Washington: A 21-year-old man armed with a rifle opened fire at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, killing at least 20 people and injuring 26 others, local authorities said.
The suspect, who was identified as as Patrick Crusius from Allen Texas, a suburb of Dallas more than 650 miles away, now in custody, according to Texas Police Chief Greg Allen.
The shooting has a “nexus to a hate crime,” Xinhua quoted Allen as saying. Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation cautioned that more investigative work is needed to determine the nature of the crime.
He said the state of Texas will lead the prosecution of the suspect, adding that the state is currently looking at potential capital murder charges.
According to reports, the store was packed with as many as 3,000 people caused by a busy back-to-school shopping season when the shooting began.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Twitter that three Mexicans were among those killed in the shooting spree.
At least six of the wounded were Mexican citizens, Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said in a Tweet, Xinhua further reported.
Governor Greg Abbott termed the shooting in the Texas border city as ‘one of the most deadly days in the history of Texas’.
According to local media reports, the FBI has opened a domestic terror investigation into the mass shooting.