MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Attorney General Alejandro Gertz met on Tuesday to discuss their next legal and diplomatic steps in the wake of the mass shooting in the United States border city of El Paso that left at least 22 dead, including eight Mexican citizens.
In a joint statement, Ebrard and Gertz said they agreed that the attack in El Paso was an act comparable to terrorism against Mexican citizens abroad.
They added that the foreign ministry had provided all available information to the attorney general’s office so the latter could decide on the next course of legal action.
The ministry also issued a separate statement expressing the Mexican government’s gratitude for the support of the international community after the shooting.
“We appreciate the support received from political leaders, organizations, members of civil society and numerous governments,” the statement said, naming Ireland, Finland, Norway, Spain, Poland, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the European Union.
The foreign ministry said that these expressions demonstrated a “broad, profound and forceful rejection of violence, intimidation and hate speech” and reiterated the Mexican government’s intention to “undertake a series of legal, diplomatic and protection measures to guarantee justice, as well as to protect the rights of Mexican communities in the United States.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Ebrard had expressed his concern that the perpetrator of the shooting in El Paso could be linked to a network of white supremacists willing to commit similar attacks.
“We are concerned that other people may think the same about this matter,” Ebrard said at a press conference in the National Palace.
He added that this concern had already been passed on to US authorities.
Ebrard said that Mexico’s response will not be limited to just statements or diplomatic notes, but will include legal actions such as a terrorism charge against the suspect, who surrendered to police after his killing spree.
The minister said that classifying the actions as terrorism would have many implications, adding that the weapon used – a semi-automatic WASR-10 rifle, similar to the notorious AK-47 – would play a role in the lawsuit.
Ebrard said that the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation considered white supremacists and their network one of the greatest dangers to Americans.
“We want to help and prevent another event of this nature in the United States,” he said.
In addition to the eight killed, six other Mexicans who were injured in the attack are still in intensive care and three of them remain in critical condition.