Federal government treating El Paso shooting that killed 20 people as "domestic terrorist" case

US officials consider death penalty for suspect

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A survivor is emotional following the deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas.

EL PASO, Texas - A Justice Department official says the federal government is treating the El Paso shooting that killed 20 people as a "domestic terrorist" case.

U.S. Attorney John Bash said Sunday at a news conference in El Paso that the federal government is also investigating the attack at a shopping plaza with a view toward bringing federal hate crime charges.

Authorities have been working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly before the attack was written by the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius.

El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza told reporters that the state of Texas also plans to seek the death penalty.

The Justice Department is seriously weighing federal hate crime charges against the El Paso shooting suspect that would carry the potential for a sentence of the death penalty.

That's according to a person familiar with the department's decision making process, who was not authorized to speak on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.

A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, police said. Law enforcement officials who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity identified the suspect as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius.

A hospital official in El Paso says at least three victims of a mass shooting at a shopping area that left 20 people dead remain in critical condition.

Dr. Stephen Flaherty said Sunday that a total of 11 victims were taken to Del Sol Medical Center. They ranged in age from 35 to 82 years old. More than two dozen people in all were injured in Saturday's shooting, some of whom were treated elsewhere in the Texas border city.

Flaherty told reporters that "a number of the patients" being treated at Del Sol will need to return to the operating room, and potentially multiple times.

Jail records show that the suspected gunman, 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius, has been booked on capital murder charges.

El Paso County records Sunday showed that 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius was booked at the downtown jail in the Texas border city. There was no immediate indication that he had an attorney.

Police say more than two dozen people were also injured in the attack Saturday at an El Paso shopping area.

Authorities are investigating the possibility the shooting was a hate crime. They're working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by Crusius.

 A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, police said.

Hours later, there was another mass shooting across the country. Police in Dayton, Ohio, said nine people were killed by a shooter who was shot to death by responding officers.

Authorities are investigating the possibility the Saturday shooting in El Paso was a hate crime, working to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant screed posted online shortly beforehand was written by the man arrested in the attack on the 680,000-resident border city.
 

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