A Benicia perspective on outbreak of mass shootings – 20 dead in El Paso today

Hate is a factor, Trump fanning the flames

By Roger Straw, August 3, 2019

So today 20 innocent people were gunned down by a white supremacist in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.  Another 26 were seriously injured, some critically.  Earlier this week, two store workers were killed in a Walmart in Mississippi.  And on Sunday this week, another white supremacist gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California, killing three of us and injuring 15 .

In just this last week, according to MassShootingTracker.com, 43 were killed and 75 injured in mass shootings.  In 2019, 291 mass shootings have taken place so far – that’s 291 mass shootings in 215 days!  In those 291 horrific events, 335 individuals have been murdered and 1,111 others were injured.

In May, a gunman killed 13 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person and injuring three.

This is a crisis.  President Trump’s racist tweets and actions have added momentum to the white supremacist element in the U.S.  (See NY Times, Why Does Trump Fan the Flames of Race-Based Terrorism?)

I have documented this trend on a number of occasions – see previous Benicia Independent gun control stories(Also, note archives on local Benicia gun reporting halfway through this article.)

The most recent shooting in El Paso (below) caught my attention today, and deserves your careful consideration.  What will our leaders DO to stop this!?


Mass Shooting at El Paso Walmart Leaves 20 Dead

The gunman “started shooting everyone, aisle by aisle,” an eyewitness says.
Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

EL PASO—A lone gunman killed at least 20 people inside a crowded Walmart on Saturday morning, according to eyewitnesses and officials.

“A day that would’ve been a normal day for someone to leisurely go shopping, turned into one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas. Lives were taken who should still be with us today. Twenty innocent people from El Paso have lost their lives, and more than two dozen more are injured,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said at an evening press conference.

At least 22 people were transported to area hospitals, including a 4-month-old girl. At least nine people were in critical condition at Del Sol Medical Center, where three of them were said to be in “life-threatening” condition. The victims there ranged in age from 35 to 82, but no further details were immediately available.

Police have not yet identified those killed, though Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Twitter late Saturday that three Mexican nationals were among the 20 people killed.

Police said one person is in custody and they have ruled out multiple shooters. The suspect has been identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius of Texas, according to a senior law-enforcement source. Authorities are investigating a purported manifesto posted online shortly before the attack.

Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual, that indicates to some degree, it has a nexus to potential hate crime,” El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said at a press conference. Allen, who stopped short of naming the suspect, said authorities were still working to “validate” that the manifesto was penned by the alleged gunman.

More than a thousand people were inside the Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall when the shooting started around 11 a.m. A woman named Karina, who declined to give her last name, said she was driving in the parking lot with her 7-year-old daughter when she saw a white man in his twenties in front of the store’s main entrance, dressed in all black and carrying a long rifle. Karina said she heard what sounded like “balloons popping” and saw the gunman shoot another man at “point-blank” range.

Then the gunman entered the store, as captured by surveillance footage.

Miguel Rodriguez said he was shopping for a toy for his 7-year-old son when he heard gunshots and ducked to the ground. He said a person “started shooting everyone, aisle by aisle, with rage.”

Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

Britney, a 19-year-old who declined to give her last name, said she was with her 16-year-old brother and her mother in the store’s underwear aisle when she heard shooting. The family dropped to the ground. Then Britney said she grabbed her mother and brother’s hands and they ran out of the store.

Dozens of people from inside the mall who were evacuated lined a nearby street. A man carrying a Bible went from group to group, asking people to pray with him.
Justin Hamel/The Daily Beast

The El Paso shooting is the latest in a series of deadly attacks on public places. On Monday, a disgruntled employee killed two people in a Walmart store in Mississippi. Last Sunday, a gunman killed three people and injured 15 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival near San Jose, California. In May, a gunman killed 12 people at a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The month before, on the last day of Passover in April, a vocal anti-Semite allegedly attacked a synagogue in Poway, California, killing one person.

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