EL PASO, T.X. — The suspect in the deadly shootings at the shopping complex is Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, three sources told CNN.
The information provided to CNN came from two federal law enforcement sources and one state government source. The federal sources told CNN that investigators are reviewing writing posted online days before the shootings that may speak to a motive.
The sources say the online posting was believed to be written by Crusius, but that has not been confirmed.
Police Chief Greg Allen did not identify the suspect during a press conference Saturday evening, but he did say the shooter was a 21-year-old white man from Allen, Texas. The suspect is facing possible capital murder charges.
Allen said the shooter surrendered to officers when they approached him in Walmart.
Facebook is working with law enforcement. The Facebook and Instagram profile under the suspect’s name have been removed by the company.
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Content that praises, supports or represents the shooting or anyone responsible violates our Community Standards and we will continue to remove as soon as we identify it,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
Collin College, northeast of Dallas, confirmed in a written statement that Crusius was a student there from 2017 to 2019.
“Collin College is prepared to cooperate fully with state and federal authorities in their investigation of this senseless tragedy. We join the governor and all Texans in expressing our heartfelt concern for the victims of the shooting and their loved ones,” College President Neil Matkin said.
Where the investigation stands
Authorities do not believe there is an ongoing threat, El Paso Police Sgt. Enrique Carrillo told reporters.
Multiple stores and restaurants in the area of the mall were put on lockdown.
Carrillo said initial reports were that the weapon used in the shooting was a rifle.
The crime scene will “be in play for a long period,” Allen said. “Unfortunately, the deceased will remain at the scene until the scene is processed properly for evidentiary purposes to be gathered for later prosecution.”
The shooting is being investigated as a murder, but authorities say there are some aspects that indicate the possibility of a hate crime.
“Right now we have a manifesto from this individual that indicates to some degree that it has a nexus to a potential hate crime,” he said.
Law enforcement officials are investigating a four-page document posted to 8-chan that they believe was written by Crusius. 8chan is an online message board rife with racist and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
The document was attached to a post on 8chan that said, “I’m probably going to die today.”
The site is filled with white nationalist and racist hatred towards immigrants and Hispanics, blaming immigrants and first-generation Americans for taking away jobs and the blending of cultures in the US.
The writer discussed fears of an influential Hispanic population in Texas that would make the state a “Democratic stronghold,” though it also said “the Republican Party is also terrible,” because the Republican Party is pro-corporation, which can lead to more immigration. The writer also wrote opinions on immigration the predate President Trump, and the writer appears to have held these beliefs for years.
The post further says the writer took less than a month to plan the shooting and describes the weapons used.
Facebook and Twitter say they are working to prevent people from sharing the document.
Despite the companies’ claims that they are removing the writings, CNN was easily able to find multiple versions of the writings on the platforms.
“We’re proactively removing content that violates our policies and will be engaged with law enforcement, as appropriate,” a Twitter spokesperson said.
Facebook said it was taking similar action.
“Content that praises, supports or represents the shooting or anyone responsible violates our Community Standards, and we will continue to remove as soon as we identify it,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.
The FBI cautioned the investigation is still in its early stages, and more work needs to be done to determine if it was a hate crime.
Emmerson Buie, the FBI special agent in charge, said the shooting is being investigated as a murder.
“We’re looking at other aspects to ensure what potential violations are out there,” Buie said during the press conference. “Before we can label any type of investigation we have to ensure that the evidence and precursors are there, and they have to be reviewed to make sure that we are executing and moving in the right direction.”
Attorney Gen. William P. Barr offered the Justice Department’s full support.
“Those who commit such atrocities should be held accountable swiftly and to the fullest extent the law allows,” Barr said in a statement.AlertMe