US: Texas shooter given 90 consecutive life terms

World Saturday 08/July/2023 17:36 PM
By: DW
US: Texas shooter given 90 consecutive life terms

Texas: A 24-year-old white nationalist who killed 23 people in a mass shooting at a Texas Walmart in 2019 was sentenced to 90 consecutive life terms in prison by a federal judge on Friday.

Patrick Crusius's racially-motivated attack targeted Hispanic shoppers in El Paso on August 3, 2019, and left 22 people injured.

Just prior to the assault, the shooter had published a manifesto online, claiming that the attack was a response to what he called the "Hispanic invasion" of Texas.

During the hearing, Crusius remained silent and displayed no reaction when the sentence was delivered.

In a recommendation by US District Judge David Guaderrama, Crusius was advised to serve his sentence at a maximum security facility in Colorado, where he would have access to necessary treatment and counseling for a severe mental health condition.

Shooter could still face death penalty
By pleading guilty in February, Crusius avoided the federal death penalty, but he still faces Texas state charges that could potentially result in capital punishment.

Crusius' attorney attributed the shooting to mental illness, although prosecutors argued that he was fully aware of his actions when he carried out the massacre.

Prosecutors revealed that Crusius traveled over 600 miles (965 kilometers) from suburban Dallas to El Paso, armed with a Romanian variant of the AK-47 rifle and hollow-point ammunition, before the massacre.

"No one in this country should have to live in fear of hate-fueled violence — that they will be targeted because of what they look like or where they are from," US Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement. "The 90 consecutive life sentences announced today guarantee that Patrick Crusius will spend the rest of his life in prison for his deadly, racist rampage in El Paso."

In his manifesto, Crusius asserted that he was defending his country from cultural and ethnic replacement caused by this perceived invasion.

The aftermath of the tragedy sparked a national debate surrounding the influence of then-President Donald Trump's repeated anti-immigrant rhetoric on the behavior of his supporters.

Crusius had exhibited a deep interest in the immigration discourse, often using hashtags such as #BuildtheWall and endorsing Trump's stringent border policies.

Solace for victims' families
Margaret Leachman, the primary Assistant US Attorney for the Western District of Texas involved in the prosecution, said in a written statement that she hopes the victims' families find "some finality and peace" with the sentencing.

During the proceedings, family members used the opportunity to directly address Crusius, recounting the devastating impact the shooting had on their lives, causing immense sorrow and grief.

The victims ranged from a 15-year-old high school athlete to elderly grandparents. Among them were immigrants, a retired city bus driver, teachers, skilled workers such as a former ironworker, and various Mexican citizens who regularly crossed the US border for routine shopping trips.