Perpetrator of deadly El Paso shooting inspired by New Zealand mosque attack

Perpetrator of deadly El Paso shooting inspired by New Zealand mosque attack
The perpetrator of a massacre targeting Mexican-Americans in El Paso, which left 20 people dead, made references to the deadly New Zealand mosque attacks in a manifesto he posted online.
3 min read
04 August, 2019
At least 20 people were killed in the El Paso mass shooting [Getty]

Texas authorities are investigating the Saturday mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso as a possible hate crime, the city's police chief said, as authorities study an online manifesto linked to the suspect.

A 21-year-old from Allen, a suburb of Dallas, surrendered to police outside the store after the rampage that left 20 people dead and 26 wounded.

US media identified him as Patrick Crusius, who is white, and linked him to a "manifesto" posted online that includes passages railing against the "Hispanic invasion" of Texas.

Crusius was inspired by the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, where a far-right gunman, Brenton Tarrant, killed 51 people as they attended Muslim prayer services.

"In general, I support the Christchurch shooter", he said in his manifesto.

At a news conference, El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen said, "Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree he has a nexus to potential hate crime."

El Paso lies on the Rio Grande River that marks the US border with Mexico, at the extreme west of Texas. It is nine hours drive from Dallas.

The population of the city is 680,000, of which 83 percent are of Hispanic descent, according to US census figures.

In recent months El Paso has also become one of the busiest entry points for undocumented migrants, especially from Central America, seeking asylum in the United States.

On a weekend the city attracts droves of shoppers from Mexico, including from its Mexican sister city Ciudad Juarez, population 1.5 million.

Three Mexican citizens were killed and six wounded in the attack.

Crusius wrote that the attack "is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas," and made references to the New Zealand shootings. Tarrant made similar references to Muslim "invaders" in a manifesto he published online.

Crusius claimed that he was "defending" his country "from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion", in an echo of the title of Tarrant’s own manifesto, "The Great Replacement".

Crusius wrote that "the Hispanic community was not my target before I read The Great Replacement" and that he spent less than a month preparing for the shooting. "I have to do this before I lose my nerve," he noted.

Crusius' manifesto also included a rant against US corporations and their use of automation.

"My whole life I have been preparing for a future that currently doesn’t exist. The job of my dreams will likely be automated", he said.

He described his death as "likely inevitable."

"If I'm not killed by the police, then I'll probably be gunned down by one of the invaders

"Capture in this case is far worse than dying during the shooting because I'll get the death penalty anyway," he wrote.

El Paso police said there was no exchange of gunfire when Crusius was detained.

CNN said the "manifesto" was posted to 8chan, a no-censorship site where other extremist manifestos have appeared.