Walmart shooting suspect faces hate crime charges


The arraignment hearing for Patrick Crusius was held at the El Paso County Courthouse Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019. (AP)

EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — The government has filed hate crime charges against a man who said he was targeting Mexicans and shot to death 22 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in August.

Word of the changes comes from a person familiar with the matter who spoke to The Associated Press.

That source says a multi-count federal indictment against suspected gunman Patrick Crusius of Allen, Texas, is expected to be announced at the news conference.

The person who spoke to AP had direct knowledge of the case but was not authorized to disclose details of the indictment before the public announcement.

Federal prosecutors scheduled a news conference for Thursday in El Paso to discuss the case of accused Walmart killer Patrick Crusius.

U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and FBI El Paso Division Special Agent in Charge Luis M. Quesada will be providing the latest information on an ongoing investigation.

Shortly after the Aug. 3 shooting, U.S. Attorney John Bash said his office would be pursuing federal charges.

El Paso County District Attorney Jaime Esparza issued the following statement in regard to the charges to be announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

The State of Texas is continuing the prosecution of the Walmart shooter. Our office is actively working on the case and continues to be committed to assisting the victims through the judicial process. We support the indictment by the U.S. Attorney’s Office as one more way of holding the shooter accountable. The District Attorney’s Office will continue to work hard to ensure that justice is done and that the shooter is held accountable by our community. The office will fully cooperate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of the federal charges announced today.

Crusius was in court in October 2019 for his plea hearing.

He pled not guilty to state charges of capital murder.

The El Paso District Attorney’s office said it will seek the death penalty against Crusius.

A manifesto attributed to the suspect in the Aug. 3 shooting, during a busy back-to-school shopping day, said the attack was aimed at scaring Hispanics into leaving the United States.

Eight Mexican nationals were among the victims of the attack at a Walmart store popular with shoppers who live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, which is across the border from El Paso.

The indictment comes as El Paso marks the six-month anniversary of the massacre

The news conference is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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