

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An El Paso police officer talks to a store employee following the shooting (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)

Most of the victims of the attack appear to have been at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, though police they say the shopping centre has been “secured”.

El Paso hospital said it is treating 22 victims, not including a patient who died after arriving at one of the hospitals.

Police are advising people to stay away from the area and to look for missing family members at a school being used as a reunification area.

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A gunman went on a rampage at a shopping centre (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)

Texas governor Greg Abbott called the shooting “a heinous and senseless act of violence” and said the state had deployed a number of law enforcement officers to the city.

A family of three was among a dozen people waiting outside a bus station. They were trying to return to their car that was in a blocked-off Walmart car park.

“I heard the shots but I thought they were hits, like roof construction,” said Adriana Quezada, 39, who was in the women’s clothing section of Walmart with her two children.

White House staff said US President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and spoke about it with attorney general William Barr and governor Abbott.

“Reports are very bad, many killed,” the president tweeted.

Presidential candidate and former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke appeared shaken at a candidate forum in Las Vegas shortly after news of the shooting in his home town was reported.

Mr O’Rourke, who said he had called his wife before taking to the stage, said the shooting shatters “any illusion that we have that progress is inevitable” on tackling gun violence.

The Democrat said he heard early reports that the suspect might have had a military-style weapon, saying such firearms should be kept “on the battlefield” and not brought “into our communities”.

Mr O’Rourke said: “We have to find some reason for optimism and hope or else we consign ourselves to a future where nearly 40,000 people a year will lose their lives to gun violence and I cannot accept that.”

El Paso, which has about 680,000 residents, is in West Texas and sits across the border from Juarez, Mexico.

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