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El Paso Shooting Suspect Indicted On Capital Murder Charge

An El Paso County grand jury has indicted Patrick Crusius, who is now charged with capital murder in connection with the shooting deaths of 22 people at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3.
John Locher

The 21-year-old white man accused of gunning down 22 people and wounded dozens of others at a Texas Walmart was formally indicted on a capital murder charge Thursday.

A grand jury in El Paso County indicted Patrick Crusius in connection with the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart on Aug. 3, according to a statement from the El Paso District Attorney's Office.

District Attorney Jaime Esparza said on Aug. 4 that he planned to seek the death penalty.

The suspect surrendered to law enforcement as he was driving away from the bloodbath, saying, "I'm the shooter."

He has been held without bond and placed on suicide watch at the El Paso County Detention Facility, where authorities say he has been cooperating with the investigation.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Crusius confessed that he planned the rampage and drove nearly 10 hours from his home in the Dallas suburb of Allen to the border city with the intention of targeting Mexicans.

The 22 victims ranged in age from 15 to 90. Thirteen are listed as U.S. citizens; eight are Mexican nationals. One is German.

Authorities believe Crusius is the author of a 2,300-word, anti-Hispanic screed that was published to an online message board about 20 minutes before the mass shooting. The four-page posting talked about a "Hispanic invasion of Texas."

If officials conclude that he wrote the manifesto, it could also prompt federal hate crime charges.

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Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.
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