Officials: Killer Chose El Paso Walmart Because He Was Hungry
El Paso, TX – The El Paso gunman who murdered 22 people at Walmart chose the location at random because he was lost and hungry.
El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters that the 21-year-old gunman became lost shortly after arriving in the city on Saturday morning, the New York Post reported.
Chief Allen said the shooter stopped at the Walmart because he was hungry and it was the first place that he found to eat.
“He took about 10 to 11 hours traveling from his home in Allen, Texas to El Paso,’’ the chief said. “As soon as he got here, he was lost in a neighborhood. After that, he found his way to the Walmart because we understand he was hungry. That’s about as far as I can go without getting into too much detail.’’
Police suspect that the would-be shooter cased the Walmart as he sat eating his meal, and then went back out to his vehicle to retrieve his weapon, the New York Post 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.”
Twenty-two people were fatally shot and another 24 were wounded when the gunman opened fire later that morning.
Police believe the gunman legally purchased the rifle that he used in his rampage, USA Today reported.
The shooter surrendered when police 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 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.”
Many politicians critical of President Donald Trump’s administration blamed the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton on the President’s rhetoric, despite the fact that the Dayton gunman supported U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and was a fan of antifa.
Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, told the President that he wasn’t welcome in the city.
But President Trump traveled to El Paso on Wednesday to visit the memorial to victims outside the Walmart at the invitation of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, CBS News reported.