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Gunman who shot dead 23 people in racist attack at El Paso Walmart is sentenced to 90 life terms

Jul 8, 2023 #News

The white gunman who shot and killed 23 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas in a racist attack on Hispanic customers has been sentenced to 90 consecutive life sentences for the 2019 massacre.

Patrick Crusius, 24, was sentenced to multiple life terms following the mass shooting that target Hispanic shoppers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prosecutors had recommended Crusius receive consecutive life sentences for each of the 90 federal charges, including hate crimes and firearms offenses, to which he pleaded guilty.

He pleaded guilty in February to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges after federal prosecutors took the death penalty off the table.

Gunman who shot dead 23 people in racist attack at El Paso Walmart is sentenced to 90�life�terms

He drove more than 700 miles from his Dallas-area home in order to attack Hispanics with an AK-style rifle at the Walmart, where the shooting took place inside and outside the store, according to police.

Just before he started shooting on 3 August 2019, Crusius posted a racist message online saying that Texas was at risk of a Hispanic “invasion”.

He said he “wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible”.

Republicans have in the years that have passed since the massacre described migrants crossing the US-Mexico border as an “invasion” and dismissed critics arguing that the rhetoric spurs anti-immigrant opinions as well as violence.

Defence lawyer Joe Spencer told the judge ahead of the sentencing that the 24-year-old’s brain was “broken” and that he was disconnected from reality.

“Patrick’s thinking is at odds with reality … resulting in delusional thinking,” the attorney said.

US District Judge David Guaderrama in El Paso handed down the sentence after impact statements lasting two days by relatives of the victims.

Twenty-three people were killed and more than two dozen were injured and others suffered trauma. Family members addressed Crusius directly.

“You left children without their parents, you left spouses without their spouses, and we still need them,” Bertha Benavides said. She lost her husband, Arturo, after 34 years of marriage.

Crusius initially didn’t show much emotion during the statements, but on Thursday, his eyes appeared to well up as victims spoke about the shooting and demanded that he respond and account for what he did. After speaking to his lawyer, Crusius made a gesture to indicate that he wouldn’t reply.

During the sentencing, Crusius’s family wasn’t present.

 A dozen mass shootings have been connected to hate crimes since 2006, with this one being the deadliest, according to the AP.

Before the shooting, Crusius had tweeted #BuildtheWall and lauded the restrictive immigration policies of then-President Donald Trump. 

In the rant he posted before the attack, he shared his concerns that Hispanics were going to be in charge of the government and the economy.

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