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El Paso Walmart shooting suspect faces new murder charge after death of 23rd victim

El Paso shooting suspect pleads not guilty
El Paso shooting suspect pleads not guilty 00:20

The man accused in a deadly mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart last year was reindicted Thursday on charges reflecting the death of the 23rd victim and those injured in the shooting, the El Paso District Attorney's office tells CBS affiliate KDBC. 

El Paso WalMart mass shooting suspect Patrick Crusius reads his indictment in court KDBC

Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, is currently being held without bond on one count of capital murder of multiple people under Texas state law. The 21-year-old has also been charged with several federal hate crimes related to the shooting, according to a 90-count indictment unsealed in February. Investigators said Crusius told them he was targeting Mexicans in the attack.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said the new indictment includes the name of 36-year-old Guillermo "Memo" Garcia, who died nine months after the Aug. 3 massacre that's considered one of the deadliest attacks on Latinos in recent U.S. history. Garcia was at the Walmart with his family raising money for his daughter's soccer team when he was shot three times attempting to shield someone else from gunfire, KDBC reports.

Garcia reportedly underwent dozens of surgeries and died in April of complications from the gunshot wounds. His wife, Jessica Garcia, told the station she believes her husband's devotion to his family is why he held on for so long.

"There were days that he'd wake up and he would sing or he would smile, blow kisses or make funny faces and I think he did it out of love," Jessica Garcia said.

Esparza said Crusius also faces more counts in relation to the nearly two dozen people people injured -- 22 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement, reports KDBC.

The new charges are being added to the indictment prior to the grand jury's term ending on June 30, Esparza said.

"We're reindicting the defendant to include the additional death and to include all of those injured in the Walmart shooting in order to give the next DA all of their options," Esparza added. "We just want to cover all our bases."

 Guillermo "Memo" Garcia Garcia family via KDBC

The reindictment comes more than 10 months after the mass shooting in the majority Latino and Hispanic city federal prosecutors say was sparked by militant racism. They have said Crusius carried out the attack to scare Latinos into leaving the U.S., a plot they allege he outlined in a racist screed published online before the attack.

More than 20 people survived the shooting and suffered from injuries. Some underwent surgery, and one remains in the hospital. Hundreds more have suffered psychological trauma either because they were present or because a loved one was wounded, according to local officials.

Esparza, who's set to retire after 28 years in office, said he hopes that the added charges will help provide continuity in the case and eventually lead to justice should the DA succeeding him decide to pursue the state case against Crusius.

Voters will pick a new DA in a runoff election on July 14th. It's one of several factors that will help answer some legal and financial questions, including the trial's start date and location.

The Department of Justice will prosecute on a parallel track with Texas officials. Crusius already faces the death penalty on a state capital murder charge to which he pleaded not guilty last year.

Through a lawyer, Crusius' family on Thursday released a statement:

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Garcia family and all those affected. Each and every victim, each and every family member, and all those touched by this tragedy are the focus of constant, daily prayers by Patrick's family. Respecting the rule of law requires the family to make no further comment so that there is integrity to this process that will yield justice for the victims, including Mr. Garcia and those suffering from injuries sustained last year."

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