Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect who police believe was responsible for a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, has admitted that his motive for the attack included the targeting of Mexicans.
Many of the dead and wounded reportedly had Latino last names. Eight of the victims were Mexican nationals.
According to BuzzFeed News, the confession came shortly after Crusius surrendered and was subsequently apprehended by law enforcement.
In an arrest warrant affidavit, Detective Adrian Garcia said that after Crusius stopped at an intersection following the shooting, he emerged from a vehicle and said, “I’m the shooter.”
“The defendant stated his target were [sic] ‘Mexicans,'” Garcia wrote.
He later explained that he made the 10-hour trip to El Paso from his hometown of Allen, Texas — a suburb of Dallas — after waiving his Miranda rights and speaking with detectives.
Shortly after the shooting, law enforcement authorities revealed that Crusius may have had a manifesto that included racist language against Hispanics, warning readers of a “Hispanic invasion in Texas.” The manifesto was reportedly posted online just minutes before the massacre occurred, according to The New York Times.
Authorities are still attempting to determine if Crusius wrote it.
The disturbing, 2,300-word manifesto also outlined a plan to divide the United States into race-based territories and warned that white people were going to be replaced by foreigners. It also warned of an attack and claimed that “if we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can be more sustainable.”
Federal prosecutors have indicated that they may charge Crusius with a hate crime while the suspect is held without bond on capital murder charges.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 9, 2019
According to ABC News, federal authorities are treating the El Paso mass shooting as a “domestic terrorism” attack but indicated that Crusius likely won’t be charged and tried as a terrorist as there are currently no specific domestic terrorism laws.
“It appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population to say the least. We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case, and we’re going to do what we do [to] the terrorists in this country, which is deliver swift and certain justice,” John Bash, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas said on Sunday.
A number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have accused President Donald Trump’s past rhetoric for encouraging such an attack, including El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who placed direct blame on the president for the attack on his hometown, according to USA Today.
“[Twenty-two] people in my hometown are dead after an act of terror inspired by your racism,” O’Rourke tweeted on Wednesday. “El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I.”