El Paso, TX – Mexico’s government expressed its anger over the shooting deaths of seven Mexican nationals during a gunman’s rampage at the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart in El Paso, and called on the United States to change its gun laws.
“There could be a change to their laws because it is stunning what is happening, unfortunate and very powerful,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, according to the Associated Press.
“I don’t rule out that they could change their constitution and laws. These are new times; you have to always be adjusting the legal framework to the new reality,” he said.
Twenty-two people were fatally shot and another 24 were wounded when a gunman opened fire at the shopping center in El Paso on Saturday morning.
Police believe the gunman legally purchased the high-powered rifle that he used in his rampage, USA Today reported.
El Paso Police Sergeant Robert Gomez said the Walmart was “at capacity” with a weekend shopping crowd when the incident occurred.
Witnesses said that the shooter marched into the Walmart with a blank expression and began shooting indiscriminately, The Washington Post reported.
“He was, like, all calm,” Robert Jurado, who was grocery shopping with his elderly mother when gunfire erupted, said. “He didn’t show no remorse.”
The shooter, a 21-year-old Dallas-area man, surrendered to police who arrived on the scene, The Washington Post reported.
He was arrested and charged with capital murder. Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty against him.
Court papers showed that the judge ordered the shooter held without bond, The Washington Post reported.
Police are investigating a racist online manifesto that was found after the shooter’s rampage to determine if it was actually authored by the gunman, The Washington Post reported.
The rambling manifesto rails against the “invasion” of Hispanics coming into the United States, the Associated Press reported.
It was posted to 8chan less than 20 minutes before police received the first 911 calls about the Walmart shooting, CNN reported.
In the missive, the writer said he feared too many Hispanics coming into Texas would make the state a “Democratic stronghold,” but he then wrote “the Republican party is also terrible” because it’s pro-corporation and he believed that led to more immigration.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen cautioned that investigators had not yet validated the document, the El Paso Times reported.
John F. Bash, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, said prosecutors were seriously considering seeking federal hate crime and federal firearms charges against the shooter.
Police said that the gunman has been cooperative and answered questions since he was taken into custody, The Washington Post reported.
“He was forthcoming with information,” Chief Allen said. “He basically didn’t hold anything back.”
In the meantime, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard called the shooting rampage an “act of barbarism” and a "terrorist act against innocent Mexicans," NBC News reported.
“The president has instructed me to ensure that Mexico’s indignation translates into... efficient, prompt, expeditious and forceful legal actions for Mexico to take a role and demand that conditions are established that protect... Mexicans in the United States,” Ebrard said in a video posted to Twitter.
He urged the U.S. government to establish a “clear and convincing position against hate crimes.”
“Mexico is outraged,” Ebrard said.
El Paso is located right on the U.S. – Mexico border and tens of thousands of Mexicans cross into the United States legally every day for work and shopping, NBC News reported.
The city’s population is more than 80 percent Hispanic.
In addition to the seven Mexicans who were murdered in the massacre on Saturday morning, another seven were wounded by gunfire and remained in the hospital being treated.
Ebrard said Mexico planned to take legal action against the company that sold the weapon to the gunman, which was allegedly named in the online missive written by the gunman.
He also said that Mexico’s attorney general would declare the incident an act of terrorism against Mexican citizens, NBC News reported.
“For Mexico this individual is a terrorist,” Ebrard said.
The Mexican president chose his words more carefully when addressing the issue.
Lopez Obrador said that “in spite of the pain, the outrage” that Mexico was feeling, they didn’t want to interfere in the “internal affairs” of other nations, the Associated Press reported.
He also said that the El Paso shootings underscored his belief that “social problems shouldn’t be confronted with the use of force and by inciting hate.”