The family of a man who allegedly gunned down 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso and reportedly told investigators he intended to kill as many Mexicans as he could says he was “influenced and informed by people we do not know.”
Patrick Crusius’ relatives released a statement condemning the mass shooting, one of the deadliest in U.S. history, and praising first responders who “intervened to stop the devastation.”
“Patrick’s actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know, and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone, in any way,” the family said in a statement released Tuesday night. “He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance — rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice hatred, and violence. There will never be a moment for the rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy.”
One week after his 21st birthday, Crusius allegedly drove more than 650 miles to El Paso from his suburban Dallas home, allegedly bent on targeting Mexicans, authorities said. El Paso is about five miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The majority of those killed in the rampage were either Mexican nationals or Mexican-Americans. At least two dozen people were injured in the shooting.
The mass shooting came one day before another alleged gunman, identified by police as 24-year-old Connor Betts, killed nine people and wounded dozens more in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio. The shooting occurred approximately a week after a gunman killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.
Crusius was arrested shortly after the attack and charged with capital murder. Federal authorities are handling the case as a “domestic terrorism” incident and said they could seek federal hate-crime and weapons charges that carry the death penalty.
Investigators say they suspect Crusius is the same person who authored a rambling screed posted on the controversial online message board 8chan before allegedly launching the rampage, saying the massacre was in response to an “invasion” of Hispanics coming across the southern border and railing against the dangers of mass immigration.
In their statement, Crusius’ family did not address whether he shared similar anti-immigrant sentiments with them.
“Since learning of the events in El Paso this past Saturday morning, we have been and are focused on the lives lost, those struggling in their recovery, and the countless families and friends of those affected by this atrocity,” the family said. “We also know that the destruction Patrick did is not limited to the victims and their families. It touches the entire El Paso and Ciudad Juarez communities, the State of Tex