On August 3rd, 2019, between 10:39AM – 10:45AM, a young Caucasian male armed with an AK47 walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and began spraying bullets at shoppers in what would come to be known as one of deadliest U.S shootings in recent times.
The attack was quick and sporadic but would see 22 people dead and a further 26 injured. Among the fatalities was 1 German national, 13 U.S citizens and 8 Mexican citizens. The victims are said to have been between the ages of 15 – 80+.
The gunman was later identified as 21 year old Patrick Wood Crusius, a resident of Allen, Texas, who had made a 650 mile journey to El Paso to “target Mexicans” whom he claimed he saw as “invaders” and said he “wanted to shoot as many as possible”. Following the incident the 21 year old after drove to an intersection and stepped out of his vehicle with his hands in the air to surrender to nearby Texas Rangers. He confirmed that he was the shooter and went with an officer without incident. An eyewitness’ video shows police leading the suspect calmly away. He was later charged with capital murder.
Just like the Charleston Church shooter, Dylann Roof, who gunned down 9 worshipers at a historical black church in 2015, Crusius is thought to have published a manifesto online before carrying out the shooting. Although he has not been officially confirmed to be the Author of the four page document entitled: “The inconvenient truth”, police believe that he may have penned the manifesto and published it online around half an hour before the shooting.
“The inconvenient truth”, which consists of six sections titled: “About me”, “Political reasons”, “Economical reasons”, “Gear”, “Reaction” and “Personal thoughts and feelings” outlines the shooters reasons and motivation behind the attack. In the document the author focuses on immigration issues including the perceived negative effect they believe it could have on the U.S in the near future in what they consider to be a “Mexican invasion of Texas”. A dislike for “race mixing” and the idea that different races should live separately in different regions of the U.S is also highlighted.
“I’m defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement in the face of the Hispanic invasion of Texas” the author wrote. “They are the instigators” he said in reference to Hispanic immigrants.
“American is rotting from the inside out”.
The author claimed that he did not believe there was a peaceful solution, implying that a violent revolution would be necessary. There is an undertone of fear and uncertainty for the future throughout the document, including a fear for the future of the economy as well as the future fate of the Earth. The Dr. Seuss book, “The Lorax”, a cautionary tale of what kind of world we could be living in if we don’t come together to protect the environment, is mentioned in the manifesto.
In the “Gear” section the writer explains that they will carry out the attack using an AK47 WASAR 10. They go on to detail that since the firearm is the civilian issue of the model that it isn’t ideal and a heat proof glove would be necessary as the WASAR 10 overheats when firing off 100s of shots at a time.
The document was posted to 8Chan (also referred to as “infinitechan”) an image board forum that was brought to public attention after mainstream media outlets reported on its links to information sharing pertaining to mass shootings around the globe, including the mass shooting of two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand back in March that saw 51 people dead and a further 49 injured as a result of the attack. 28 year old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant was charged and his manifesto found its way to 8Chan where it was shared between users.
In a still image from the Walmart CCTV tapes Patrick Crusius is captured walking into the store armed with what appears to be a WASR-10 rifle just as stated in the manifesto that police suspect the gunman penned. He’s wearing ear defenders and is clad in a black T-Shirt and what appears to be brown or beige cargo pants with full pockets. Crusius had a lot of extra mags for the rifle in order to reload. The heat resistant glove mentioned in the manifesto does not appear to be present in the still.
Initially those in the immediate area were not aware that a shooting was taking place and mistook the gunfire for road works or construction. It is believed that Crusius may have first began opening fire in the parking lot on the way into the Walmart. Local response to the tragedy was met with an outpouring of support from residents who lined up around the block to donate blood to the victims.
President Trump responded to the shooting by condemning racists but soon came under fire online as users on social media platforms were quick to point out that the terminology used in the manifesto was not unlike terms he himself had used to describe Hispanic immigrants in the U.S., specifically “invaders”.