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Alleged El Paso shooter indicted on capital murder charges

Authorities on high alert for shooting copycats
Law enforcement on high alert for copycat mass shooters in wake of recent tragedies 02:30

A man accused of gunning down people at a busy Walmart in El Paso last month was indicted Thursday for capital murder. The District Attorney's Office issued a statement to CBS El Paso affiliate KDBC saying it "will continue to work hard to ensure that justice is done and is committed to assisting the victims through the judicial process."

Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, was indicted on one count in connection with the August 3 mass shooting that left 22 dead, District Attorney Jaime Esparza said. El Paso prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Crusius, who remains jailed without bond.

The massacre was the first in a series of mass shootings last month that left dozens dead and, again, brought the debate over guns into the center of American politics.

Prosecutors have said Crusius surrendered to police after the attack saying, "I'm the shooter," and that he was targeting Mexicans. In court documents, prosecutors alleged that Crusius was the author of a racist screed published shortly before the shooting.

Federal prosecutors have said they are weighing hate-crime charges against Crusius that could also carry the death penalty.

Crusius' family issued a statement through their lawyer acknowledging the indictment as well as the victims of the shooting. "There is a legal path forward that will now allow justice to become clear. It is in that spirit that we intend to honor all involved," the family said. "from the victims, to law enforcement, to the courts and citizens tasked with their obligations in the judicial process. We will make no further comments to ensure the integrity of the court process, other than to say we continue to pray for all those touched — most especially the victims and their families."

Survivors of the El Paso attack have held vigils around the city, including outside of the jail in downtown El Paso where Crusius has been kept isolated from other prisoners, on suicide watch.

22 Dead And 26 Injured In Mass Shooting At Shopping Center In El Paso
A woman touches a cross at a makeshift memorial for victims outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on August 6, 2019, in El Paso. Getty

Less than 24 hours after the shooting in Texas, a masked gunman began shooting in a nightlife district of Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people and injuring 27 more. These shootings were followed weeks later by another in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa , where authorities say one man killed seven people and wounded about two dozen others while firing from a car. Unlike Crusius, the gunmen in both those attacks were killed by police.

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