Police in El Paso, Texas, say a mass shooting at a Walmart story is tied to “gang-related terrorism,” as at least one suspect is now in custody, officials said.
Mayor Dee Margo told news organizations that at least three suspects were taken into custody, and several people have been shot, with some fatalities.
Local news agencies report that the shooting began inside the store, but that one shooter continued firing outside in the parking lot. At one point, reports said there were two active shooters, but subsequent reporting claimed that there is just one.
According to KTSM, at least 18 people have been killed and several others were wounded.
“Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!” President Trump tweeted after being advised of the shootings.
Terrible shootings in ElPaso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2019
Store video footage captured one of the gunmen as he entered the store carrying what appears to be an AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle. Police say the shooter came into the store around 10 a.m. local time.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement. “While no words can provide the solace needed for those impacted by this event, I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in offering our prayers for the victims and their families.
“The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are assisting the El Paso Police Department as they conduct their investigation. We have deployed troopers, special agents, Texas Rangers, tactical teams, and aircraft to the scene in a support role. The state of Texas will do everything it can to ensure justice is delivered to the perpetrators of this heinous act,” he added.
Vanessa Saenz, a witness, told Fox News she heard several “pops” and then saw a man in a black shirt and tan cargo pants with a rifle shooting outside the building before going into the story. (Related: First surveillance image of the El Paso Wal-Mart mall shooter emerges: He’s carrying an AK-47 and wearing glasses and hearing protection.)
“He was just pointing and people and just shooting,” she said, according to The Mirror.
David Shimp, chief executive officer of Del Sol Medical Center, said in a statement, “Earlier today, the El Paso Police Department and emergency personnel responded to an active shooting that occurred in East El Paso. Of those involved, 11 victims ranging from 35 years old to 82 years old, were transported and are being treated at Del Sol Medical Center. Two patients are in stable condition and nine are in critical condition.”
At this hour, police have not released a motive and there are no further details on the shooter or those who were taken into custody. However, the shooting becomes the latest in a series of seemingly mindless, random acts of violence committed by people who no one sees coming and who have no prior criminal histories.
Last week, Santino William Legan, 19, of Gilroy, Calif., took a rifle he bought in neighboring Nevada to the Gilroy Garlic Festival and began shooting, killing three people including a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office.
He, too, showed no signs of distress.
“I did not know this individual. He ordered the rifle off my internet page. When I did see him, he was acting happy and showed no reasons for concern. I would never ever sell any firearm to anyone who acted wrong or looks associated with any bad group like white power,” wrote the owner of Big Mikes Gun & Ammo, where the shooter bought the gun, on Facebook.