Shooting victims include a mom who died protecting her baby and Ohio gunman’s sister

Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 17:38:36-04

The 21-year-old white supremacist suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a Walmart in El Paso wanted to stop a "Hispanic invasion of Texas," according to a political document police believe he wrote.

The toll in the massacre rose Monday to 22 people killed and more than two dozen injured, and it was one of three major mass shootings across the US in the past week.

But even among that horrific trio, the shooting Saturday in El Paso stood out as a domestic terrorist attack designed to inspire fear among Hispanic immigrants to the US. The attack took place at a spot along the US-Mexico border frequented by Mexicans, and it was carried out by a man who police believe posted a political document explaining his hatred of immigrants and race-mixing.

President Trump on Monday morning said the shooter's manifesto was "consumed with racist hate."

"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," he said. "These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."

But he did not acknowledge his own divisive and racist rhetoric or address the suspect's access to firearms, and instead focused on unrelated issues of mental health and violent video games.

There has been no evidence the El Paso shooting suspect had mental health issues or played violent video games. In addition, American Psychological Association President Rosie Phillips Davis rejected the mental illness argument, saying that "blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing."

The suspect, Patrick Crusius, has been charged with capital murder and is being held without bond, according to court documents.

He was arrested without incident Saturday after getting out of his vehicle and approaching police unarmed as they arrived at the Walmart, El Paso Police Sgt. Robert Gomez said. He has been cooperating with authorities, Gomez said.

While in custody, Crusius has shown no remorse or regret over the shooting, and he has been "cold" in his interactions with authorities, El Paso police officials told CNN.

Another police official who came face-to-face with him told CNN, "he had a stone cold look when he was arrested. It was nothing short of evil."

"It was a look I'd never seen before, and I've been on this force for 31 years," the official said. "I've seen murderers, robbers, nothing like this."

Suspect wrote a 'manifesto,' police say

Crusius was from Allen, a suburb of Dallas, and had no apparent ties to El Paso County, where 83% of residents are Hispanic or Latino, according to the US Census Bureau.

For his target, the suspect chose one of the largest and safest cities on the US-Mexico border, a place central to the Trump administration's hardline stance on immigration and a city that state Rep. Cesar Blanco called "ground zero" of the administration's family separations policy.

Authorities are investigating a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe was posted online by the suspect.

The four-page document, titled "The Inconvenient Truth," was published on the online message board 8chan about 20 minutes before the shooting. The writing is filled with white supremacist language and racist hatred aimed at immigrants and Latinos, and the author says he opposes "race mixing" and encourages immigrants to return to their home countries.

The 2,300-word "manifesto," as police called it, was attached to a post that read: "I'm probably going to die today."

That document said it took less than a month to plan the shooting.

Some of the language of the manifesto reflects ideas from President Trump, Fox News and the modern Republican party. For example, the document warns of a "Hispanic invasion" and says Democrats are using "open borders" and "free healthcare for illegals" to attract new voters.

The writer cited a fear that an influential Hispanic population in Texas would make the state a "Democratic stronghold" and said "the Republican Party is also terrible" because the GOP is in his mind pro-corporation, which could lead to more immigration.

The writer said he held these beliefs before Donald Trump became President.

Crusius has lived in his Allen for two years and has been unemployed for five months, according to his application for appointment of counsel. He states that he has no income and lives with his grandparents.

What's next in El Paso

Federal authorities are treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism, US Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash said Sunday, as it "appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least."

The Justice Department is also "seriously considering" bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges, which carry a possible death penalty, he said.

On Sunday, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard called the shooting an act of terrorism against Mexicans in the US and said in a press conference that the Mexican government will look into whether there is enough evidence to solicit the extradition of the gunman to face charges in Mexico.

Locally, the effect of the shooting could be seen as stores and kiosks at Cielo Vista mall reopened and came back to life. Chairs, medical equipment from a blood donation drive and a small blood stain on the floor near the closest emergency exit are clear signs of how quickly people ran to take cover when the shooting began.

Jazmin Olvera, 32, a cashier at the mall, rushed to a storage room with colleagues and customers as security guards and police placed the entire mall on lockdown on Saturday. Monday was her second day back at work after the shooting, and she said sudden movements and loud noises were making her jump.

"A teenager who was walking around the mall yesterday bumped into a trash can yesterday and everybody around got super quiet right away," she said. "It got tense real quick. He just look around and said 'Sorry, guys.'"

Among the victims was a mother shielding her baby

Police are still notifying the families of victims in the El Paso shooting, Gomez, the police spokesman, said. Police have said only that the victims are different ages and genders.

Some families have begun sharing their loved ones' stories.

Jordan and Andre Anchondo were shopping for school supplies in Walmart Saturday after dropping off their 5-year-old daughter at cheerleading practice.

The couple was killed in the massacre, but their 2-month-old son survived after his mom shielded him from the gunfire.

"The baby still had her blood on him. You watch these things and see these things and you never think this is going to happen to your family," Elizabeth Terry, Jordan Anchondo's aunt, told CNN.

Angie Englisbee, 86, was also killed.

Her son, Will Englisbee, told CNN his brother spoke with Angie Englisbee at 10:31 a.m. local time when she was in Walmart's check-out line. The first reports of an active shooter went out at 10:39 a.m. local time, the police chief said.

A 60-year-old Army veteran and bus driver, Arturo Benavides, was also killed, his niece told CNN.

"He was an absolutely caring and strong-willed man," Jacklin Luna said. "He was the person that would give any dime and shirt off his back, a meal and a home to anyone."

He loved telling stories of his Army days as a staff sergeant, she said.

"He deserves nothing less than the world to know everything he did and the love he had left to share," Luna said.

Leo Campos and Maribel Hernandez were also among those killed, according to CNN affiliate KFOX/KDBC.

They had dropped off their dog at the groomer before heading to Walmart, Hernandez's brother, Al Hernandez, told the affiliate. The family didn't know anything was wrong until the groomer called them and said the dog hadn't been picked up.

The Clint Independent School District shared a picture Saturday of missing student Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, because his aunt was trying to find him.

The school district confirmed the teen's death Monday on Facebook. The district is holding a memorial for him at 7 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET).

Dave Johnson was identified as one of the victims Monday as well, according to his daughter Stephanie Melendez.

Eight Mexican nationals also lost their lives.

Ebrard, the foreign affairs secretary, identified the first seven via Twitter Sunday as Sara Esther Regalado, Adolfo Cerros Hernández, Jorge Calvillo García, Elsa Mendoza de la Mora, Gloria Irma Márquez, María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe and Ivan Filberto Manzano. He identified the eighth victim Monday as Juan de Dios Velasquez Chairez.

One of the nine people killed in a mass shooting in a popular neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio, gave birth to a new child last month. Another recently celebrated his 30th birthday. A 25-year-old man joined colleagues Saturday night to celebrate their work as interns for a cancer treatment center.

The gunman's younger sister was also identified by police as one of the victims.

As police investigated and a city mourned the carnage Monday, the stories of those killed began to emerge. Relatives wept, remembering loved ones who they will never see again and calling for something to be done in America to stop the bloodshed.

"I'm lost for words right now. My family's lost for words," said Damon Davenport, who lost two cousins in the shooting. "All they were doing is enjoying a night out on the town, and they're dead. Never to come home again. Never to see their kids again. They're gone."

Gone is 27-year-old Lois Oglesby who, according to the Washington Post, gave birth to her second child last month.

"She was a nurse's aide and a very devoted mother," her uncle Joe Oglesby told the Post.

Logan Turner celebrated his 30th birthday last Tuesday, his mother told the Dayton Daily News.

"He was very generous and loving and the world's best son," Danita Turner told the paper. "Everyone loved Logan. He was a happy-go-lucky guy."

Oglesby and Turner once attended Sinclair Community College. "We are deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that struck our community this weekend," school president Steve Johnson said in a written statement. "We grieve for all those impacted by this senseless act of violence."

Nicholas Cumer, 25, was in the Oregon District in Dayton to celebrate the end of his internship with Maple Tree Cancer Alliance. He was one week away from completing his internship at the cancer treatment center.

After the internship, he was to graduate from St. Francis University in Pennsylvania with a master's degree in exercise physiology.

The Maple Tree Cancer Alliance said it offered him a full-time job last week to run one of its new offices.

"Nick is remembered for his hard work and dedication to Maple Tree. He loved his patients and served them well, with a loving and caring spirit," the treatment center said in a statement. "He continuously went above and beyond our expectations and worked with a high level of excellence. He was well liked and respected by everyone on our team, and we all will miss him very much."

On his Twitter account, Cumer quoted a verse from the Bible's chapter of Romans: "Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind."

"One of my main goals here is to get to know my patients to the level of calling them friends to make them feel welcome when they work with me," Cumer once wrote about his internship, according to St. Francis University.

Cumer was a member of the university's marching band. "The loss of Nick has left a hole in his family, our campus, our band family, and in each one of us who were fortunate enough to get to know him and call him our friend," said Dan Atwood, the band director.

The treatment center said two other employees were wounded in the attack but are expected to recover. The center asked for people to "take a moment today to appreciate the gifts this life has to offer. Be present. Smile at a stranger. Do a random act of kindness. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Thomas McNichols, a 25-year-old who went by T.J., was a father of four children ranging in age from 2 to 8. His family remembered him as a "gentle giant," always there for his kids.

"I will tell his kids that they had an amazing dad," said his aunt, Donna Johnson. "We're just always going to honor his memory with love."

His cousin Jevin Lamar said, "He was an amazing brother and a great father, very kind. He was the gentle giant."

Derrick Fudge, 57, was out to have a fun night with family when he was fatally shot after stepping outside of a club to get some food, his family said.

Twyla Southall told WHIO that Fudge was a father and had a dog named Lucy that he "absolutely loved."

"He was a good man and loved his family," Southall said.

Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36, and Monica E. Brickhouse, 39, were out together when they were gunned down. Tonya Amos wrote a powerful note on Facebook, remembering both women as "like two of my work daughters."

"I had the opportunity to manage and mentor them for some years. We sat beside each other everyday," Amos wrote. "We have laughed and cried together. Shared life stories and supported each other. These two ladies were very special to me. I'm sad and mad at this senseless loss. I cannot imagine how their families feel if I'm feeling this way."

Amos told CNN she worked with both women at health insurance giant Anthem. She met Warren-Curtis in 2012 and Brickhouse in 2014. "I looked at them as daughters," she said. "Monica was a mom and had a young son. I used to share parenting tips with her. Beatrice never had kids but was a good person. Outside of work, we had celebrations, birthdays, girls' night."

She said the three of them left their old department in 2016 and had not worked directly together since then, but had stayed in touch.

"They were my top performers. They helped train new associates and built a lot of positive relationships," she said. "They were bright and vibrant young ladies."

News of their deaths has left her shaken. "I woke up Sunday morning to text messages and I just couldn't believe it," Amos said. "I was devastated. My heart just broke for the two of them and their families."

Anthem said both women were associates who served on the company's research, recoveries and adjustments team. "We are deeply saddened by this tragedy," the insurer said. "Monica and Beatrice were not only co-workers, but dear friends, and valuable members of the Anthem team."

Saeed Saleh, 38, was identified by police as another of the fatal victims. Less was known about him, but the Dayton newspaper reported that he was originally from the east African country of Eritrea.

Police said one of the first victims in the shooting was the gunman's sister, 22-year-old Megan Betts. She was a student at Wright State University who hoped to graduate in 2020 with a degree in earth and environmental sciences.

Megan Betts had recently interned at the Smokejumper Visitor Center in Missoula County, Montana, the "largest smokejumper base in the country."

She was responsible for daily public tours at the center during her six-week internship, said Dan Hottle with the US Forest Service.

Her brother, Connor Betts, 24, was killed by police less than 30 seconds after he opened fire. Police did not detail the Betts siblings' relationship. But police said the two arrived together with a companion but separated at some point.

The companion suffered a gunshot wound to the lower torso and is still being treated at the hospital, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters. The police chief said there is "more conversation needed" with the companion to understand more of what the relationships were.