Grand jury indicts man on capital murder for El Paso attack

Abel Valenzuela, local of El Paso, meditates in front of the makeshift memorial for shooting victims at the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart in El Paso, Texas on August 8, 2019. (PAUL RATJE/AFP/Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A man accused of gunning down people at a busy Walmart in El Paso last month was indicted Thursday for capital murder, prosecutors announced.

Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, was indicted in connection with the Aug. 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.

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 screed published shortly before the shooting that said it was “in response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

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.

The case has fueled anger among gun control and immigration advocates, and caused political blowback.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged weeks after the attack that “mistakes were made ” when he sent a fundraising mailer encouraging supporters to “take matters into our own hands” and “DEFEND” Texas. Abbott has pledged to invest in a domestic terrorism taskforce and has suggested he would support an expansion of firearm background checks. He has resisted calls to regulate the sale of military-style rifles like the one authorities say Crusius used in El Paso.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick drew the ire of the NRA last week after expressed support for background checks.

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