WASHINGTON – The only suspect in last weekend’s deadly shooting rampage in El Paso, Texas, confessed to the police officers who took him into custody and told them that his motive was to kill Mexicans, according to the arrest affidavit.
“I’m the shooter,” Patrick Crusius said as he surrendered to police after pulling over and exiting his car at an intersection near the Walmart that was the scene of last Saturday’s massacre.
The affidavit, drawn up by El Paso police detective Adrian Garcia, said that Crusius, 21, waived the right to an attorney and agreed to talk to the officers.
The shooter told police that he drove more than 10 hours from his home in Allen, Texas, near Dallas, with an assault rifle and a large quantity of ammunition.
“The defendant stated once inside the store, he opened fire using his AK-47, shooting multiple victims,” according to the affidavit, whose contents were first reported by The Washington Post.
“The defendant stated his target were Mexicans,” Garcia wrote.
The 83-percent Latino city lies just across the Rio Grande River from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and many Mexicans patronize the Walmart and other businesses in El Paso.
US federal authorities characterize the El Paso massacre as domestic terrorism and Crusius may be charged with a hate crime as well as multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.
Crusius could face the death penalty if convicted.
Investigators are trying to confirm whether Crusius was the author of a statement posted online roughly 20 minutes prior to the shooting that called for halting an “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly used the word “invasion” to describe the flow of undocumented immigrants into the United States.
Eight of the 22 fatalities were Mexican nationals and Mexico’s foreign secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, has raised the possibility of seeking Crusius’ extradition to face charges south of the border.
Senior US officials are scheduled to travel to Mexico City next Tuesday to discuss the events in El Paso and other issues, Ebrard said.
Thirteen hours after the bloodbath in Texas, 22-year-old Connor Betts opened fire on pedestrians in an entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio, killing his own sister and eight other people before he was fatally shot by police.