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Patrick Crusius was identified as the suspect in the shooting at Walmart near Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas, by the Washington Examiner. Crusius, 21, is from the Dallas/Fort Worth area and is currently in police custody.
Crusius, 21, reportedly attended Collin College in McKinney, Texas from fall 2017 through spring 2019. The district president of the school, Dr. Neil Matkin, issued a statement saying that Collin College was “saddened and horrified by the news.”
“Collin College is prepared to cooperate fully with state and federal authorities in their investigation of this senseless tragedy. We join the governor and all Texans in expressing our heartfelt concern for the victims of the shooting and their loved ones,” Matkin said.
NBC News reports there were at least 19 people killed in the August 3 shooting with a further 40 injured. The exact number of injuries and deceased victims has not been officially confirmed. Police have also not officially confirmed the suspect’s name, saying at a press conference only that he is a white male in his 20s.
Area hospitals reported there were a total of 24 injured people among the hospitals, including two children. Also among the injured were military service members from Fort Bliss, according to local news reports.
Police scanner traffic from the area suggested that Crusius was taken into custody about noon local time. The shooting began about 10 a.m., officials said. The FBI and ATF responded to the scene, alongside the El Paso Police Department and other state and local police departments.
A motive for the attack has not been officially confirmed by police, but CNN reports that an online posting that appears to have been made by the suspect is being investigated by the FBI.
The shopping areas in the area of the Cielo Vista Mall is near the United States border with Mexico. It is a popular location to shop for people on both sides of the border. License plates from both the United States and Mexico are on cars in the parking lots, NBC reported.
A Walmart employee told KTSM she thought boxes were being dropped when she first heard the gunfire. She asked to be identified only by her first name, Leslie.
“I thought it was just like loud boxes being dropped or something, until they got closer and closer,” she said. “That’s when I looked at my co-worker, and we looked at each other like shocked and scared.”
She said she tried to rescue as many people as she could.
“I got all the people that I could. I even found a little girl that was missing from her parents, and I got her, too. I tried to get as many people as I could out,” she said.
There were thousands of people inside the Walmart when the shooting began, according to police.
Adriana Quezada, 39, was in the store with her two children. She initially thought the gunshots were construction.
“I heard the shots but I thought they were hits, like roof construction,”she told the Associated Press.