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Texas Walmart shooting: Twenty killed in El Paso gun attack

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Media captionPolice were filmed responding to the mall shooting

Twenty people have been killed and another 24 injured in a mass shooting in the city of El Paso, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has confirmed.

He described it as one of the deadliest days in the state’s history.

The massacre happened at a Walmart store near the Cielo Vista Mall, a few miles from the US-Mexican border.

A 21-year-old man is in custody and is believed to be the sole gunman. Mr Abbott praised the police officers who apprehended him.

The suspect has been named by US media as Patrick Crusius, a resident of the Dallas area.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption CCTV images said to be of the gunman have emerged

CCTV images said to be of the gunman and broadcast on US media show a man in a dark T-shirt wearing ear protectors and brandishing an assault-style rifle.

What happened?

The first reports of a shooting emerged at about 10:00 local time (16:00 GMT).

Police said the Walmart was “at capacity” with shoppers buying back-to-school supplies at the time of the attack.

Police spokesman Sergeant Robert Gomez said the only suspect was a white male in his 20s. No officers had fired their weapons in apprehending him, he added.

“We have secured Walmart and we have secured Cielo Vista Mall. We don’t feel that there is a threat to the public or that there are any other shooters at this time,” Sgt Gomez said.

El Paso Police Department tweeted that blood donations were “needed urgently”.

A man who was in the shopping centre at the time of the attack recalled the moment that he found out about the shooting.

“There were employees, they were coming in and they would tell me that they heard some gunshots and that people just started bolting straight into the store in order to get to cover. In the meantime I was just trying to stay calm, but I was freaking out internally,” he told CBS News.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Kianna Long, right, was in the freezer section of the Walmart during the shooting

Another witness, Glendon Oakly, told CNN that he was in a sporting goods store inside the shopping centre when a child ran inside “telling us there’s an active shooter at Walmart”.

Mr Oakly said no-one took the child’s claim seriously, but just minutes later he heard two gunshots.

“I just thought about getting the kids out of the way,” he said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Shocked shoppers were ushered out of the area with their hands raised

Kianna Long said she was at the Walmart with her husband when they heard gunfire.

“People were panicking and running, saying that there was a shooter,” Ms Long told Reuters news agency. “They were running close to the floor, people were dropping on the floor.”

Ms Long said she and her husband had run through a stock room before taking shelter with other customers in a steel container.

What has been the reaction?

“This is a tragedy that we never, ever would have thought would happen in El Paso,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told CNN. “It tears me up.”

US President Donald Trump said the reports coming from the area were “very bad, many killed”.

In a statement, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said El Paso had been “struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence”.

“Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss,” the governor said.

Walmart tweeted that it was “in shock over the tragic events” and was “working closely with law enforcement”.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke has abandoned a campaign event in Las Vegas to return to his home town of El Paso.

Earlier, he spoke at a labour forum, telling the crowd the shooting shattered any illusion that gun reform will “come of its own accord” in the US.

“We know that there’s a lot of injury, a lot of suffering in El Paso right now,” he said.

Other Democratic presidential candidates also responded to the shooting with calls for gun control.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker was among them, saying the US seems to be “accepting the idea that these [shootings] are going to be a regular occurrence”.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, however, said gun control would probably not have stopped the attack.

He added that if a “crazy” gunman launches such an attack, there is no way that law enforcement officers could be there to stop it.

“The best way is to be prepared to defend yourself,” he told CBS News.


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Source: bbc.co.uk

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